Six Colors
Six Colors

by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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by Jason Snell

Bloomberg: No, really, Apple’s working on language AI

Mark Gurman of Bloomberg reports that Apple is working on large-language model AI technology:

Apple Inc. is quietly working on artificial intelligence tools… but the company has yet to devise a clear strategy for releasing the technology to consumers.

The iPhone maker has built its own framework to create large language models — the AI-based systems at the heart of new offerings like ChatGPT and Google’s Bard — according to people with knowledge of the efforts. With that foundation, known as “Ajax,” Apple also has created a chatbot service that some engineers call “Apple GPT.”

In recent months, the AI push has become a major effort for Apple, with several teams collaborating on the project, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private. The work includes trying to address potential privacy concerns related to the technology.

I have no idea if Apple intentionally leaks things to Gurman—his sources are impeccable and much of what he reports is definitely not stuff Apple wants to be reported—but this sort of story serves the company’s purposes, in the we’re-working-on-it-quit-bugging-us way.

Still, there’s a whole lot of vacant space here. It’s a project, but they have no strategy. They’re working on an ugly web-based tool not meant for public consumption, and the Apple chatbot is not allowed to write code that would ever ship to customers. It’s all a bit nebulous:

Apple is still trying to determine the consumer angle for generative AI… While the company doesn’t yet have a concrete plan, people familiar with the work believe Apple is aiming to make a significant AI-related announcement next year.

Sure, let’s target next year for… the thing you don’t have a “strategy” or “consumer angle” or “concrete plan” for? I get it, Apple’s scrambling so that it doesn’t get left behind when it comes to a hot technology, but how do you pick an announcement date for a product that hasn’t yet been fully conceived?

—Linked by Jason Snell

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