Don't count Apple out of the AI ​​race.

Apple CEO Tim Cook at the 2023 Worldwide Developers Conference.
Josh Adelson/AFP Getty Images
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  • Apple has largely refrained from making any major revelations about its AI plans.
  • A tech analyst says it's a perfect fit for the company.
  • “Apple is rarely first to market,” one analyst told BI.

For the better part of the last year, Apple has felt increasing pressure from investors. To debut in the creative AI space.

Google and Microsoft have built AI-integrated products — to varying degrees of success — and OpenAI last week introduced the latest iteration of its wildly popular ChatGPT language model, GPT-4o.

Announcements about Apple's AI initiative have been mainly limited to media reports and assurances from CEO Tim Cook, who promised in February that AI would “influence every product and service we have.”

Still, the company's investors are getting nervous. With Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference coming up in June, analysts say Apple will have to show off its AI wares to please shareholders.

“They have to do it,” Gene Munster, managing partner of Deepwater Asset Management, told Business Insider. “The future of computing is ubiquitous multimodal AI,”

But does it matter if the tech company is late, as many analysts have declared?

Carolina Milanesi, principal analyst at Creative Strategies, a tech consulting firm, told BI that Apple's success has rarely been attributed to its ability to be first. Just look at the iPhone, iPad, or Apple Watch.

“Apple rarely enters the market,” Milanesi said. “They prefer to come in and disrupt the market — from wearables to smartphones to tablets. They have never been before.”

Before Apple debuted the iPhone in 2007, BlackBerry dominated the smartphone market. Tablets existed decades before the iPad launched in 2010. And the Apple Watch came at a time when other companies like Sony and Samsung started entering the wearable space.

Melanesi believes AI will be no different.

However, the analyst also argues that AI's impact on Apple is unique because the Cupertino-based company relies less on direct revenue streams from AI. Despite declining sales, Apple's main source of revenue is the iPhone.

What will be important for Apple is to demonstrate how it will continue to add value to its existing ecosystem of products and services by integrating artificial intelligence, Milanesi said.

“The way they're going to leverage AI and the way they're going to bring value back to their business is going to be very different from the way Google and Microsoft and Amazon Web Services are,” he said. “For these companies, it's all about the cloud, running LLMs in the cloud, and monetizing it.”

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

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