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How Apple is Gearing Up for Generative AI Competition in WWDC 2024


Apple has marked June 10th as the official date of its yearly Worldwide Developers Conference 2024. As usual, WWDC 2024 will also include talks about on-device machine learning. While the tech giant gears up to show off its capabilities in the popular generative artificial intelligence (AI) segment, it also plans to announce an AI strategy at the event.

Besides AI, the tech giant is expected to announce software updates and may unveil a few new hardware pieces as well. Apple might launch two new AirPods, such as an upgraded AirPods Max with USB-C and another one, which could be the next in line of AirPods 3. With that said, let’s start with what Apple is planning for its innovations around AI.

AI Integration in Products
The anticipated AI capabilities could likely include auto-summarization to help users deal with lengthy texts. User interactions are also expected to be made smoother through an auto-complete tool for applications. Rumor has it that Apple Music could have AI running into it as well, which could make way for more customization and, of course, its end goal, a better user-friendly streaming experience.

Collaboration Seems to be in its AI Strategy
In its AI strategy, Apple might team up with its peers in the industry, including Google, OpenAI, and even Baidu. The idea behind joining hands with its peers could be that Apple can get a boost in developing and implementing AI capabilities in its products by improvising on the existing AI technologies at its disposal. It is mainly heard that Apple is working with Google, possibly to acquire some of the latter's language models for its iOS 18 to enhance the functionality of Siri and other AI-based applications.

Apple Seeks to Provide Generative AI Services in China
While it's reported that the two tech giants are in talks, the circumstances in China seem otherwise for Apple’s AI strategy. Since Google’s services are not allowed in China, Apple appears to have sought Baidu’s aid in the matter. Through Baidu, allegedly dubbed ‘the Google of China,’ it is said that Apple plans to release AI services in the nation. Baidu will lend its generative AI services to Apple, which will help the latter incorporate them into its products in China, starting with the launch of iOS 18.

Applying AI for Sustainability
During its Wonderlust event, Apple made it clear that it is investing its efforts into making environmental initiatives in addition to user-based functionalities. The tech giant also plans to involve itself in sustainable efforts by increasing its recycling initiatives. It has committed to stopping the use of plastics and started using 100 percent aluminum in all its products, such as MacBook, Apple TV, and all Apple Watch models. This goal is expected to be met by the end of 2024. Therefore, the tech giant believes that through AI, it can take it up a notch by managing wastage more effectively and improvising its recycling procedures.

Swift Student Challenge
Apple is once again hosting its Swift Student Challenge at this year’s WWDC event at its Apple Park. Just like back in 2021, the tech giant invites young and interested minds, challenging them to showcase their coding abilities and also providing them exposure to interact with its developers. The winners from the competition will get a ticket to attend the event at Cupertino, where they will get to experience how to work on improving their apps/applications from the Apple experts themselves. What are the eligibility criteria for this year’s event? Let’s find out!

Criteria for Participation
It is believed that there will be a total of 350 winners. Out of that, 50 app developers will be selected to develop applications exceeding quality expectations. A pass will be given to those winners who enter Apple’s headquarters, Cupertino, to interact with the company’s professionals.

The student or candidate in the US should be at least 13 years old. For other countries, the minimum age is applicable as per their rules.

Any innovation that the candidates develop must not be made up of those resources from the app playground or network connection. Judges will be deployed offline to assess the app submissions on the matter.

Also, the mobile app/web application must be created by the sender themselves, fresh from the ground up and not a template they altered on their own. Therefore, group participation is not accepted in this challenge.

The contestants can use public domain sounds and images, as well as open-source licensed code from third parties, only if the credit is given together with an explanation for the reason they used them.

Shopping for AI Firms
Apple acquired Canadian AI startup DarwinAI, onboarding hundreds of the latter’s employees into its AI group, with Alexander Wong, an AI researcher at the University of Waterloo who contributed to DarwinAI's business development, becoming a director in Apple's AI group.

According to the analysis, Apple has been slow in showcasing its capabilities in the generative AI industry even though it has acquired more AI businesses than the majority of its rivals over the past 10 years.

DarwinAI is well-known for its contributions in AI, especially by accelerating and compacting AI systems through optimization. It provides services to a number of industries, specifically for creating an AI technology that examines components during the production process. This makes it a good vessel for Apple’s goal of using AI on hardware rather than solely relying on cloud-based solutions.

Background on Darwin
By 2022, DarwinAI had raised more than $15 million. The business has previously worked with organizations like Intel. This most recent action is unmistakable proof that Apple is making every effort to incorporate generative AI, which may be seen in the next iPhone 16 series later this year.

According to the analysis, Apple has been slow in showcasing its capabilities in the generative AI industry even though it has acquired more AI businesses than the majority of its rivals over the past 10 years.

Although it has started incorporating generative AI internally, the company hopes to integrate the technology into software for automatically constructing presentations and finishing text blocks, in addition to utilizing it to help with customer service inquiries. Furthermore, Apple is developing a new iteration of its programming tool Xcode that leverages AI to assist developers in writing code.

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