Apple doesn’t like the term artificial intelligence, though it does love machine learning

Artificial intelligence - Apple Logo

At this year’s WWDC, the company avoided AI as a subject at all, though did reference machine learning.

Based on technology trends already taking off at an explosive rate, it was natural to think that artificial intelligence would be a major topic of focus at the WWDC, but that was not exactly the case.

Presenters were not at all inclined to discuss AI, though “machine learning” did have its mentions.

At no point during the Apple WWDC did presenters bring up artificial intelligence, which appeared to be the exact opposite strategy to Google’s most recent I/O conference. That said, AI was still referenced in a way, though the company chose to use the milder term of “machine learning”.

Artificial intelligence - AI Tech

Apple isn’t ready to dive in head-first with AI, as has been the case with other tech giants such as Microsoft and Google. It is determined to focus on the functionality offered by machine learning, instead of the sci-fi sounding claims made by those who have gone all in. The company has placed the spotlight on the benefits it can provide to users that align with the brand’s personality. “We do integrate it into our products [but] people don’t necessarily think about it as AI,” said Tim Cook, Apple CEO, in a recent Good Morning America interview.

The artificial intelligence features Apple discussed under the label of machine learning included the following.

The following are some of the features powered by machine learning (though never described as artificial intelligence) that Apple discussed at its WWDC this year. At no point were these technologies referred to as artificial intelligence.

  • Improved iOS 17 autocorrect, which they stated was “powered by on-device machine learning.”
  • Prompts for the new Journal App that are “intelligently curated” using “on-device machine learning.”
  • AirPod Personalized Volume feature, which “uses machine learning to understand environmental conditions and listening preferences.”
  • Enhanced watchOS Smart Stack, which “uses machine learning to show you relevant information right when you need it.”
  • Vision Pro 3D avatars for video calls created using “advanced ML techniques.”
  • A new animated live photo iPad lock screen that uses “machine learning models to synthesize additional frames.”

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