Apple Inc. isn’t planning on missing out on the huge consumer embrace of AI tools — it’s just moving slower than its rivals before releasing chatbots or other generative programs.
Bloomberg reported Wednesday that the iPhone and iMac maker is “quietly working on artificial intelligence tools” that could go up against Google’s Bard and OpenAI‘s ChatGPT, the latter of which has been incorporated into Microsoft’s Bing browser and other products.
But, the report said, Apple “has yet to devise a clear strategy for releasing the technology to consumers.”
Citing people with knowledge of the efforts, the report said that Apple has built its own framework to create large language models, creating “Ajax,” a chatbot similar to ChatGPT and Bard that some engineers call “Apple GPT.” Ajax was first created last year to unify machine learning development at Apple, the report said.
The Cupertino, California, company has ramped up its efforts in recent months following the release and massive uptake of chatbots since ChatGPT’s launch in December.
Apple has used AI features in its products for years, most notably with its voice assistant Siri, but it found itself in a race to catch up in the generative AI market after its rivals’ releases.
Apple CEO Tim Cook in May called AI “absolutely remarkable” and said the company views the technology as “huge.”
“And we’ll continue weaving it in our products on a very thoughtful basis,” Cook said.
“We’ve obviously made enormous progress integrating AI and machine learning throughout our ecosystem, and we weaved it into products and features for many years,” Cook said. “I do think it’s very important to be deliberate and thoughtful in how you approach these things. And there’s a number of issues that need to be sorted, as is being talked about in a number of different places. But the potential is certainly very interesting.”
One focus for Apple is an attempt to address potential privacy concerns related to the technology, the report said.
The rollout even within the company of its own chatbot app, which was created as an experiment last year, was initially halted over security concerns about generative AI, the report said. More employees now have access, but only by special approval.
And any output cannot yet be used to develop features that will reach customers, the report said. For now, it’s being used to develop product prototypes, an approach to the technology that is similar to rivals like Samsung Electronics.
According to Bloomberg, Apple has no current plans to release its chatbot to consumers.