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Tim Cook confirms that Apple has been working on generative AI for years

Apple AI research is underway

Apple spent $22.61 billion on research and development through 2023, and CEO Tim Cook confirmed beyond a shadow of a doubt that part of that expenditure is because the company is working on generative AI.

Many pundits have said Apple is behind in AI, specifically because they do not have a chatbot or answer to tools like Google Bard. However, it seems Apple AI has been being developed for years within the company.

According to a report from Reuters, Apple's growing spend in research and development can be tied to developing AI technology. The publication received a statement from Apple CEO Tim Cook on the matter.

"We've been doing research across a wide range of AI technologies, including generative AI, for years. We're going to continue investing and innovating and responsibly advancing our products with these technologies to help enrich people's lives," Cook said. "Obviously, we're investing a lot, and it is showing up in the R&D spending that you're looking at."

Apple spent $22.61 billion across the fiscal year 2023 on R&D so far, which is reportedly about $3.12 billion higher than this point in the previous year.

Apple is rumored to be working on a ChatGPT-like product internally, though it may never see the light of day. Mark Gurman suggests some kind of Apple AI app could arrive in 2024, though Ming-Chi Kuo believes Apple is further behind than that.

Apple R&D spending over time
Apple R&D spending over time

Despite these claims and rumors, Apple has already pushed out products running on advanced machine learning models like the iPhone's camera, Siri, and more. An update in iOS 17 brings a transformer language model to the autocorrect system, which is the same base technology used in AI chatbots.

While Apple may not announce a SiriGPT anytime soon, if ever, expect more advancements from the company in the area across its platforms. Many expect the developer tool Xcode could be Apple's next target for adding an AI tool.