Apple Is Building Its Own AI Chatbots To Take On Google And Microsoft

Apple hasn't really been a laggard in the AI race after all, despite pundit analysis that the company is losing the race to Microsoft, Google, and Meta. Bloomberg reports that Apple has "built its own framework to create large language models," codenamed "Ajax," that forms the backbone of its own AI chatbot.

Employees are reportedly calling it "AppleGPT," and it is currently under testing among a close group, while the "Ajax" framework was created last year. The company is now said to be working on large language models using "Ajax" to create its own tools in the same vein as OpenAI's ChatGPT or Google's Bard.

AppleGPT currently exists as a web app, however its rollout was reportedly halted over privacy and security concerns. Apple is among a multitude of other Fortune 500 companies that have reportedly prohibited employees from using AI chatbots like ChatGPT over risks of data leak, asking employees to not provide any information to chatbots that isn't already public knowledge.

Interestingly, "Ajax" is based on "Jax," a machine learning framework developed by Google and runs on Google Cloud. Apple is even said to have conducted a corporate trial of ChatGPT, and weighed a long-term partnership with OpenAI. Although, it's unclear if Apple was merely exploring a licensing deal, or whether it wanted to be a multi-billion dollar investor in the same fashion as Microsoft.

Apple is taking the safe route

The Ajax-based Chatbot is able to summarize texts and answer queries based on the limited amount of data used for training it. Apple has reportedly created an internal system that requires special access before employees can use AppleGPT.

It is unclear if Apple plans to release it as a standalone product anytime soon, or whether the learnings will be used to improve Siri. However, the company is reportedly prepping for a major AI-aligned announcement in 2024. Apple wants to integrate advanced AI into its products in such a way that it improves how people "communicate, create, connect and consume media," according to Apple job postings for AI. That sounds eerily close to what ChatGPT and Bard, both of which have now gone multi-modal, can already accomplish.

Apple employees, on the other hand, are reportedly using the secretive chatbot to assist them with product prototyping, but there's still some restrictions on its utility. "Any output from it can't be used to develop features bound for customers," adds the report.

It seems that Apple's chatbot isn't doing things any differently compared to Microsoft's Bing Chat, OpenAI's ChatGPT, or Google's Bard, adding that it lacks "any novel features or technology." However, Apple wants to take time to address the well-documented risk and shortcomings that plague the current generation of AI chatbots.