Apple had hoped to enter the AI ​​race with ambitions of surpassing the early leaders

Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference on Monday is expected to announce the company’s move to artificial intelligence generation, marking its late arrival to a technological frontier expected to be as revolutionary as the invention of the iPhone.

The widely anticipated display of AI that will be embedded in the iPhone and other Apple products will be the marquee moment at an event that traditionally previews the next version of software that powers a hardware lineup. the company.

And the next generation of Apple software is expected to be packed with a set of AI features that will likely make its virtual assistant Siri often smarter, and make photos, music, texting – and b’ even possible to create emojis on the fly – a more productive and entertaining experience.

True to its secretive nature, Apple did not provide any details in advance of Monday’s event held at the company’s Cupertino, California, headquarters.

But CEO Tim Cook has dropped strong hints in the first few months that Apple is about to unveil its big plans to enter a space that has been booming the industry for the past 18 months.

AI mania is the main reason why Nvidia, the largest maker of the chips underlying the technology, has seen its market value rocket from around $300 billion at the end of 2022 to around $3 trillion. The meteoric rise allowed Nvidia to briefly overtake Apple last week as the second most valuable company in the US earlier this year Microsoft eclipsed the iPhone maker on the strength of its so far successful push into AI.

But analysts are increasingly concerned that Apple may be falling too far behind in the fast-changing AI space, a concern exacerbated by the company’s uncharacteristically expanded sales slump. Google and Samsung have already released smartphone models using AI features as their main attractions.

That’s why analysts like Dan Ives of Wedbush Securities see Monday’s conference as a possible springboard that puts Apple into another strong phase of growth. Ives believes that infusing more AI into the iPhone, iPad and Mac computer will translate an additional $450 billion to $600 billion in Apple’s market value.

Monday’s conference represents “the most important event for Apple in more than a decade as the push to bring next-generation AI technology to developers and consumers is at the forefront,” Ives wrote in a research note.

Apple could certainly use the boost AI could provide, especially for its 13-year-old assistant Siri, which Forrester Research’s Dipanjan Chatterjee now calls “an unhelpful assistant.”

Meanwhile, OpenAI’s ChatGPT has become increasingly controversial – so much so that it recently sparked allegations that a piece of AI software that featured Scarlett Johansson was deliberately copied – and Google last month previewed an “agent ” An AI called Astra that can see and remember things.

In addition to using AI to spruce up Siri, Apple may also team up with OpenAI to bring some aspects of ChatGPT to the iPhone, according to a wide variety of unconfirmed reports ahead of Monday’s conference.

This is the second year in a row that Apple has created a stir at the developers’ conference by using it to tap into a trendy form of technology that other companies were already making progress on.

Last year, Apple gave an early look at its mixed reality headset, the Vision Pro, which wasn’t released until early this year carrying a $3,500 price tag that greatly hindered it from gaining much traction. However, Apple’s push into mixed reality, transformed by a twist it dubs “spatial computing,” hopes to turn what is currently a niche technology into a huge market.

Part of the hope stems from Apple’s history of releasing technology later than others and then using sleek designs and services combined with slick marketing campaigns to break the ground on its start to new trends.

“Apple’s early retreat toward AI was entirely on brand,” Forrester’s Chatterjee wrote in a developer conference preview. “The company has always been known for what it offered its customers rather than how it did it.”

More AI into the iPhone, in particular, is likely to raise privacy issues – a topic where Apple has gone to great lengths to ensure its loyal customer base can be trusted without peering too deep into their lives. personal.

One way Apple could reassure consumers that the iPhone won’t be used to spy on them is to leverage its own chip technology so that most AI-powered features are handled on the device itself instead remote data centers, often referred to as “the cloud”. Going that route would also help protect Apple’s profit margins because AI technology through the cloud is much more expensive than running it on a single device.

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