Apple no longer silent on AI; GenAI major talking point at earnings call

Joanna Gao, Taipei; Jack Wu, DIGITIMES Asia 0

Credit: AFP

At its recent earnings conference for the second quarter of fiscal year 2024, Apple finally strayed away from its past tight-lipped approach regarding AI and Generative AI, openly discussing them during questioning. Naturally, AI became one of the most discussed topics during the earnings conference, second only to the Chinese market.

CEO Tim Cook stated that Apple continues to be optimistic about development opportunities in Generative AI and is heavily investing in it. He is looking forward to sharing new updates with everyone soon.

Cook believes that in this new era of AI, Apple's strength lies in integrating hardware, software, and services, including the Apple Silicon technology and neural network engines. He also emphasized the importance of privacy.

Some participants hoped that the AI features could drive an "upgrade wave" for iPhones, but Cook didn't directly respond to this. CFO Luca Maestri expressed that Apple is excited about the opportunities in Generative AI. He pointed out that Apple would procure necessary tools and equipment on its own and collaborate with suppliers and manufacturers.

In some cases, investments will be made by collaborating companies. The computing power in data centers uses this approach, utilizing both Apple's resources and those of third parties. Maestri stated that this hybrid approach has proven to be very effective.

Apple recently released the OpenELM language model, emphasizing open-source and efficiency. Due to its smaller parameter scale, it is believed to have the potential to be integrated into the iPhone.

Earlier reports also indicated that Apple had discussions with companies like Google, OpenAI, and Baidu, hoping to incorporate their AI models into future iPhones. Over the past year, Apple has acquired two AI startups, WaveOne and Datakalab, known for their expertise in image compression and visual computing technology.

Although Cook proactively mentioned Generative AI during the earnings conference, he asked everyone to wait for further updates. It is believed that AI will be the main character at the WWDC conference in June.