Is AAPL too late to the AI party?

June 7, 2024

The Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) 2024 is merely days away.

Kicking off the conference on June 10th is Apple's (AAPL) developer keynote address -- this differs from its annual product keynote event where it unveils its new iPhone, among other devices.

WWDC is significant as it sets the tone for Apple's software development and showcases the latest advancements in iOS, macOS, watchOS, tvOS, and visionOS -- but most viewers are tuning in for the answer to this question:

How will Apple integrate AI across its ecosystem?

Many consumers and investors are expecting an announcement of an agreement between AAPL and OpenAI, the developers of ChatGPT. While no official announcement has been made yet, nor is one slated for next week, numerous reports claim a deal has been made. This deal would certainly help Apple's AI division catch up to its peers. 

Apple is currently trailing behind competitors like Microsoft, Google, and Amazon, who made up for 67% of all venture capital investment in AI in 2023.

Microsoft and Meta have the highest investment in Nvidia H100 GPUs, the most powerful chip designed for AI applications. Microsoft also already has an existing deal with OpenAI that has allowed for Microsoft's Copilot to be built on OpenAI technology. Other AI assistants such as Google's Gemini, Meta's Meta AI, and the rumored Amazon Olympus continue to push the envelope in AI research and application.

But Apple holds a trump card: its ecosystem is one of the largest and most-loved ecosystems in the world. A partnership could grant OpenAI:

  • Access to extensive data from over 2.2 billion active devices
  • Unrivaled privacy standards supporting consumer trust and sentiment over AI safety concerns (especially following OpenAI co-founder Sam Altman's removal from his position as CEO late last year, though quickly reinstated)
  • Apple's vertical integration throughout the company

Apple has a record of being late to the party. And this hasn't been a bad thing. Sometimes it helps to let a competitor work out the kinks and learn from their mistakes.

The iPhone came a decade after the first smartphone and it absolutely rocked the landscape of handheld electronics. Fitbit and Garmin had years of leadtime before the Apple Watch was introduced with groundbreaking features. AirPods brought seamless integration that prior wireless Bluetooth devices had lacked. Most recently the Apple Vision Pro, far from the first VR headset, topped all predecessors in optics and displays.

We can only imagine what AI innovations Apple has in store.

Much of the rumored AI integration is likely to come with the launch of iOS 18, speculated to be one of the biggest iOS updates ever. Rumored features include:

  • Photo editing via written or spoken commands
  • Wellness and fitness coaching
  • Enhanced Siri with AI capabilities
  • AI powered messaging

This is going to be a big day for Apple's future.

But where does Apple stand with the consumer now?

In last year's WWDC, AAPL revealed the Apple Vision Pro. Earlier this year, the product was released. But since then, consumer interest has...

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