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Apple built a secret AI tool called ‘Ask’ – here’s what we know so far

Published Feb 23rd, 2024 6:34AM EST
Siri on the Vision Pro headset. Apple GPT
Image: Apple Inc.

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Apple is already implementing a generative AI feature before the iOS 18 announcement. While it was previously reported that the company was planning to use Artificial Intelligence in the AppleCare department, it seems this change is already rolling out.

According to MacRumors, Apple has released a ChatGPT-like tool called Ask for its AppleCare Support advisors. This feature helps employees to offer faster technical support. The publication says this tool can “automatically generate responses to technical questions they receive from customers.”

Ask analyzes Apple’s internal support database and finds the best answer for that query. For example, suppose an advisor wants to know how a customer can update their device to the latest software update. In that case, this tool will offer an answer quickly instead of making the advisor search through several support pages.

Afterward, the advisor must rate the answer as “helpful” or “unhelpful.” MacRumors also says Ask will give advisors “factual, traceable, and useful” information. That said, this secret AI tool is only available for a few advisors, as Apple plans to roll it out to more employees in the near future.

With that, Apple can speed up AppleCare queries with a smart usage of generative AI. Interestingly, this is only a small fraction of AI tools expected to be part of Apple’s effort into this technology. Upcoming iOS 18 and iPhone 16 releases are expected to be packed with AI features.

Apple AI could take over iOS 18

iPhone 14 Pro Max and Beats Studio Buds+ earbudsImage source: José Adorno for BGR

Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman, analyst Jeff Pu, and The Information believe generative AI will be a massive part of iOS 18 and the iPhone 16. These are some use cases for Apple’s AI:

  • Auto-summarizing and auto-complete features for core apps and productivity software (Pages, Keynote). This was also rumored by leaker yeux1122, which says code on iOS 18 suggests this function.
  • Better playlist creation in Apple Music
  • Siri (a big overall overhaul with a focus on AI)
  • Code completion in a new version of Xcode for developers
  • AppleCare tools to assist employees in helping customers with troubleshooting

During Apple’s first earnings call of the year, the company’s CEO, Tim Cook, did not mention iOS 18 by name. But he did address AI twice, teasing the upcoming announcements. He did it once during his remarks, right after reminding those on the call about the Vision Pro launch.

Cook said Apple will spend a “tremendous amount of time and effort” on AI, with details coming later this year.

Moments like these [the Vision Pro launch] are what we live for at Apple. They’re why we do what we do. They’re why we’re so unflinchingly dedicated to groundbreaking innovation and why we’re so focused on pushing technology to its limits as we work to enrich the lives of our users. 

As we look ahead, we will continue to invest in these and other technologies that will shape the future. That includes artificial intelligence, where we continue to spend a tremendous amount of time and effort, and we’re excited to share the details of our ongoing work in that space later this year.

José Adorno Tech News Reporter

José is a Tech News Reporter at BGR. He has previously covered Apple and iPhone news for 9to5Mac, and was a producer and web editor for Latin America broadcaster TV Globo. He is based out of Brazil.