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Apple's software chiefs decided they needed to upgrade Siri after spending weeks testing out ChatGPT themselves

Kwan Wei Kevin Tan   

Apple's software chiefs decided they needed to upgrade Siri after spending weeks testing out ChatGPT themselves
  • Apple executives knew they needed to upgrade Siri after they started using ChatGPT.
  • The company's software chiefs spent weeks using the OpenAI chatbot before making the decision.

Apple executives realized their digital assistant Siri badly needed an upgrade after they began testing OpenAI's chatbot, ChatGPT.

The company's software chiefs, Craig Federighi and John Giannandrea spent weeks using ChatGPT before making the decision, The New York Times reported on Friday, citing two people familiar with the matter.

Federighi and Giannandrea oversee the company's software engineering as well as machine learning and AI strategy respectively. Both report directly to Apple's CEO Tim Cook.

Representatives for Apple didn't immediately respond to a request for comment from BI sent outside regular business hours.

Speculation about an impending Siri overhaul comes ahead of the Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference, which is set to take place from June 10 to June 14. The company is widely expected to unveil its AI offerings then.

Back in February, Cook said in an earnings call that the company spends "a tremendous amount of time and effort" on AI.

"We're excited to share the details of our ongoing work in that space later this year," Cook told investors on February 1.

Unlike most tech giants, Apple has remained relatively coy about how it intends to compete in the field of AI. The Cupertino-based company hasn't announced any major deals with AI companies like Microsoft or try to scoop up as many AI chips as it can like Meta.

But that isn't to say that Apple has taken its eyes off the wheel.

The tech giant has poached at least 36 former Google employees with AI expertise since 2018, the Financial Times reported in April, citing an analysis of LinkedIn profiles it conducted.

Besides participating in the AI talent wars, the company has been quietly working on its own AI chips as well.

Apple has been working with chip-making giant Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company to make AI chips for its own data centers, The Wall Street Journal reported last week.

In addition to its in-house efforts, Apple is also in talks with both OpenAI and Google to integrate their chatbots, ChatGPT and Gemini, in the next version of iOS. In fact, Apple is already finalizing an agreement with OpenAI, Bloomberg reported on Friday.

The Sam Altman-led AI company has long been on Apple's radar, with Cook admitting in an interview with Good Morning America last year that he, too, uses ChatGPT.

"Yeah, I'm excited about it. I think there's some unique applications for it and you can bet that it's something that we're looking at closely," Cook said.


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