Tim Cook Says Apple Is Not Interested in AI Hype

Apple CEO Tim Cook revealed why the company does not talk much about its artificial intelligence (AI) strategy or investments, unlike its tech rivals.

Tim Cook

AI is integral to Apple’s products, Cook says

On Thursday, Apple held its earnings call for the third quarter of 2023, which showed a decline in sales for the third consecutive quarter. The call did not mention AI at all until an analyst asked about it in the question-and-answer session.

Cook responded that AI and machine learning are “core fundamental technologies that are integral to virtually every product that we build”. He cited examples of AI features in Apple’s software, such as live voicemails, voice replication, automatic crash detection, and fall detection.

He also said that Apple has been doing research across a wide range of AI technologies, including generative AI, for years. Generative AI is a type of AI that can create new content, such as images, text, or music, based on existing data.

Apple prefers to announce products when they are ready

However, Cook also explained why Apple does not hype up its AI efforts like other tech giants do. He said that Apple’s “M.O.” is to announce products when they are ready for consumers, rather than talk about them beforehand.

“Apple’s reticence in being dragged into the AI hype is on-brand,” Forrester principal analyst Dipanjan Chatterjee said in an email. “A maniacal focus on what Apple does for its customers and not how it does it is rooted so deeply in the brand’s DNA.”

In contrast, companies like Alphabet, Microsoft, Meta Platforms (formerly Facebook), and Amazon have been vocal about their AI initiatives and achievements. They have mentioned AI dozens of times on their earnings calls and showcased their AI projects and products in various events and platforms.

Apple faces competition and challenges in the AI field

While Apple may not be interested in boasting about its AI capabilities, it still faces fierce competition and challenges in the field. According to a report by CB Insights, Apple ranked fifth among the top acquirers of AI startups from 2010 to 2020, behind Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and Amazon.

Apple has also faced criticism for its privacy-focused approach to AI, which limits the amount of data it can collect and use from its users. Some experts argue that this hampers Apple’s ability to improve its AI services and compete with other companies that have access to more data.

Additionally, Apple has been accused of stifling innovation and diversity in the AI research community by restricting its employees from publishing their work or attending conferences. This has reportedly led to some talent departures and difficulties in attracting new researchers.

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