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Tim Cook talks Apple Intelligence, OpenAI, and iconic Apple products

Tim Cook makes an appearance on MKBHD

Apple CEO Tim Cook is continuing his interview tour to discuss Apple Intelligence versus artificial intelligence, privacy in the AI era, and the most iconic Apple products of all time.

In a new interview published on the MKBHD YouTube channel, Tim Cook sat down with Marques Brownlee to talk about iOS 18, Apple Intelligence, and his feelings on products of the past.

When asked how Apple views artificial intelligence, Cook noted that Apple has been making strides in the field for years, starting with the Apple Watch.

We’ve been executing with AI for a long time, right?… It’s at the root of the Watch. I mean, you think about things like crash detection, fall detection, things like AFIB… is machine learning at the end of the day.

He also notes that while most people can point to chatGPT and more well-known generative AI ventures, Apple’s stance is a bit different.

We see it as the opportunity for a whole new curve of technology… providing and doing more things for people, providing an assistant for people, things that really improve people’s lives… That’s how we see it. Obviously, it’s not without downsides, so we have approached it very thoughtfully… We have always been focused on privacy, so privacy is a very key tenet of our thrust into AI.

Cook discusses how Apple didn’t want to enter into the AI space until it knew that it could do so responsibly. According to Cook, Apple primarily focuses on two core tenets: personal context and privacy. If a feature could risk user privacy or wasn’t already fitting a user’s workflow, it didn’t make the cut.

When pressed on Apple’s partnership with OpenAI to integrate ChatGPT into iOS 18, Cook said the following:

If you’re working on something that requires world knowledge, so you’re out of the domain of personal context, and so forth, then you may want to go and use one of the large language models that are on the market.

We selected what we feel is the best one with OpenAI and ChatGPT. But you’ll make a conscious decision to do that every time.

When asked if AI could eventually cause people to be on their devices less, Cook noted that he believes there is a significant possibility for that to happen. However, he notes that it isn’t Apple’s intention to encourage users to spend their lives on their iPhone or MacBook, but rather empower them to do things they couldn’t do otherwise.

Brownlee tackled the CEO Legacy question too, asking Cook what he thought his legacy “should be,” to which Cook responded:

I don’t think about it. To me, a legacy is something that is defined by other people looking at you, not something that you define yourself.

I typically am always focused on the forward, not the rearview mirror. And that is a characteristic of Apple in general, we’re very focused on the forward… I feel the same way, personally. At some point, there will be another CEO, and my whole focus in life will be on making them successful.

The interview concluded with Brownlee prompting Cook to engage in a blind ranking of Apple products — which he didn’t really do. However, he did give his personal opinions on the iPad, the MacBook Air, and yes, even the Magic Mouse.