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Apple switches focus from EV to generative AI

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Market Trends | Technology
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Apple has terminated work on its yearslong effort to build an electric vehicle (EV), according to information obtained from anonymous employees.

Bloomberg reports that Apple made the disclosure internally Tuesday, surprising the nearly 2,000 employees working on the project. They reportedly found out from Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams and Kevin Lynch, a vice president in charge of the effort.

Many of the employees will be shifted to the company’s artificial intelligence (AI) division to focus on generative AI projects, according to the article. Bloomberg reports, however, that while unclear how many, there will be layoffs within the Special Projects Group in charge of the 10-year “Project Titan.”

Reuters reports that Apple’s slow approach “has sparked worries the iPhone-maker could be behind in integrating the technology into its products.”
Apple’s share gain last year, at nearly 50%, was the smallest among the so-called “Magnificent Seven” stocks, according to Reuters.

The plan was to produce a fully autonomous EV with a limousine-like interior and voice-guided navigation, according to Bloomberg, but the project has struggled with changing team leadership and strategy several times.

“The most recent approach discussed internally was delaying a car release until 2028 and reducing self-driving specifications from Level 4 to Level 2+ technology,” the article states. “Apple had employees from across the car industry working on the project, including designers from Aston Martin, Lamborghini, BMW, and Porsche.”

Bloomberg says a decrease in EV-buying enthusiasm also likely played a part in ending the project.

“Ultimately, focusing on AI may be a better bet, Bloomberg Intelligence analysts Anurag Rana and Andrew Girard said in a note. ‘Apple’s decision to abandon electric cars and shift resources toward generative AI is a good strategic move, we believe, given the long-term profitability potential of AI revenue streams versus cars.'”

Apple plans to unveil a series of generative AI-based tools at its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June, according to Benzinga.

“This initiative, part of iOS 18, signifies a significant leap in Apple’s AI strategy, showcasing a new version of Siri enhanced with generative AI capabilities,” the article states. “The upgrade promises a range of new functionalities, aiming to revolutionize user interactions with Apple devices​.”

It has also been reported that an AI-based tool for completing lines of software code, akin to Microsoft Corp.‘s Copilot, will be introduced by Apple. The tool is said to be integrated into Apple’s Xcode software and could simplify the development process by automatically completing code blocks, potentially transforming how developers work on the Apple platform, according to Benzina.

Apple is exploring AI features for automating Apple Music playlists and enhancing its business presentation software as well, according to the article.

“A technical breakthrough has also been reported, with Apple AI researchers developing a method to deploy large language models (LLMs) on iPhones and other devices with limited memory,” Benzinga reports. “This innovation could bring sophisticated AI functionalities directly into the pockets of millions of users, overcoming previous constraints related to device capabilities. Such advancements highlight Apple’s focus on not just integrating AI into its devices but doing so in a way that is accessible and seamless for everyday use​​.”


Featured image credit: Victor Golmer/iStock

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