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Apple Set to Change the Tech Landscape Yet Again

Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) 2024 delivered yet another landmark for the hosts this year. Viewers peaked at over 800,000 to witness Apple finally adding the word ‘AI’ to their vocabulary, although they managed to tweak it ever so slightly to mean ‘Apple Intelligence’ instead of the acronym’s traditional interpretation. Apple Intelligence is a personal AI system designed to provide device users with enhanced language capabilities. With the beta version launching in Autumn of this year, it will be built into many of Apple's newer iPhones, iPads and iMacs. With one of the world's most influential tech companies entering the rapidly evolving field of consumer AI offerings, will consumer sentiment about AI take a turn for the better?

Our proprietary research platforms suggest that consumers were still split about AI earlier this year. Our quantitative research platform, the7stars Pulse, indicates that more than one in three Brits look at AI more positively now than they did a year ago. However, the vast majority continue to remain on the fence regarding the matter. A big reason for this reservation is a lack of general education surrounding AI. One respondent who is part of our qualitative research community, The Street, captured this sentiment perfectly when asked for their opinion – ‘I'll be honest, I'm not educated enough… it's something that I need to educate myself on.’ (J, Male, 25-34 y/o). Others described AI as ‘fake’, ‘scary’ and ‘creepy’. 

Apple's WWDC this year aims to alleviate concerns about AI by making it their own – Apple Intelligence. This rebranding strategy attaches a sense of familiarity, hoping to increase overall trust and comfort with the subject. Additionally, the company prioritises seamless integration, contrasting with competitors like Google who offer AI through standalone applications and platforms, among other integrations. Apple views AI as a function, not a product or a service. This simplification could increase user interaction with AI significantly in performing everyday tasks like texting, writing emails, or editing photos. Instead of necessitating additional steps through dedicated apps and websites (a common inconvenience), Apple Intelligence incorporates AI directly into the workflow.

So, will the most influential tech company have a positive effect on consumer sentiments when it comes to AI? Our guess is YES. Apple has a history of reimagining and pushing the boundaries of technology, and they boast a loyal customer base. A portion of these users will soon have access to one of the most sophisticated consumer-focused AI features available. This, coupled with Apple's brand recognition, is likely to lead to a significant growth in consumer interaction with AI, potentially pushing the technology further into mainstream adoption.