Hey Apple, Where Are Your Chatbots?

As Microsoft Corp., Alphabet Inc., and — now — Amazon.com Inc. blaze ahead in the race to deploy advanced chatbots like ChatGPT, one rival remains nowhere to be seen. Apple Inc. may be biding its time for the technology to mature, as it often does, yet waiting too long could also put the iPhone maker in a position where it’s hard to catch up.

AI is not new to the Cupertino-based company. Its Siri voice assistant, using speech recognition and machine learning to understand a request and execute a solution, was released 12 years ago. It also bought music-recognition app Shazam and personalized-magazine creator Texture, both of which were incorporated into Apple’s ecosystem. Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook told investors in February that AI would be a "major focus" for Apple and cited ways the company was already using it for features like crash detection on the Apple Watch and iPhone.

But the large-language model technology that powers OpenAI’s ChatGPT is different to what Apple offers today. We asked both Siri and ChatGPT to provide a recipe for chocolate cupcakes.

Siri’s response was lackluster and pedestrian: “Here’s what I found on the web,” it said, providing three links from a Google search.

ChatGPT was positively enthusiastic: “Certainly! Here's a recipe for delicious chocolate cupcakes.” The detailed reply was complete with ingredients, portions and methods.