Apple is ramping up its efforts in generative AI as it aims to capitalize on this rapidly emerging technology. The company is currently hiring for numerous positions across its offices in California, Seattle, Paris, and Beijing. These roles will focus on developing large language models (LLMs), which are software capable of generating plausible text, images, or code in response to simple prompts.
The job descriptions indicate that Apple is working on ambitious long-term research projects that will shape the future of its products. The company’s Machine Intelligence, Neural Design (MIND) group, and other teams are hiring talented researchers and engineers. They will be responsible for various tasks, such as fundamental research on LLMs, compressing existing language models for mobile devices, and bringing cutting-edge technologies like LLMs specifically to mobile.
While competitors like Microsoft-backed OpenAI and Google have already released generative AI products, Apple is focusing on the unique challenge of running AI software on mobile devices rather than in the cloud. This challenge is crucial for Apple’s core businesses in device sales and associated services.
Apple CEO Tim Cook emphasized the importance of AI and machine learning during an investor call, stating that these technologies are fundamental to nearly every product the company builds. In the third quarter, Apple increased its research and development spending by $3.1 billion compared to the previous year, with a significant portion dedicated to generative AI. Initially, Apple intends to integrate generative AI into existing products to enhance their productivity and usefulness.
Running AI on mobile devices offers advantages such as faster app performance, improved privacy, and enhanced security. Apple recognizes the privacy concerns surrounding AI technologies and seeks to address them by processing data on-device instead of relying on cloud resources. The company is actively recruiting individuals to develop features that compress and accelerate LLMs for on-device inference engines.
Apple’s focus on privacy aligns with its marketing strategy to differentiate itself from competitors like Google and Facebook. The company aims to provide privacy-preserving AI experiences by bringing state-of-the-art foundation models and multimedia capabilities to mobile devices.
In Paris, Apple is aggressively hiring local AI talent and plans to expand its existing lab. The company has recently hired researchers from Meta, the owner of Facebook, and previously acquired the Seattle-based AI startup Xnor for approximately $200 million in 2020. Apple’s acquisition of Xnor demonstrated its commitment to running complex machine learning models on mobile devices.
While Apple has not provided specific details about its hiring plans, it is clear that the company is investing significantly in generative AI to advance its products and maintain its competitive edge in the market.