Apple is reportedly working on AI updates to Spotlight and Xcode

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A report from Bloomberg says Apple has expanded internal testing of new generative AI features for its Xcode programming software and plans to release them to third-party developers this year. Apple also reportedly looked at potential uses for generative AI in consumer-facing products, like automatic playlist creation in Apple Music, slideshows in Keynote, or AI chatbot-like search features for Spotlight search.

The search upgrade could let iOS and macOS users make natural language requests, like with ChatGPT, to get weather reports or operate features deep within apps.

Similar to Microsoft’s GitHub Copilot and Amazon’s CodeWhisperer, the programming tool Apple is working on applies a large language model to predict and complete strings of code and potentially write code to test apps.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella told analysts that GitHub Copilot had 1 million paying users as of November 2023. Since its launch, GitHub has added more capabilities to Copilot, including a chat feature that guides coders in real time and points out potential code breaks. Microsoft said it will have more news about Copilots and AI for developers at its Build 2024 event in May, and Apple may announce more about its AI plans during the annual WWDC event for developers later this year.

Apple CEO Tim Cook’s statements about generative AI have been conservative compared to his counterparts at Google and Microsoft, but he confirmed in an investor call this month that more generative AI features will be coming this year. Sources told Bloomberg that executives demonstrated many of the AI features for Xcode to Apple’s board late last year. 

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