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6 spectacular AI fumbles that may help make Apple’s iPhone AI a market leader

Published Jun 7th, 2024 12:19PM EDT
iPhone 15 Pro Max Screen
Image: Christian de Looper for BGR

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Apple is playing catch-up when it comes to AI. ChatGPT arrived in late 2022 and became an overnight sensation. Since then, every major tech company has shifted attention to AI, Apple included. But unlike Microsoft, Google, Meta, Samsung, and others, Apple hasn’t hurried to add AI features to its products.

That’s par for the course for Apple when it comes to adopting any new trend. Apple made a name for itself by adding new features to the iPhone when it felt ready to do it properly. Apple was late with 3G, 4G, and 5G connectivity. It took its time to increase the iPhone display size during the “phablet” era, and it was slow to remove the home button. Apple adopted wireless charging later than its rivals. The same goes for 120Hz displays. Then, Apple moved to USB-C connectivity only because regulators forced it to.

With all that in mind, it’s not surprising that Apple hasn’t released a foldable iPhone yet, even though Samsung is about to launch its sixth-gen foldables this year. And it wasn’t surprising to see Apple avoid the words “artificial” and “intelligence” during last year’s WWDC.

But AI is something else, and many people think Apple can’t afford to stay behind for too long — including yours truly. Indeed, Apple has confirmed that genAI is coming to the iPhone by focusoing on the AI processing capabilities of its M3 and M4 chips.

With all that in mind, one could wonder whether Apple has a chance to beat its rivals when iOS 18 brings AI features to the iPhone. The answer seems to be a resounding yes. It’s not just because of how Apple will supposedly implement AI on its products, but also because rivals have had to deal with unexpected recent fumbles despite being so far ahead of Apple.

OpenAI’s big problems with ChatGPT

OpenAI will supposedly be Apple’s big partner to power chatbot features in iOS 18. That is, ChatGPT should be integrated into the iPhone’s operating system in some manner. But OpenAI has had to deal with a few big issues right after launching GPT-4o.

First, almost the entire safety team tasked with keeping AI development in check at OpenAI has left the company, forcing CEO Sam Altman to restructure the team. Moreover, word got out that OpenAI stifles constructive criticism, which is definitely not a good look for the company.

GPT-4o is a new multimodal model that will power ChatGPT Free and Plus.
GPT-4o is a new multimodal model that will power ChatGPT Free and Plus. Image source: OpenAI

Even worse is the Scarlett Johansson scandal. It’s a great publicity stunt, yes. But it also shows one of the underlying problems with its AI models: Respect for copyright infringement.

I said these ChatGPT issues make me lose trust in OpenAI. I definitely plan to drop ChatGPT as soon as a viable “Apple GPT” alternative becomes available from Apple.

Finally, the recent ChatGPT outages do not look good for OpenAI, especially ahead of a potentially massive influx of new iPhone, iPad, and Mac users.

Google Search AI Overviews

I thought Google I/O 2024 was a fantastic display of Google’s AI power. Gemini is clearly a big win for the company, and I wouldn’t have been surprised to see Apple use it instead of ChatGPT for the iPhone’s upcoming chatbot abilities. It may still happen in the future.

But nobody is really talking about that. Instead, Google is in damage control mode thanks to the problems with Google Search AI Overviews that went viral online, drawing attention to AI’s unreliability.

As a result, some people might think Google Gemini isn’t worth their trouble, and they might avoid using Google’s AI. I know Gemini is better and different than AI Overviews models, but do most average users know that?

An example of Google Search AI Overviews going terribly wrong.
An example of Google Search AI Overviews going terribly wrong. Image source:

All of this happened right before Apple’s big AI moment at WWDC. Google shot itself in the foot with AI Overviews, and Apple can capitalize on that by insisting that its AI will not be like the competition. The partnership with OpenAI helps it shift the blame for AI hallucinations on iPhone before they even happen.

Apple will focus on AI features that users find useful rather than engaging in chatbots and internet search activities.

Also, instead of forcing users to use AI features like AI Overviews and Windows 11 Recall, Apple will make iPhone AI features optional.

Copilot’s Recall “spyware”

Windows 11’s Recall feature for AI PCs is already dead on arrival. It’s something we’ll need on all future devices that will power personal assistants. That is, Windows 11 Recall lets the AI remember everything you did on the PC for you. But the way Microsoft implemented it is hardly ideal. Recall data can be hacked with ease, and I’d recall the feature entirely.

Apple can benefit from this by showing how its smarter Siri assistant will handle AI features securely and privately. Also, the Siri assistant I want might not be ready until next year, and Apple could always say that it’s doing things right, unlike competitors.

Microsoft's Recall feature will help AI remember everything you did on your PC for you.
Microsoft’s Recall feature will help AI remember everything you did on your PC for you. Image source: Microsoft

I’ll also say that Recall needs new hardware. You’ll have to buy an AI PC to get it and then disable it. Meanwhile, Apple’s AI will roll out to hundreds of millions of iPhones this fall. Add tens of millions of iPads and Macs, and it’ll probably surpass the reach of Copilot.

Humane Ai Pin fire risk

Humane is hardly a big tech company that deserves comparison with Apple, Google, or Microsoft. But Humane came out swinging with a product that takes aim at these companies. The Ai Pin should be a voice-first, AI-based, screen-less smartphone replacement/companion. It’s hardly that, as reviews have shown. People just don’t want it.

Not only that, but one of the Ai Pin accessories has a faulty battery that might catch on fire. It’s a product recall waiting to happen.

How does this help Apple? Well, Apple will turn the iPhone into the only AI device you need. And the Ai Pin costs as much as a brand-new, older iPhone model.

Humane Ai Pin Charge Case accessory is no longer available to purchase.
Humane Ai Pin Charge Case accessory is no longer available to purchase, as it’s a fire risk. Image source: Humane

Rabbit r1 is a dud

The Rabbit r1 went viral after CES 2024. The device was unlike anything else in the AI space, as it featured a different type of AI tech. You could tell the AI to perform actions for you inside apps.

When buyers finally got it, we learned the Rabbit r1 is practically an Android device running a single Android app. This was a big letdown.

Like the Ai Pin fiasco, the r1 further proves that the AI device you need might be in your pocket already. Your phone.

Moreover, rumors say iOS 18 will deliver a much smarter Siri, an assistant that will control apps for you, like the R1 device, but without the need to spend more money on an extra gadget.

Adobe peeking at your files

Adobe recently updated its terms of service with wording that allows it to access any user file on the user’s device. That’s how the updated section sounded. It seemed like Adobe wanted complete access to user files, prompting speculation that it would use that data to train the AI. Also, it seemed like Adobe was claiming some rights over private content. Social media was ablaze with discontent.

You could not refuse the terms, close the app, or delete Adobe apps like Creative Cloud.

Since then, Adobe has clarified the matters. It won’t use your content to train the AI and won’t claim ownership over your content. But the damage was done.

Privacy in the age of AI will be of utmost importance, and Apple will make a big deal about it on Monday. If reports are accurate, iOS 18 will run many AI features on the iPhone itself after determining whether the handset can handle the processing. Cloud-based AI features will also protect user data, and Apple will make a big deal about that.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.