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Home > Smart Living> Innovation > We can’t help but be excited by generative AI: Apple's Greg Joswiak

We can’t help but be excited by generative AI: Apple's Greg Joswiak

Apple veteran Greg Joswiak discusses the company's presence in India, the Vision Pro, and why it's still too early to judge generative AI

Greg Joswiak is senior vice-president of worldwide marketing at Apple. Since joining Apple in 1986, he has played a key role in developing and launching iconic products like the original iPod and the iPhone.
Greg Joswiak is senior vice-president of worldwide marketing at Apple. Since joining Apple in 1986, he has played a key role in developing and launching iconic products like the original iPod and the iPhone. (Apple)

I don’t remember seeing a thing quite like that,” remarks Greg Joswiak on digital artist Dhruv Jani’s labyrinthian game. Jani and other digital artists who brought their creations to life with iPads and MacBooks at the recently concluded India Art Fair 2024, are meeting Joswiak, senior vice-president of worldwide marketing at Apple, at the tech company’s Mumbai office.

“One of the things we see constantly indicative of this generation is (that) they are always trying to make the world better,” says Joswiak, who was in India last month. “Each of them had a purpose that was bigger in scope than just making something that was entertaining or beautiful... I feel this incredible sense of optimism for everything going on around me because I think that we align so well with this generation.” 

Also read: Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max vs Google Pixel 8 Pro: The camera phone face-off

Joswiak, also known as “Joz”, is an Apple veteran. Since joining Apple in 1986, he has played a key role in developing and launching iconic products like the original iPod and the iPhone before taking on the mantle of arguably the world’s best marketing machine.

The company has, of course, now moved beyond those two products. The Apple Vision Pro, a much-hyped mixed reality headset, is in the spotlight globally after its recent launch in February. The other facet of technology where everyone expects an ‘Apple’ moment is artificial intelligence (AI). “It still relatively early days,” Joswiak says, on generative AI.

Despite the new products they work on, the company still lavishes attention on the Mac lineup—a new MacBook Air powered by the latest M3 chip just dropped this week. The Mac harks back to the days of desktop publishing but creatives have long had a strong affinity for it, a platform that is a relatively smaller piece of the pie both for Apple and in pure market share. Joswiak says, “The Mac is part of our DNA, of who we are and, for a great number of us, it’s the reason we had originally come to the company.”

He explains that the Mac “works across so many different customer segments…students, small businesses and enterprises. Obviously, it’s benefited from the fact that the iPhone is so popular and prolific in the world, and that has opened up a lot of doors for all Apple technology.”

Speaking of the iPhone, Joswiak says Apple has always looked at professional video cameras as competition for iPhone video. “The appeal (to filmmakers) is that with big cameras, they become very conspicuous—it changes the scene because they got a big camera rig moving through when instead, they can be moving through with a phone,” says Joswiak. “The iPhone becomes this device that allows them to be more intimate with the scene. And it translates back to all of us as users.”

The talk of the town for the last year has been generative AI. Technology brands such as Google (Gemini), Samsung (Galaxy AI) and Microsoft (CoPilot and its collaboration with OpenAI) are upping the ante with their gen-AI features. But, Joswiak says AI and machine learning have been at the core of Apple products since the introduction of the neural engine. “Everyone is talking about AI PCs, but every Mac that’s powered by Apple Silicon is an AI PC. We can’t help but be excited by generative AI and what’s been going on with large language models (LLM)…and because of the neural engine, a lot of people are running their models with lots of parameters on the Mac.” He adds that it is “still relatively early days” for generative AI, with a number of issues to be addressed— everything from hallucination to bias to copyright issues.

Pivoting to Apple’s presence in India, which has grown from a blip to a regular mention on every quarterly earnings call, Joswiak, who was last in the country in 2017, offers several reasons for the change. “Part of me coming here in 2017 was to understand how we can best serve India. Not just in the product, but everything around the product,” he says. To this end, Apple has invested in local manufacturing alongside the big retail push in 2023 with new stores opening in Delhi and Mumbai. “We are seeing tremendous growth right now,” he adds.

FILE PHOTO: A customer uses Apple's Vision Pro headset at the Apple Fifth Avenue store in Manhattan in New York City, U.S., February 2, 2024.
FILE PHOTO: A customer uses Apple's Vision Pro headset at the Apple Fifth Avenue store in Manhattan in New York City, U.S., February 2, 2024. (Reuters)

New products and plans

The Apple Vision Pro, a competitor to the Meta Quest and HTC Vive, has divided opinion among users. While many have loved the futuristic VR headset, others have wondered if it is everything it is made out to be. How could Apple’s take on spatial computing potentially impact its other categories? Joswiak likens it to other categories Apple has entered over in the past. “For example, people wondered, will the iPad replace the Mac? The reality is no, it was additive—such a large percentage of Mac customers have iPads, and a percentage of iPad customers have Macs. They are different tools that do different things,” he says. Joswiak notes that the Vision Pro allows you “to work in this three-dimensional environment, to have this infinite canvas, which I’m not sure people fully understand the power of it” since every device before it has been measured by screen size. The Vision Pro has no such limit, he says. “You can put all your content, make it work with existing products ... Everything just works together…and we envisioned that, no pun intended, for Vision Pro from the beginning.”

He said Apple will announce its plans to go beyond US markets later this year. The early signs, however, are encouraging. “I was amazed,” says Joswiak. “I was in New York at our Fifth Avenue store for launch, and there were people who had flown in from all over the world, including India, to come get the product on day one, which was incredibly exciting.”

Tushar Kanwar, a tech columnist and commentator, posts @2shar.

Also read: Apple WWDC highlights: what is the new Vision Pro headset?

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