Apple Scurries Onto the AI Stage With Too Little, Too Late

Apple Scurries Onto the AI Stage With Too Little, Too Late

Google’s launch of Gemini yesterday was like a bellowing announcement that a new king has arrived in the AI space, but Apple had its own AI launch, or more like a quiet whimper that tried to go unnoticed. The iPhone creator released an open-source machine learning framework, MLX, that runs on Apple’s chips. MLX could one day bring generative AI apps to Apple products, but that day is not today.

“Just in time for the holidays, we are releasing some new software today from Apple machine learning research,” said Awni Jannun, a member of Apple’s machine learning team on X. “MLX is an efficient machine learning framework specifically designed for Apple silicon (i.e. your laptop!).”

Apple has been caught completely off guard by the rise of AI, according to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman. “There’s a lot of anxiety about this and it’s considered a pretty big miss internally,” a person with knowledge of the matter told Gurman in October.

As Apple tiptoes into public AI offerings, Google and OpenAI’s products are battling it out on the brink of human intelligence. It seems Apple has been left in the dust on AI, perhaps one of the biggest surprises of 2023.

But don’t be fooled into thinking Apple doesn’t care about artificial intelligence. CEO Tim Cook has internally developed a chatbot service known as “AppleGPT” that runs on an internally built large-language model Ajax, according to Bloomberg’s reporting from July. Apple’s Head of AI, John Giannandrea, wants Siri to be powered by generative AI one day, but that day can’t come soon enough. Siri once was a magical virtual assistant, but now pales in comparison to ChatGPT with its canned responses.

Apple started spending millions of dollars every day on building artificial intelligence, according to The Information back in September. However, Apple’s AI team has been working on large-language models for the past four years, and that investment is likely too little, too late.

Apple’s MLX was largely aimed at developers, and it seems to be received well by the open-source AI community. Meta and IBM joined forces to revitalize the open-source AI community by creating the AI Alliance this week. Apple, Meta, and IBM’s push into open-source comes at a time when Big Tech companies like Google and Microsoft are profiting off of closed-source AI models, like ChatGPT.

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