Here’s a nice summary from Mitchel Broussard at MacRumors of the first publication by Apple’s AI researchers of the work they’re doing:
In the research, Apple notes the downsides and upsides of using real images compared with that of “synthetic,” or computer images. Annotations must be added to real images, an “expensive and time-consuming task” that requires a human workforce to individually label objects in a picture. On the other hand, computer-generated images help to catalyze this process “because the annotations are automatically available.”
This sort of disclosure serves two purposes. It helps Apple recruit advanced talent, because they know they’ll be able to publish (and that helps their academic careers), and it allows Apple to make it clear that inside the black box of Apple product development, there’s a whole lot going on.