The Impact of AI on Apple’s WWDC 2024

We’re gearing up to cover Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) next week! In this episode, Cherlynn and Devindra dive into everything they expect at WWDC: Tons of AI announcements; more on iOS 18, iPadOS 18, and macOS 15; and hopefully some improvements for Vision Pro and visionOS.

In addition, we chat about what we expect to see at Summer Game Fest and demonstrate how we used an AI editing tool to clear up some awful podcast audio. Devindra also talks with Justin Samuels, the founder of Render ATL, about why he started a massive tech conference in Atlanta.

Listen below or subscribe on your podcast app of choice. If you’ve got suggestions or topics you’d like covered on the show, be sure to email us or drop a note in the comments! And be sure to check out our other podcast, Engadget News!

  • WWDC 2024 Preview: Apple gets serious about generative AI – 1:16

  • NVIDIA overtakes Apple to be the 2nd most valuable company in the US – 31:08

  • Humane AI warns users its battery case “may pose a fire risk” – 34:36

  • AI workers demand stronger whistleblower protections – 34:36

  • Boeing’s Starliner has successfully launched astronauts to the ISS – 46:11

  • AI audio cleanup has gotten really good and we have podcast clips to prove it – 48:25

  • Working on – 58:09

  • Pop culture picks – 58:45

  • Interview with Render ATL founder Justin Samuels – 1:05:50

Hosts: Devindra Hardawar and Cherlynn Low
Producer: Ben Ellman
Music: Dale North and Terrence O’Brien

Engadget Podcast WWDC 2024 preview

Devindra: [00:00:00] What’s up, internet. Welcome back to the Engadget podcast. I’m senior editor Devindra Hardawar.

Cherlynn: I’m deputy editor Cherlynn Low.

Devindra: Hello, welcome back Cherlynn. This week we are getting ready for WWDC 2024 happening in a couple of days. Cherlynn and I are going to be going down there to do it just like we did last year.

But, I don’t know, maybe it may be not as momentous as last year’s WWDC where we got a whole new device, right? And a whole new platform for Apple, but we’re expecting a lot of AI stuff. We’ll dive into all of that. And we’ve got a bunch of news this week too, but as always, folks, if you’re enjoying the show,

Please be sure to subscribe to us on iTunes or your podcatcher of choice. Leave us a review on iTunes, drop us an email at podcast@engadget.com. And I’m sure you guys will have a lot of questions after this episode. So be sure to do that. And also you can typically join us Thursday mornings on our YouTube channel for our live stream around 10:30 AM Eastern.

It’s a fun time. Join the crowd and you can see us on video and see us do very silly things. Cause we’ll be doing some demos too, which may not show up as well in the in the audio [00:01:00]version of the show. Stay tuned to the end of this episode for my chat with Justin Samuels. He’s the founder and CEO of RenderATL, which is a huge tech conference happening in Atlanta from June 12th to the 14th.

All right. Let’s talk about WWDC. Cherlynnn, I feel like we are dead with events because we have come through Google and Microsoft and everything just back to back. And of course we knew WWDC was coming, but Apple only sent us invites like maybe a week ago. It’s typically like a two week lead time that we get to actually jump into it.

How are you feeling? What are you looking forward to at DubDub? I,

Cherlynn: I like going to “DubDub”. I like visiting Apple’s campus. It’s one of the nicest I’ve been to. All three that I’ve been to are nice, right? Google, Microsoft, and Apple, but something about Apple’s campus just really resonates in my, chestal region.


Devindra: very, it is the nicest one. I haven’t been to the main Google campus. And also you didn’t see the new Microsoft campus. Oh, yeah, we saw it build and. They, these companies, they express their style in their campuses, in their [00:02:00] environments, right?

Cherlynn: Yes, but as for the actual news we’re expecting out of WWDC, I don’t know how hype I might be yet.

We’ll dig into kind of what we’re expecting, but it just sounds like from all the reporting and rumors and leaks and whatnot, AI is going to be a big deal. And I’m just like, Oh God. Like I always, we’re

Yeah, we’re so inundated with all of it.

Devindra: Also because that’s what IO was about.

Was Google saying Hey, this is how we’re AI ing everything. And Microsoft was also like, Yeah, here’s a whole new AI platform for all PCs. So does the dream of AI stuff feel more real this year? At least for you, Shirlene, because last year it didn’t feel real. I

Cherlynn: don’t know about more real, right?

I don’t know if I what do you what do we mean by real? But I will say that Google’s been banging on about AI forever and Google has had and also the word AI itself, has been around for so long decades. Yeah. What are we really talking about this year is that generative AI is making its way into a lot of devices and whatnot.

With Google, it still felt a little bit like a mix of what we saw with the duplex announcement years ago with the restaurant [00:03:00] reservation, AI slash, whatever you would want to call that. But Apple. Actually coming out and using and uttering the word AI would be a big deal. I think I don’t think Apple would say it as many times as Microsoft or Google did in their respective developer conference keynotes, but So if they say it at all, I would be like, wow, this is entering mainstream consciousness.

I would bet a table that Apple finds a way to rename it or say it in some way that’s not the same as everyone else. But it’s also a very classic Apple to enter the game extremely late, but maybe make the most waves, even if nothing they do is groundbreaking,

Devindra: We can’t, we talked about that around the vision part, right?

That was definitely almost a decade late after all the VR headsets came out and Apple sat back and looked at AR and VR and everything. But I don’t know if we can say that here, because based on the reporting we’ve seen and by the way, we have a great preview piece by Chris Holtz. So go check that out for all our [00:04:00] stuff.

