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BusinessDay: Apple’s silent surge: preparing to dominate the 2024 AI landscape

It has been amassing a formidable arsenal of start-ups, laying the groundwork for a seismic shift.


By Johan Steyn, 28 February 2024


A silent titan is preparing to redefine the future of artificial intelligence (AI). Apple, a company synonymous with innovation, is quietly orchestrating a revolution that could position it as the most significant AI entity in 2024. 


Far from the public eye, Apple has been amassing a formidable arsenal of AI start-ups, laying the groundwork for a seismic shift in how AI will impact the future. As the tech world watches with bated breath, Apple’s potential to transform the AI landscape is becoming increasingly palpable, promising to unveil innovations that could forever alter our interaction with technology.


Though Apple’s history with AI is not widely known, it is profoundly ingrained in its product ecosystem. With the introduction of Siri in 2011, Apple entered the realm of AI-driven virtual assistants. Notwithstanding the scrutiny it has received regarding Siri’s deficiencies in comparison with alternatives such as Google Assistant, Apple has maintained a steadfast and strategic dedication to AI. 


Apple’s aggressive acquisition strategy is evident from recent revelations. In 2023 alone, the company acquired more than 30 AI-centric firms at a rate unmatched by its rivals. This frenzy not only underscores Apple’s determination to enhance its AI capabilities but also allows it to assume a leadership role in innovations.


Opinion leaders and detractors have frequently concluded that Apple’s reserved approach towards AI indicated that the company was falling behind. However, Apple’s strategy is not to be the most audible in the room. Its procurement of several AI start-ups offers it access to a wealth of cutting-edge technologies and exceptional talent, thereby establishing a foundation for AI applications that have the potential to revolutionise user experiences throughout its product portfolio.


The distinctive ecosystem integration provided by Apple confers a substantial competitive edge. Its unparalleled ability to implement AI across devices is due to its complete control over both hardware and software, which is difficult for competitors to replicate. 


Apple’s dedication to privacy and security in the use of AI stands in stark contrast to the industry as a whole. With the growing integration of AI into everyday life, its commitment to safeguarding user data while capitalising on AI may emerge as a noteworthy point of differentiation, appealing to users apprehensive of privacy infringements that are customary on alternative AI platforms.


The firm’s approach demonstrates a profound comprehension of the potential and drawbacks of the AI domain. Through strategic foresight, it is not merely endeavouring to narrow the gap with its rivals but rather to fundamentally reshape the paradigm. By virtue of its integrated ecosystem and emphasis on acquiring AI start-ups, it is well positioned to introduce AI functionalities that are not only groundbreaking but also intricately woven into the daily lives of its users, thereby guaranteeing a smooth and instinctive user experience.


Apple’s approach, which is distinguished by careful preparation and calculated omission, implies a prospective scenario in which AI not only improves functionality but does so with utmost regard for user confidence and confidentiality. With the future unveiling of its AI advancements, it is poised to significantly transform the industry, emphasising its potential to emerge as the pre-eminent AI company in the coming years.


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