Wednesday, May 29, 2024

When are the Macs Getting M4 Chips? Prediction: MacBook Pro With M4 At the WWDC

What are the new M4 chips? Presumably, Macs could get the M4 chip tomorrow if Apple decides to pull the trigger on them. 

First, let's address the question of why we are even talking about M4 based Macs when the M3 MacBooks were just realized about 7 months ago? Earlier this month, Apple released an all new slate of iPads - iPad Air and iPad Pro. The Air were upgraded to the M2 chip, the same chip that my MacBook Air has now. To the surprise of everyone even though rumors had suggested this weeks ago, the iPad Pro got the M4 chips. Traditionally, the iPad Pro felt like an after thought to the Mac but I am sure that is not really how Apple looks at it. 

This would be the first time that the iPad Pro with the M4 chip outperformed the Mac in terms of sheer horsepower - both in the single core and multi-core performance. However, a small segment of the iPad Pro users lament the fact that the performance of the M4 is wasted as the iPadOS 17 does not really take advantage of all the power of the M4 chip. Personally, I have this to say to these users - who cares? 

The question for these users should be when are the Macs getting the M4 love? I think we could be in for a June surprise at the WWDC when Apple talks about the future of its platforms on June 10th. If this does not happen in June, the next window of opportunity for Apple is this fall, probably October. 

Here is why I think it could happen in a little more than two weeks. Apple really cannot afford to let the Macs sort of languish with the M3 chip. And the M3 chips are powerful. Compared to the M4 though, I think power users really are looking forward to the M4 Pro and M4 Max. Apple will likely refresh the whole MacBook line up but don't be surprised if Apple only upgrades the MacBook Pro. After all, the WWDC is really about the pro users - programmers if you will. 

Apple could then complete the MacBook upgrade with the MacBook Air and possible a new MacBook, which would be another surprise and another post, later this fall in October. 

Another reason why I believe Apple will move on the M4 upgrade now rather than later is competition. With Intel waking up to Apple's threat and Qualcomm releasing its own ARM chips that rival Apple's own chips, Apple cannot afford to fall behind. Even a tie would be a blow to the chip design prowess that Apple has gained in the industry. Furthermore, it is all about artificial intelligence these days. The consumer understanding of AI is mediocre at best which is why these tech companies are all about AI this and AI that. Having the fastest chip only gives Apple bragging rights but its legendary integration between  hardware and software will give it an edge that Wintel or WinQual cannot never match.

Sunday, May 5, 2024

iPad and WWDC Prediction: Apple Will Upgrade Siri And Users Will Not Be Able to Choose Between ChatGPT or Gemini

At this year's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), Apple is set to unveil major upgrades to its virtual assistant Siri. These enhancements will integrate the company's own advanced AI models across all of Apple's operating systems - iOS/iPadOS, macOS, and watchOS However, Apple remains committed to its walled garden philosophy and curate AI experience for its users. 

Right now, there is no indication how Apple plans implement its AI chat version. There is no indication that Apple is planning any chat feature like Gemini or ChatGPT at all.

First, a short history about Siri - it was introduced in 2011 along with the iPhone 4S. It has gained popular and use over the years with different iterations. While it has improved over the last twelve years, for many users, the usefulness and responsiveness of Sir has felt it a "once step forward and two step back" experience.

The hope among Apple fans and investors is that Siri in 2024 will be vastly improved. It may well be but it'll be. However, Apple will not open the floodgates to allowing users to freely choose between competing AI providers. Instead, all queries and AI processing will be streamlined and vetted through Siri. This gatekeeper approach ensures Apple maintains its firm grip on curation, privacy, and the overall user experience.

Under the hood, Siri may leverage multi-source AI models and knowledge bases. This approach has been taken by Apple in the past and may allow Siri to function better and more useful and return Apple to its "it just works" approach.

There are a couple of things to consider when it comes to Apple regarding AI. Given its history, any improvement to Siri beyond what Apple will unveil at the WWDC will take time. Apple likes to let things simmer over time. And other consideration is that we simply have no idea what direction Apple mean to take its AI initiatives. Whatever AI models ChatGPT, Microsoft, Google, or anyone takes, Apple's approach will likely be different. 

At the end of the day, it will be the kinds of results that are delivered that matter. Other models might offer better access to information without a lot of rules and limitations. Apple might take AI in another direction - access is limited but offer better results.

So don't expect Apple to give users a choice of Siri, ChatGPT, or Gemini like they do with search engines on Safari.

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