Apple’s shift to develop its own AI technology to keep up with competitors was today detailed in a The New York Times report.

Citing sources familiar with Apple’s work, the report explains that the decision to revamp Siri was taken early last year by Apple’s most senior executives. Senior vice president of software engineering Craig Federighi and senior vice president of Machine Learning and AI Strategy John Giannandrea are said to have spent several weeks testing OpenAI’s ChatGPT to understand the ways in which the competitor made ‌Siri‌ look antiquated. The ‌Siri‌ team purportedly failed to receive attention and resources compared to other groups inside Apple, and the company has struggled to recruit and retain leading AI researchers.

Apple executives are said to be concerned that AI threatens the iPhone‘s market share because it has the potential to become a more compelling operating system with an ecosystem of AI apps that undermine the App Store. Apple apparently fears the ‌iPhone‌ becoming a “dumb brick” compared with other technology.

This conclusion triggered a significant reorganization at Apple amid determination to catch up in the race to develop AI tools. The company moved to reallocate employees and resources toward AI, and the change of strategy was a contributing factor in the decision to cancel its electric vehicle project. Apple’s upcoming iPhone 16 models will supposedly feature more memory to support AI features.

Apple is expected to reveal a series of AI tools at its WWDC keynote on June 10, including an improved version of ‌Siri‌ that is more conversational and capable, with the ability to “chat” rather than merely respond to individual queries. The company is working on making ‌Siri‌ better at handling tasks such as setting timers, creating calendar appointments, adding items to Reminders, and summarizing text. Apple plans to market the new version of ‌Siri‌ as a more private alternative to rival AI services because most requests will be processed on-device rather than remotely in data centres. See the full The New York Times article for more information.

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