Apple’s WWDC to be AI turning point for tech giant

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Apple is set to hold its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) this week with analysts eagerly anticipating announcements related to the artificial intelligence (AI) initiatives that have to date been lower profile than the tech giant’s rivals.

The WWDC festivities begin Monday in Cupertino, California, with a keynote address revealing the latest Apple software and technologies at 10:00 a.m. Pacific set to be followed by a state of the union about new advancements on Apple platforms to be held three hours later kicking off the event.

With Apple having taken a less public approach to its AI development than rivals like Google and Microsoft, the announcement of new AI features and products at the highly-anticipated conference has analysts expecting such news to fuel another surge for the tech giant.

“WWDC next week kicks off a new frontier for Apple,” analysts at Wedbush Securities wrote in an investor note. “Introducing AI to its all-important developer community and laying the foundation for bringing generative AI to the consumer starts with Apple in our view.”

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The Wedbush analysts’ note said that they believe Apple is set to pair its own large language models (LLMs) with a chatbot made by OpenAI as part of an exclusive partnership, which would be powered by AI chips made in-house.

“We expect the formal announcement of a flagship OpenAI partnership will consist of an OpenAI Chatbot with exclusive features that build upon 1) on-device Apple LLMs and 2) cloud-powered LLMs along with Apple powering AI on its own high end chips in our view,” the analysts wrote.

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They added that software developers who build apps on Apple’s iOS operating system will have a new app store to showcase their apps and harness Apple’s AI ecosystem as it grows.

“We also believe Apple will lay the foundation for an AI App Store as developers build consumer apps on the AI stack that Cook & Co. will introduce at WWDC and will lead to additional Services growth over the coming years,” the analysts wrote. “As more developers build apps over the next year around AI this activity and monetization will happen within the Apple ecosystem to tap into its unmatched installed base globally.”

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Other announcements to watch for at WWDC include AI features in iPhone 16, which Wedbush analysts said they believe “will spark a massive overdue upgrade cycle into 2025,” as well as the inclusion of AI features in iOS 18 and Apple’s new in-house chips.

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“In a nutshell WDC is a pivotal moment in Apple’s future as the developers are the hearts and lungs of the Cupertino growth story and will now start a new AI driven chapter in the Apple growth story for the coming years,” Wedbush analysts wrote, adding that Wall Street will be “laser focused” on Apple’s “biggest event in over a decade.”

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Apple’s WWDC begins Monday and concludes Friday in Cupertino, California.

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