Is Apple working on an 'iPod moment' for AI?

Plus super-realistic AI speech and how to use ChatGPT to summarise educational videos

Hello, and welcome to Issue 10 of The AI Writer, your weekly update on workplace AI.

This week, we report on rumours that Apple is working on its own, compressed AI app that could put a private, personal AI chatbot in your pocket.

We also reveal a stunningly human-like AI text-to-speech generator. That’s our view, anyway. Scroll down to listen and make up your own mind.

And we show you another, not-so-obvious use for ChatGPT: summarising professional educational videos from YouTube. You’ll find a step-by-step guide below.

This issue will take you 5 minutes 7 seconds to read in full. Too long? Read the summaries in italics in just 18 seconds instead.

Let’s dive in.

– Rob Ashton

In this issue

  • Is Apple working on an iPod moment for AI?

  • Is this the best AI voice yet?

  • How to use ChatGPT to create YouTube summaries.

  • Why we’ve created The AI Writer


Is AI about to get its ‘iPod moment’?

Steve Jobs holding early iPod and smiling

Steve Jobs promised to put 1,000 songs in your pocket (Alamy)

Industry insiders say Apple has been on a worldwide hunt for top AI developer talent for months. It’s said to be working on a personal, private AI chatbot for iPhones.

Apple’s Steve Jobs famously promised to put ‘a thousand songs in your pocket’ when he launched the iPod. Now it looks like the company he founded is going all in on doing the same for AI.

According to recent reports, Apple is putting major resources into compressing the computing power of vast chatbot data warehouses, so it can put it in iPhones.

If it’s successful, it would mark a major shift not just in generative AI technology but in how – and how much – we use it.

Privacy concerns

ChatGPT is already available as an iPhone and an Android app, but both still rely on uploading queries to the cloud, where the large language model (LLM) behind it is hosted.

But there are three problems with this.

First, there’s the security and privacy issue. We still don’t know what OpenAI – the company behind ChatGPT – does with our data.

And although users can now opt out of allowing it to train its language models on what they type into it, OpenAI’s human checkers can still legally view that information in the 30 days before it’s automatically deleted.

That’s why many companies have banned employees from using the chatbot, although many still use it anyway. Around 1 in 20 employees have been detected feeding confidential data into ChatGPT.

$700,000 a day

But the sheer cost of running AI servers is also a major factor that’s stopping it being incorporated into technology such as medical apps and text-to-voice screen readers.

Generative AI technology like ChatGPT relies on the combined computing power of tens of thousands of servers, just as its desktop version does. Keeping that many computers running doesn’t come cheap.

Every query you type into ChatGPT costs OpenAI around $700,000 a day, according to some estimates.

Then there’s speed – or rather, the lack of it. AI-powered bots are pretty fast, but they’re still too slow to respond in real time, as queries still need to travel from your phone to the cloud and back again.

Hiring spree

Now it looks like Apple is looking to change that. In May alone, it advertised no fewer than 88 AI-related vacancies, despite supposedly freezing recruitment earlier this year.

And now, according to a Financial Times report, there’s every sign it’s doubling down on its global hiring spree for tech talent. Ads have been spotted for vacancies not just in its Silicon Valley headquarters but in its Paris, Beijing and Seattle labs.

The new vacancies are for developers to compress existing large language models, as well as to work on its own LLM, dubbed Apple GPT.

It’s no surprise that the company would want its own bot. Apple has built its entire brand on doing things its way.

But, by recruiting compression experts, it’s giving away a pretty big clue about what it’s really up to: putting powerful AI technology in our phones.

Breaking silence

According to the FT report, the company wouldn’t comment on its hiring plans. But Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, told Reuters last week that the $22.61 billion dollars it’s spent on research and development this year – $3.1 billion more than last year – reflects its heavy investment in AI.

This marks a big shift for the tech giant. Major competitors like Microsoft and Google have been rushing to put AI in everything, everywhere, all at once. But the world’s biggest company has been strangely silent about its AI ambitions.

In June, Cook and his colleagues gave a keynote presentation at Apple’s annual Worldwide Developer Conference that lasted more than two hours. They didn’t mention AI once.

Game changer

It was at the equivalent conference way back in 2001 that Cook’s predecessor, Steve Jobs, had originally unveiled the iPod.

