1 minute read

iPad Pro with AI

In a move that’s equal parts visionary and controversial, Apple has fired a loud salvo in the battle for the future of consumer AI. With the launch of their new M4 chip boasting amped up AI horsepower, the tech titan is betting big on a world where your devices don’t just run AI, they essentially become AI - learning, inferencing and adapting locally without relying on the cloud.

Imagine a future where your iPhone or MacBook isn’t just a tool, but an intelligent companion that understands you like no other, enabled by powerful Neural Engines processing your most personal data right on the device. Apple paints a picture of an AI-powered user experience that’s magically seamless and low-latency, yet fiercely protective of your privacy, enabled by keeping your data out of the hands of big bad cloud providers.

But is this really a privacy utopia or a clever power play to lock users even deeper into Apple’s walled garden? After all, this is the same company that runs targeted ad businesses on the side and has a history of making ‘privacy exceptions’ when profits or legal compliance are on the line. It remains to be seen just how open Apple’s on-device AI kingdom will be to outside app developers.

From a technical perspective, squeezing brawny AI onto svelte devices with limited resources is no small feat. While Apple’s custom silicon magic helps, the AI leaders in the cloud are miles ahead when it comes to the model compression and optimisation gymanstics needed to pull this off. For certain applications, centralised cloud AI may still reign supreme in scale, speed and flexibility.

In the end, Apple’s on-device AI incursion seems to be as much about fortifying their castle walls and selling more premium hardware as it is about being a privacy paladin. But in a world where a few cloud colossi increasingly hold the keys to the AI kingdom, Apple’s gambit represents a meaningful counterbalance, even if their motives aren’t 100% pure.