Apple's been doing sequential inference, traffic, face detection, and other data crunching so long, some might have forgotten about it...
As anyone who's been following iMore for a while know, concerns that Apple was behind when it came to key strategic technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning have been misplaced. A large part of that fall on Apple and their penchant for secrecy. The company itself is only now beginning to open up and share:
Steven Levy, writing for Back Channel
Machine learning, my briefers say, is now found all over Apple's products and services. Apple uses deep learning to detect fraud on the Apple store, to extend battery life between charges on all your devices, and to help it identify the most useful feedback from thousands of reports from its beta testers. Machine learning helps Apple choose news stories for you. It determines whether Apple Watch users are exercising or simply perambulating. It recognizes faces and locations in your photos. It figures out whether you would be better off leaving a weak Wi-Fi signal and switching to the cell network. It even knows what good filmmaking is, enabling Apple to quickly compile your snapshots and videos into a mini-movie at a touch of a button. Apple's competitors do many similar things, but, say its executives, none of those AI powers can pull those things off while protecting privacy as closely as Apple does. And, of course, none of them make Apple products.
The better question has always been not whether Apple "gets" AI or ML, but whether the approach the company delivers are valuable to customers. Apple never "gets" anything according to popular press and opinion — iPod and iPhone included, until customers weighed in and took them to the stratosphere.
Apple is doing AI and ML on-device and on highly restricted and protected cloud services, claiming it can deliver great results while maintaining privacy. Apple has to prove it, though, and in a way that again appeals to customers.
My guess is we're only seeing the beginning. Just like phenomenal camera technology is baked into the Apple A-Series chip and surfaced in iOS, we'll see the same for AI and ML. A next generation of silicon and interface that does everything from voice to face to differential privacy so well and fast we don't even notice it's being done at all.
We just ask for pictures of our karaoke from WWDC 2015 and they appear.