And, although we take such technology for granted now, it’s easy to forget how revolutionary it was back then. After all, it was the miniaturisation of computing power in the iPod that ultimately led to the smartphone revolution.

As I write this, Apple’s share price is still taking a hammering, thanks to flagging iPhone sales.

Some pundits claim an Apple GPT launch is way off. But the business news service Bloomberg recently reported that it could come as early as this year.

Apple appears to be banking on another iPod moment – one that puts a personal, ChatGPT-like bot in everyone’s pocket.

Now that really would be a game changer.

Let’s just hope it’s a bit better than Siri.


Finding the best AI voice

Can you tell which of these voices is AI-generated?

I’ll keep my personal case study brief this week, as I’m knee-deep in an AI research project.

I’m working on a way to use AI voice generators for mass communication. And a key part of the research is a quest to find the best text-to-speech AI.

I’ll report more soon. But what I can say now is that I think I’ve found a winner.

I confess, I’m so excited by how far one tech firm has taken things that I’ve been playing examples to anyone who will listen. I’ve yet to meet anyone who wasn’t stunned and unsettled in equal measure.

So I’ve created a sample so you can listen and judge for yourself.

There are two voices in this short clip. Can you tell which is AI-generated?

Button: click to listen to voice samples. (Opens links to Soundcloud)

Poll: Which do you think is the AI voice?

Login or Subscribe to participate in polls.


101 uses for ChatGPT: #3

Save time and build your professional skills by using ChatGPT to summarise any educational YouTube video. Just follow this simple method.

Nine out of ten people have yet to try using ChatGPT to help with their work. Often, that’s because they don’t realise what it could do for them.

So in this series, we talk you through workplace applications that you might not have considered.

Use 3: Summarising YouTube videos

YouTube is a great source of professional education. It can help you with everything from increasing productivity to making better spreadsheets. (It’s not all Mr Beast videos.)

In fact, probably the biggest problem you’ll face is not finding information but finding time to watch it when you do find it.

But did you know that ChatGPT can create summaries for you? Here’s how.

What to do: 

  1. Open ChatGPT, start a new chat and paste in this prompt:

I would like you to summarise a YouTube video for me. 

Please use bullets and sub-bullets, and add an introduction and conclusion.

I will give you the video's transcript in my next prompt. Do you understand?
  1. Now open YouTube and click the three dots in the bottom right of the video you’d like to summarise, then select ‘Show transcript’:

Screenshot of The Josh Gerben Show on YouTube
  1. Then drag your cursor over the text to highlight it, and copy the text to your pasteboard by pressing CTRL + C (PC) or Command + C (Mac).

Screen shot of The Josh German Show on YouTube, showing script to right
  1. Finally, go back to ChatGPT, paste the transcript into the ‘Send a message’ box (CTRL + V or Command + V), and click the arrow.

ChatGPT screen shot, showing response: 'Of course I understand. Please provide me with the transcript.

Et voilá! You’re welcome. : )

ChatGPT screenshot, showing section of final result. The introduction, first heading and two bullets are visible.

Tip: If you get an error message that the script is too long, break it up into shorter chunks. This website will even do that for you automatically.

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Why The AI Writer?

When I founded Emphasis, 25 years ago, it was just me, a cat and a kettle. It’s since grown to become the most trusted provider of business writing training in the world and helped more than 80,000 people, from 32 countries. We’ve worked with tech giants, top 10 law firms and major financial institutions, as well as at the highest levels of government. (We’ve even sent trainers to work with clients in the Himalayas.)

I would not claim that we’re experts in everything, as we’re certainly not. But, after working with the authors of around 100,000 documents, it’s safe to say that business writing is something we do know a thing or two about. And that includes witnessing all the various ways in which organisations get it wrong.

Now, we’re at the forefront of using AI to help them get it right.

Of course, I’ve seen nothing like the AI revolution that’s hitting us. Nobody has. But I do feel a responsibility to use our experience to help people navigate this brave new world of communication bots.

So here’s the deal. You get on with your job, while we immerse ourselves in the latest developments in workplace AI. We’ll worry about keeping up so you don’t have to. Then we’ll tell you exactly what you need to know to stay ahead of the curve.

That’s it for this issue

Feel free to hit reply and let me know what you think. Your message will go straight to my inbox.

You can catch up on all previous issues here.

Until next time, have a great week.

– Rob

PS. I also regularly post new content on LinkedIn. Feel free connect there, too.