Apple is getting serious about AI


Apple appears to be finally raising the curtain on some of its AI efforts.

Apple researchers say they’ve developed a family of multimodal models — which refers to an AI system that can interpret and generate different types of data, such as text and images at the same time — called MM1. The report said its new methods boasts “superior abilities” and can offer advanced reasoning and in-context learning to respond to text and images.

The announcement hints at how such a system could benefit future Apple products, including iPhones, Macs and its Siri voice assistant.

It comes as Apple is expected to unveil several new AI features at its developer conference in June.

At the same time, however, Apple has reportedly reached a deal with Google that indicates perhaps its own AI efforts are not quite where they want them to be yet. According to a Bloomberg report, Apple is interested in licensing and building Google’s Gemini AI engine, which includes chatbots and other AI tools, into upcoming iPhones and its iOS 18 features.

As more tech companies pour billions of dollars into the development and rollout of artificial intelligence, Apple has largely been left out of the conversation, with many other tech companies already making big strides in the space. A partnership with Google would catapult Apple into the growing AI arms race.

The report also said Apple previously held conversations with OpenAI, the company behind the viral chatbot ChatGPT.

Apple, Google and OpenAI did not respond to a request for comment.

In February, CEO Tim Cook teased during an investors meeting that he sees “incredible breakthrough potential for generative AI, which is why we’re currently investing significantly in this area.” But the company has not yet shared much about its vision for AI.

Behind the scenes, Apple reportedly has been working its on-device generative AI capabilities and acquiring companies, such as Canadian startup DarwinAI. It also has a Machine Learning Research division dedicated to advancing AI.