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Apple has a long history with AI, but the generative models that power the likes of Gemini and DALL-E are a bit messier than the iPhone-maker tends to like. Developing one in the first place requires collecting entire libraries worth of data to train on (which makes it no surprise that the likes of Google and Meta have been building the tech for years), and they’re infamously difficult to control or predict.

ChatGPT, Microsoft’s Bing and Google’s Gemini are primarily designed to sound cool and confident, but it’s unclear thus far if it will ever be possible to ensure their responses are appropriate and factually accurate. Most recently Google suspended Gemini’s ability to generate images, after its attempts to correct the model’s inherent biases meant it was consistently creating women of colour when asked for white, male historical figures.

Apple has purposefully distinguished itself in the market by not collecting or selling user information, and generally shying away from data brokering. (Though it doesn’t mind serving its users up for profit less directly, see the Google Search example.) So soaking up a mountain of data to create a large language model might simply not be its style, but it still considers (and will have heard from investors) that it needs one on its smartphones to keep up with the times.

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We’ve seen a similar thing occurring very recently with Mac computers. Apple has always referred to any AI capabilities as “machine learning” or “neural processing”, but in promoting its newest MacBook Air with the M3 chip it has explicitly used “AI”, both in the sense of developing generative applications and in using chatbots as part of a creative workflow.

The reason is clear: customers and enterprises are demanding a so-called “AI PC”, and Apple is aware that AI capabilities are something buyers are now looking for when comparing laptops. Dedicated AI hardware has been in Macs for years, but now Apple has to point it out clearly, and since it doesn’t have a chatbot of its own it’s been highlighting the Co-Pilot function of Microsoft Office in presentations and demos.

Phones are a similar story. There’s a lot of buzz about the AI features in Google and Samsung phones, to the point that someone could conceivably expect an equivalent in iPhone. Apple’s smartphone is already filled with so-called neural processing, but it’s all in the background. And AI from Google, Microsoft, OpenAI and others of course works on the iPhone, but you don’t see it as a dot-point on Apple’s website. By highlighting Gemini, it could tick that box while also keeping a certain amount of distance from the more problematic side of developing and deploying an AI chatbot, at least until the company figures out how to do it in an Apple way.

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#Gemini #iPhone #winwin #cautious #Apple #aggressive #Google

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