Why AI wasn't mentioned at all during Apple's big WWDC presentation

Apple CEO Tim Cook presents at WWDC 2023
Apple CEO Tim Cook did not mention "AI" or "artificial intelligence" once during his WWDC keynote.Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
  • Apple execs didn't mention AI once during the company's WWDC keynote.

  • It was a deliberate choice and a stark contrast to other Big Tech companies that have embraced the term.

  • Apple, which used phrases like "machine learning" instead, has been slow to embrace buzzwords before.

Apple's two-hour long WWDC keynote was full of hype: For the company's new laptop, iOS 17, and, of course, for its long-awaited Vision Pro headset.

But "AI" — the tech industry's buzzword of the moment — was missing entirely.

In a deliberate move, Tim Cook and other Apple execs did not mention artificial intelligence once by name — despite the technology being the current darling of Silicon Valley and Wall Street.


It's a stark contrast to other companies touting the hot marketing term during earnings calls and developer conferences. During Microsoft, Meta, Alphabet, and Amazon's first quarter earnings calls in April, AI was cumulatively mentioned 168 times, for example.

To be sure, Apple introduced plenty of technology that falls under the AI umbrella, including transcriptions of voicemails and voice notes, AirPods that filter out certain sounds, and improved autocorrect. Most other Big Tech companies would likely tout these as "AI innovations" to appeal to the current enthusiasm around the term.

One of the reasons Cook et al. were mum on the buzzword could be that Apple tends to be mum on industry buzzwords in general. Apple likes to make the hype, not glom onto it. MP3 players and iPods are basically synonymous, as are wireless earbuds and AirPods.

Apple also likes to be precise, and labeling features like personalized volume and smart stack as "machine learning" — a term mentioned seven times — rather than the vague "AI" is more accurate.

Cook is the same way with the metaverse. The word wasn't mentioned one time during the entire keynote, even though many rivals would likely use the word to describe the Vision Pro headset.

"I always think it's important that people understand what something is. And I'm really not sure the average person can tell you what the metaverse is," Cook told Dutch media outlet Bright last year.

There's also the fact that, compared to other tech titans like Microsoft and Google, Apple isn't exactly known for the generative AI thing.

Apple has been slow to embrace the open-source nature of the technology fueling AI's development. Meanwhile, AI products like ChatGPT and Google Assistant have largely eclipsed Siri, and the Apple Watch SOS feature, which is powered by AI, is known to make mistakes.

Then again, Cook probably isn't all that worried. He's making plenty of money off of the AI trend without having even to mention it by name.

Apple did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

Read the original article on Business Insider