Apple sneaks into the AI chatbot race with 'Apple GPT'

The iPhone maker has begun prepping an AI chatbot to rival OpenAI's ChatGPT, Microsoft Bing, and Google Bard.
Written by Maria Diaz, Staff Writer
CUPERTINO, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 05: Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks before the start of the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference on June 05, 2023 in Cupertino, California. Apple CEO Tim Cook kicked off the annual WWDC22 developer conference with the announcement of the new Apple Vision Pro mixed reality headset. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

It's the news we've all been waiting for. Apple is finally throwing its hat in the proverbial generative AI ring and joining, well, everybody else to contest for OpenAI's artificial intelligence crown. 

The news comes through reports from Bloomberg that the company is quietly working on a tool that engineers dub "Apple GPT," indirectly referring to ChatGPT, the most famous AI chatbot and, until recently, fastest-growing 'app' of all time.

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According to a report, Apple built the AI chatbot service on proprietary foundational models created by a framework called Ajax, which was first built last year and runs on Google Cloud. 

This effort comes months after OpenAI released ChatGPT, which has become widely popular, prompting other competitors to join in with their generative AI developments, like Microsoft's Bing Chat and Bing Image Creator, Google with Bard and other AI implementations, Meta, and more. 

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Apple employees can only use the Apple GPT tool internally, and executives aren't sure when the service can be rolled out publicly. The road has been filled with stop-and-go traffic due to security concerns halting the process, but the tool is now available to some employees at Apple. However, it requires special approval for access, and users are forbidden to leverage any output to develop customer-bound features.

As AI has become a hot topic in media, Apple shocked many when it barely mentioned it during its last Worldwide Developer's Conference in June. Gurman explains that AI has been a major effort for Apple in recent months, but the teams aren't prepared to come out publicly with the information. 

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Tim Cook, Apple CEO, has been largely quiet on the matter of adopting generative AI in more of Apple's products, though he has said that he uses ChatGPT. He's explained in the past that his concerns with generative AI have more to do with security and that while there is a lot of potential in the technology, there are also a lot of issues that need to be sorted out before adopting it. 

Apple uses AI across its software on all its devices in the form of machine learning. Siri, its virtual assistant, uses ML and natural language processing and has already been improved through the Ajax framework. Generative AI has proven to be a challenge for the company, one that it's still trying to figure out a strategy for before commercializing the first Apple AI chatbot. 

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