Tim Cook: Apple to ‘Break New Ground in Generative AI’ Later This Year

Glowing blue Apple logo against a sunset backdrop of a lake and mountains.

Two pieces of interesting artificial intelligence (AI) news came out of Apple’s annual shareholder meeting today, and both tip Apple’s hand a bit regarding generative AI technology.

Apple CEO Tim Cook explained today that Apple is spending significant money on developing AI technology and features, claiming that he believes there is “incredible breakthrough potential for generative AI.”

“We believe it will unlock transformative opportunities for our users when it comes to productivity, problem-solving, and more,” Cook continued.

Earlier this month, Cook explained that generative AI features could arrive “later this year,” but today’s shareholder meeting featured Cook’s strongest statement on Apple’s AI plans yet.

“Later this year, I look forward to sharing with you the ways we will break new ground in generative AI, another technology we believe can redefine the future.”

While discussing existing “AI-powered” Apple products, like the Vision Pro’s AI-powered hand-tracking and the Apple Watch’s AI-assisted heart rate alerts, Cook moved away from Apple’s typical word choice. While the Cupertino tech giant has often used terms like “neural networks” and “machine learning” when discussing broader AI technology and features, “AI” was the word of the day for Apple.

“AI is woven into our users’ lives for all sorts of tasks, from the everyday to the essential. AI allows Apple Watch to help you track your workouts, automatically detecting whether you’re taking a walk or going for a swim. It enables your iPhone to call for help if you’re in a car accident,” Cook explained.

“Every Mac that is powered by Apple silicon is an extraordinarily capable AI machine. In fact, there’s no better computer for AI on the market today,” Cook said.

Conspicuously absent from any talks today was Apple’s car project, which was due to rely heavily upon AI. Bloomberg reports that Apple employees were told yesterday that the electric car project had been killed and relevant workers have been shifted to generative AI development.

Understandably, while companies are happy to tout the power of AI and discuss all its potential benefits, consumers are still determining if advancements in generative AI technology come with high costs.

The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), the largest American labor union federation, proposed today at the shareholder’s meeting that Apple disclose information about its AI efforts, mainly how the company aims to ethically venture further into AI territory. The AFL-CIO wanted Apple to create and release an AI transparency report.

Citing the need to protect the company’s secrets and maintain a competitive advantage in the chaotic and fast-paced world of AI development, Apple’s shareholders shot down the proposal.

Image credits: Apple