Apple is under pressure to deliver AI at the developer conference

SAN FRANCISCO Apple will be arguing next week to show that it has not been left behind by tech rivals who are blazing ahead with artificial-intelligence.

Analysts believe that AI, and possibly even a partnership between ChatGPT maker OpenAI, will be the main theme of Apple’s annual WWDC developer’s conference in Silicon Valley on Monday.

The annual conference for Apple developers is a jamboree. CEO Tim Cook is working hard to convince them that Apple is a major AI player, as Microsoft and Google release innovations at a rapid pace.

Apple’s iPhones, iPads and Mac computers have been silently incorporating AI features for years. However, the company has not yet formulated its strategy or embraced ChatGPT style generative AI, which was a global phenomenon in late 2022.

Apple’s stock price has been on an up and down roller coaster since the AI revolution. But Wall Street believes that the announcements next week will mark the start of a new chapter in the iPhone maker’s history.

Daniel Ives, senior analyst at Wedbush Equities, told AFP that “WWDC is the most significant event for Apple for over a decade” as developers and consumers are under pressure to adopt generative AI technology.

According to Ives, the core of the announcements is almost certainly an update to Apple’s iPhone operating system. AI will be given a prominent role in this update.

He also predicted a “flagship partnership” with OpenAI, involving a chatbot that could be part an upgrade for the much-maligned virtual assistant Siri.

According to Creative Strategies analyst Carolina Milanesi, since Apple makes the majority of its revenue from selling iPhones, AI integrations are likely to focus on making its devices and services work more seamlessly together.

Milanesi stated that “Apple’s goal is to get people to upgrade their iPhones.”

We will see if Apple provides them with a compelling motivation to do so.”

‘Litmus test’

Avi Greengart, Techsponential analyst, says that Microsoft’s competitor Apple has “thrown down a gauntlet”, by introducing generative AI into Windows-powered laptops to compete with MacBook laptops.

Gadjo Sévilla, senior analyst at Emarketer, said that timing was crucial for Apple.

He said that the WWDC announcements will be “a litmus test” to see if Apple can integrate generative AI like ChatGPT into its products and services.

Apple’s failure to act at this time could lead it to lose its position as a leader in technology, particularly as it is sandwiched by two AI giants who have released products and roadmaps for the next two-year period.

Apple was surpassed by Microsoft as the largest company in terms of market capitalisation early this year. Nvidia, which is the leader in AI chips, has been closing quickly.

Cook and his team have already stated their intention to meet the AI challenge. They will be putting AI-ready and more powerful chips into recent iPad and MacBook releases.

Analysts say that Apple’s biggest challenge is to integrate the technology without compromising the privacy and security of its users, which it has heavily promoted.

Apple is determined to keep up with the AI race, while maintaining its tradition of protecting data privacy.

Sevilla stated that “Apple’s inability to move quickly and break things while other companies do so could lead it to fall behind or lose ground.”

Apple is forced to join the race as it continues its march.

Canalys, a market-tracker, predicts that by 2028 54% of all smartphones will be AI capable. AFP

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