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Apple’s AI Rollout Beats Google, Microsoft and Microsoft

Over the past several weeks we’ve seen Google I/OThe article highlighted Google’s Gemini AI Engine for Smartphones; Microsoft BuildApple’s WWDC24, which showed the AI rollout on PCs and phones.

Google’s launch, which focused on interesting and attractive features, was well received. Microsoft’s event, on the other hand, was a mess. Microsoft’s most advanced capabilities did not work on existing hardware. They also didn’t include the vast majority of PC users. And they received negative press for the Recall function, which was hidden under false privacy concerns.

Apple rolled out its AI — standing for “Apple Intelligence” in a cute spin — across most of its product line, nicely bridging PCs, tablets, and smartphones in a more compelling and comprehensive manner than either Google or Microsoft.

Explore these AI products that were released this week. Let’s close out the week with my Product of the Year: an advanced videoconferencing application that has just embraced Apple Vision Pro, creating an even more compelling remote worker solution.

Apple’s Superior Approach for Event Keynotes

Marketing to users is a major problem for every business today. In the days when I was a child, advertising on TV, radio, or in a wide range of magazines, some focusing on technology, were all available. These more traditional media are less effective today because people prefer the internet, use ad blocking software, or simply ignore web-based advertisements.

One way that  companies like Apple, Google, and Microsoft have to get the message to users is through keynotes at events like I/O, Build, and WWDC. Apple, however, uses its keynotes as a vehicle for long-form promotion of products. Google and Microsoft, on the other hand, tend to stick to the traditional format, focusing primarily on local developers.

There are usually breakout sessions for attendees who want to know more about technical details. The majority of users don’t care about these details, and I would say that the attendees aren’t either, since they each have their own areas of interest that aren’t necessarily tied to what is being demonstrated on stage.

Apple’s move to make its WWDC presentation into a longer-form advertisement and to focus on users, rather than the developers present in the room, was a wise one. Apple may not have the same on-stage charisma as Steve Jobs, but it is closer than anyone to controlling the message and driving excitement around its announcements.

Microsoft’s AI Rollout: Challenges

Microsoft’s AI platform ChatGPT has had quality issues. Microsoft’s AI offerings were negatively affected by these issues, causing the WSJ magazine to place it at the bottom of five AI assistants that they tested. Apple’s latest version of ChatGPT came in second. Apple didn’t really pair ChatGPT with its OS. Apple has instead made it a user activated option. This should ensure that any issues will reflect badly on OpenAI rather than Apple.

Elon Musk has reportedly threatened Apple to ban smartphones that use ChatGPT. Tesla’s performance makes me think that people would be more willing than ever to give up an iPhone for a Tesla. I don’t see this ending well for Tesla. Musk’s concerns are unfounded, since Apple has separated ChatGPT, and not embedded it, from its OS.

Apple and Microsoft have both released indexing applications that are aggressive. Microsoft even named its app “Recall.” These apps do the same things, but Microsoft was criticized heavily — and largely falsely — for using this technology to spy on users, while Apple, which spent more effort explaining how the technology protected personal information, did not.

This is likely due in part to Microsoft Build having been the first, and thus generating negative publicity early enough to cause Apple to change their messaging so that it wouldn’t suffer the same fate.

Apple, Google, and Microsoft: AI coverage comparison

Google’s AI is compatible with Android phones, so it will cover most Android devices. Microsoft’s Copilot+ is the most advanced AI system. It will only work on the Snapdragon X Elite Laptops, which are due to ship tomorrow. Apple’s AI release covered the entire Apple product line. Apple Watch is not a native Apple Watch app, but you can use it to interact with your iPhone.

The events are for developers, so they can use Google’s solution on their smartphones, but not their workstations. Microsoft developers using workstation-class software don’t have access to Copilot+, even though their discrete graphics cards are far more powerful than NPUs for AI workloads. Microsoft’s primary motive for this is to preserve Azure revenue. However, limiting the product coverage to protect secondary revenue streams is a mistake.

Apple developers can, on the other hand, use their AI across their smartphones, desktops, and tablets. This gives Apple’s developer’s better coverage and support than Google or Microsoft’s.

Apple Leads in Event Performance

Apple has always had a strong history of launch events. Microsoft, however, has done a better job a few times with the Windows 95 and Xbox launches. Google has never held an event that has eclipsed Apple’s, and Apple even has eclipsed CES a number of times.

Apple TV’s impact on Apple launches and events is likely to be significant.

Google’s YouTube is larger than Apple TV but it doesn’t appear to be using the talent and learnings to improve its keynotes or events. Microsoft also has a studio, but its capabilities are not as high as those of Apple or Google. They don’t appear to use the studio for events. Microsoft’s efforts are therefore inferior to those of Apple and Google.

Apple sets the Standard

Google I/O, which was first, was a good initial effort. It captured the attention of its smartphone users but mainly left out its Chromebook PC users.

Microsoft’s Copilot+ launch was so convoluted that it didn’t seem like Microsoft had learned from Google’s initial effort. Recall had a poor positioning, which forced Microsoft to delay its initial shipment to OEMs.

Apple is the leader in this area, having a wide range of PC and smartphone models, a good positioning of applications and putting AI right where the developers are, on their hardware.

Apple’s response to the Microsoft Recall was a tactical adjustment of its message. It maintained high-quality presentation and strengthened customer loyalty. This approach was what made the keynote so interesting.

Apple’s level of excellence is comparable to that of Apple.

Apple has once again raised the bar in terms of how it announces important features, products and services. They could have done it too. They chose not to.

Apple Vision Pro Supported by Campfire

I am a fan CampfireA new VR-focused platform for collaboration and conferencing. The Meta Quest headsets are one of the main reasons why I like this app. They make spatial computing affordable and safer, as they are wireless.

Campfire announced that they would be supporting Apple Vision Pro headsets within a few months. The Apple Vision Pro headsets will have a better passthrough than Quest and are much more expensive. The improved passthrough allows Vision Pro headsets to be used for longer periods of time with less side effects like motion sickness. This makes them a better option than Quest, which focuses on professional users.

Campfire for Vision Pro should be available on the App Store by this fall. (Image Credit: Campfire)

This upgrade allows Campfire to further enhance its value as a spatial computer platform by allowing customers to use the Apple Vision Pro.

This is a great move that coincides with Apple’s WWDC. It could be the future of videoconferencing, and an important tool for businesses to keep their employees off planes. Every time I read a Boeing article, I regret that we didn’t use spatial computing or invest more in trains to reduce air travel.

Campfire, as a result of my support for the Apple Vision Pro is this week’s Product of the Week.