Interesting interview (and, I think, perhaps the first major one) with Apple senior vice president for machine learning and AI strategy, John Giannandrea, along with product marketing VP Bob Borchers, by Ars Technica’s Samuel Axon. One tidbit that I hadn’t heard elsewhere: Giannandrea actually drove the development of the handwriting features in iPadOS 14:
“When I joined Apple, I was already an iPad user, and I loved the Pencil,” Giannandrea (who goes by “J.G.” to colleagues) told me. “So, I would track down the software teams and I would say, ‘Okay, where’s the machine learning team that’s working on handwriting?’ And I couldn’t find it.” It turned out the team he was looking for didn’t exist—a surprise, he said, given that machine learning is one of the best tools available for the feature today.
There’s a lot packed in here, from Apple’s feelings about on-device processing of data to the company’s view on privacy, to even the threats—or lack thereof—of machine learning and AI. Well worth a read, as this technology becomes more and more essential to Apple devices. And, as the interview points out, with Macs about to make the jump to Apple silicon, expect even more powerful machine learning-based features in macOS going forward.