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Apple reveals its ‘AI Plans’ as Microsoft invests in OpenAI rival

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Apple is planning to use AI to improve the ability to search through data stored on its flagship devices

Tech giant Apple is aiming to disclose more about its plans to put generative artificial intelligence into practical use by 2024 end, the venture’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Tim Cook said during the recently held annual shareholder meeting.

Revealing more about Apple’s generative AI plans, Tim Cook said that the iPhone maker sees “incredible breakthrough potential for generative AI, which is why we’re currently investing significantly in this area. We believe that will unlock transformative opportunities for users when it comes to productivity, problem-solving and more.”

As per the analysts, Apple has been slower in rolling out generative AI, which can generate human-like responses to written prompts, than industry rivals like Microsoft and Google. Microsoft, in fact, outpaced its competitors in 2023, through its game-changing partnership with ChatGPT developer OpenAI.

The tech giant is now inducting products developed by the AI research and deployment-oriented start-up into its product line-ups. The Satya Nadella-led venture has now announced another multiyear partnership with Mistral, a French AI start-up that’s valued at about USD 2.1 billion.

Tim Cook argued that AI was already at work behind the scenes in Apple’s products but said that there would be more news on “explicit AI features” later in 2024. As per Bloomberg, Apple is planning to use AI to improve the ability to search through data stored on its flagship devices.

“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,” Tim Cook said.

Meanwhile, Apple has cancelled work on its electric car, a decade later after the tech venture started the research and development activities on the project, Reuters stated recently.

Several employees working on the electric car project will now be shifted to the firm’s AI division, as per the reports, adding more to the anticipation around how Tim Cook’s “AI Plan” will look like.

Also, Apple’s decision to shelve its electric car project comes at a time when high interest rates have led to a slowdown in demand for electric vehicles, prompting the industry to cut jobs and reduce production.

Apple started “Project Titan” a decade ago, creating a wave of interest in the domain of self-driving vehicles. Reports suggested in 2020 that the venture considering releasing an electric vehicle as soon as 2024/2025.

However, in reality, progress on this project faced a screeching halt due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which also disrupted the overall global economy as well as the automobile industry. Apart from laying off 190 workers from the group in 2019 after revamping its software approach, Apple also changed the design of its concept car, from a radical, steering-wheel-free autonomous vehicle to a more conventional car with advanced driver-assistance features.

Microsoft Diversifies AI Portfolio Further

Talking about the Microsoft-Mistral deal, the Financial Times reported that the partnership would include the tech giant taking a minor stake in the 10-month-old AI company, just a little over a year after Microsoft invested over USD 10 billion into its OpenAI partnership.

The deal will also see Mistral’s open and commercial language models being available on Microsoft’s Azure AI platform. With that, the French start-up will become the second company to offer a commercial language model on Azure after OpenAI. Microsoft’s partnership with Mistral will be focused on the development and deployment of next-generation large language models.

Mistral’s AI model, called Mistral Large, has been designed to compete with OpenAI’s GPT-4 model. Unlike some of Mistral’s previous models, the generative AI product won’t be an open source one, as the venture stated, “Mistral Large achieves strong results on commonly used benchmarks, making it the world’s second-ranked model generally available through an API (next to GPT-4).”

Mistral has also launched its “Mistral Small,” offering improved latency over the French start-up’s 8x7B model. Another product released by Mistral was a new conversational chatbot, Le Chat, that’s based on various models from Mistral AI.

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