Hype around A.I. has been unavoidable this year, thanks largely to chatbot phenomenon ChatGPT—but as Google, Microsoft and Amazon race to develop powerful generative A.I., one tech giant has been notably absent from the competition.
Big Tech has invested billions of dollars in A.I. since OpenAI’s ChatGPT took the world by storm late last year, with Microsoft using the tech to upgrade its Bing search engine while Alphabet’s Google unveiled its own chatbot, Bard.
Nvidia and Amazon have also outlined their own A.I. strategies, while Tesla cofounder Elon Musk recently started his own A.I. firm, xAI—meaning several of the world’s most valuable firms have thrown their hats into the ring.
Apple, however, has publicly avoided the A.I. hype, referring to its own developments in the space as “machine learning”—raising questions about whether the world’s most valuable tech firm is falling behind when it comes to 2023’s hottest technology trend.
However, according to a new report, the Cupertino-based company has in fact been quietly developing its own generative A.I. tools while its rivals battle it out in public.
Citing anonymous sources, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday that Apple has built its own framework to make large language models—the systems that underpin bots like ChatGPT and Bard. Internally, the framework is known as “Ajax.”
The iPhone maker was also said to have created its own chatbot, which some Apple staffers reportedly refer to as “Apple GPT.”
The news briefly sent Apple stock soaring 2.3% to touch on a record high of $198.23, adding $71 billion to the company’s $3 trillion market cap. Shares ended Wednesday’s trading session at $195.10—around 1% higher than they had been at the opening bell.
Despite market buzz around Apple’s generative A.I. potential, the firm is still yet to finalize a plan for releasing its own offering to consumers, according to Bloomberg.
The news outlet’s sources said the A.I. push had become a central effort at Apple, however, with multiple teams participating in the work.
Representatives for Apple did not respond to Fortune’s request for comment.
Although Apple has avoided publicly declaring itself a competitor in the new generative A.I. race, it has long been using the technology in some form to improve its devices.
In 2011, the company integrated Siri, the world’s first A.I.-powered virtual assistant, into its iPhone 4S, and more recently Apple has woven “machine learning” into its $3,500 Vision Pro headset.
Generative A.I., a specific type of artificial intelligence, is capable of producing output that’s indistinguishable from human-generated content or responses—hence ChatGPT’s ability to brainstorm, make personalized recommendations, write songs and even pass an MBA final.
Apple has been on the hunt for generative A.I. talent for months, with dozens of roles related explicitly to the technology currently open on its careers page.
While many experts believe the use of advanced generative A.I. at Apple would be hugely transformative for its products, the company appears to be taking a cautious approach.
Earlier this year, Apple CEO Tim Cook said the firm viewed A.I. as a “huge” opportunity with “very interesting potential”—but he emphasized the need for caution in the technology’s development.
“[We] will continue weaving it into our products on a very thoughtful basis,” he said. “I do think it’s very important to be deliberative and thoughtful… There’s a number of issues that need to be sorted.”