We are expecting Apple to AI all the things, but the. Inner story here is almost one of failure by Apple. There was a report in the wall street journal last night detailing what went down here. And specifically it was that Apple just didn’t really seem to have focus around AI stuff.

They they, in 2018, they had hired. A former Google engineer John Gianandrea to head all of their AI stuff. And according to that reporting, they, that team, which also included more Google people that he brought into Apple, never quite gelled with the rest of Apple, right? Because Google’s like timeline and the way they develop things may take a long time.

And they don’t like normally have to build products around, Hey, we got to release a new iPhone next year. Or a new iPad in a couple of years or something. So it seems like that team never fully gelled within Apple. And then most recently, like some of Apple’s other executives, like when ChatGPT launched, got really enamored with that stuff and was like, Oh crap, we got to be doing this.

So [00:05:00] this year almost seems like Apple’s proving that they are not totally behind because the story, at least since last year is that Apple is behind. Even though you could argue that they’ve been doing neural engine stuff since 2017, 2018, like they’ve been doing computer vision stuff, but they haven’t done generative AI stuff.

And that’s what we’re expecting to see at DubDub next next week. Stuff that Apple itself has been doing. Cause there has been reporting about. An internal engine that they’re working on for Siri to maybe do more things locally, but also partnerships, most likely with open AI, according to reporting from Mark Gurman at Bloomberg, it seems like Apple has formed a partnership with them to do similar to what Microsoft is doing with open AI, although not to the same degree, like Microsoft is like half invested.

In open AI at this point. But basically being able to trigger open AI from Siri or maybe within iOS and macOS, it seems like something like that is happening. It does feel like Apple’s behind, right? They have something to prove and they don’t normally. They’re not normally in the weak [00:06:00] position as a company.


Cherlynn: Look I wanna point out that in the livestream video chat deep mindset. I a I, right? Are they gonna add an I-I-A-I-I-A-I. That’s quite funny. And that, aI reality. Apple and all, according to DeepRow9, Apple always follows, never innovates. I don’t know. I don’t know if we can necessarily say that.

Devindra: That’s not, absolutely not true because. Vision Pro is so different, you, you could argue Apple follows, but they follow with. innovation that typically like fixes a lot of the mistakes endemic to an industry. Yeah. Usually like a

Cherlynn: thoughtful implementation of something that’s been trendy and hyped up for a bit, which makes sense.

And this one

Devindra: seems like they’re following the trend. And this,

Cherlynn: it feels a little early. I can’t say, right? Like we haven’t seen what Apple is announcing. We haven’t seen what Apple exactly is. It’s exactly going to say or bring to Siri or iPhones or whatever. But yeah, it seems early for Apple to be jumping into this too.

Like you said, like it’s only two years of Gen AI has been that much of a hype term. For Apple, [00:07:00] this is they haven’t waited five years before jumping in. Wow. Like that’s,

Devindra: wow.

Cherlynn: Kind of what I think. Yeah,

Devindra: part of the problem is that there’s also been a lot of reporting, like Google has been working at this stuff for a long time.

Like I think the initial paper around the transformer model came out of Google’s own AI research work. Microsoft has been working with open AI for several years. Copilot launched for, what is their programming thing called? Their programming system. I keep forgetting the name of that. Copilot

Cherlynn: thing?

Oh, I know what you’re talking about. Yeah.

Devindra: Yeah. I’m sure somebody in chat will bring it up, but they, even Microsoft, like a company that is typically. Oh, a company that’s bad with timing. Seems like they were right on schedule for taking advantage of this stuff. Now I think we could still argue like Cherlynn, do you think Apple really needs to compete with generative AI?

Because I think at this point I’m like, I don’t, what do I do with these images? I really don’t want things to write for me. But I, maybe other people will find that more useful. Do you think this is actually a problem for Apple or just like a marketing thing?

Cherlynn: I don’t [00:08:00] think the lack of jumping into Gen AI hype is the problem for Apple.

I think the problem for Apple is that Siri is dumb.

Devindra: Oh, yes. Yes.

Cherlynn: And it definitely could benefit from some Gen AI base, like large language model learning type thing. Like that sort of thing, it’s more sophisticated. Assistant whether it be in what, Siri can do, which by the way, it’s a lot I got to say, I don’t have that many complaints about Siri.

I think that a lot of these voice based assistants are dumb in some way or another, like with my Google ones, they’re like so bad at responding to me from the correct device. And that might be because I have so many Google devices, but also like Siri is good at working with third party apps that you can morph, iOS has made it so much easier.

Devindra: Like as much as we talk crap about Amazon and the trouble within their whole Alexa division, like they haven’t been able to make money off of that, but that whole the Amazon assistant, I think is fun, is a little more useful because they did better about integrating with third parties before Apple and before Google did.

Hey, I [00:09:00] have one of those devices, like almost, those are so

Cherlynn: good. Yeah.

Devindra: They do more, they listen better and Siri, I could have my phone on my table and I could be like, Hey, blank, Hey, nothing, absolutely no response from an iPhone 15 Pro Max.

Cherlynn: I think what I am most impressed by is that like with the jump to iOS 17, that like the hot word for the assistant on iPhone is Siri.

It’s just a name now, and it’s actually a terrible idea. No, it’s actually worked really well for me. I can say the name in conversation and not have my phone respond. And yet when I’m directly commanding and saying just the name, it responds very quickly to what, look, we’re at times

Devindra: I have said words like seriously, and my phone would be like, Hey,

Cherlynn: can I help you?

What phone is it? Not to shame you, like I

Devindra: got, I got the biggest and the bestest, so there’s no shame here.


Devindra: And. The cam, the microphone should be good. Even while I’m like wearing AirPods or something, which have the microphones right there and should be better with the, with Siri. [00:10

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