Apple exists on its own timeline

The company is basically Gandalf: Never late, nor early, it arrives precisely when it means to.

AI has turned Nvidia into the stock market darling. It has catapulted Microsoft back to being the world’s most valuable company. It has made OpenAI a mainstay in the headlines.

Tim Cook wearing a suit giving a peace sign to the camera.

But what AI still hasn’t done yet is actually get used, regularly, by average consumers.

  • For all of ChatGPT’s hype, only 23% of Americans have ever used it.
  • Even among tech-obsessed youths, AI isn’t a daily part of life: only 4% of Americans ages 14-22 report using AI tools daily or almost daily.
  • It’s not just an American thing: only 2% of Brits report using AI daily.

Apple will change that

The company announced its new integrated AI system, Apple Intelligence, yesterday. Highlights include a supercharged Siri, generative AI connecting Apple’s core apps, and OK, sure, custom emojis seem fun enough.

Only time can tell if Apple Intelligence will be a game changer itself, or help Apple’s stock price, but bringing Macs and iPhones into the AI game will meaningfully move the world toward wider AI adoption.

  • Lest we forget, Apple is the smartphone leader, topping global market share with 234.6m iPhones shipped last year.
  • Overall, it boasts 2B+ global active devices.

There have been some notable exceptions — a certain spatial computing product pops to mind — but in the early 21st century, it’s a good bet that when Apple makes its move on a technology, it’ll go mass market.

So, does it matter how “late” Apple was?

In the short run, yes. It was a bruising last few months and Apple fairly came into the week under tremendous pressure: perceived as behind on AI, with stagnating value (at least compared to other Big Tech firms) and impatient investors.

But in the long run, probably not — profiting off the early AI boom matters less when you’re already worth multiple trillions of dollars.

Now the most important box has been checked: When AI mass adoption arrives, it’ll be happening on Apple devices.

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