Apple Gets AI Right

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This past period witnessed galore tech stocks emergence aliases autumn connected nan ground of their moves successful nan artificial intelligence (“AI”) space. It each started erstwhile ChatGPT became nan fastest increasing app successful history, which was followed soon by a awesome rally successful Microsoft (MSFT) shares connected news that it bought a $10 cardinal liking successful OpenAI. Later, NVIDIA (NVDA) rallied aft it hit net and raised its guidance acknowledgment to AI chips.

Conspicuously absent successful each of this AI talk was Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL). The world’s largest institution by marketplace cap, it’s among nan smaller tech companies arsenic measured by nationalist statements astir AI. In its astir caller net call, Apple only mentioned AI two times, compared to 74 for NVIDIA, 62 for Alphabet (GOOG) and 37 times for Meta (META).

Compared to NVIDIA’s monolithic AI-fuelled rally, Apple’s banal capacity has been subdued lately. Over nan past month, nan banal is up only 2.3%, compared to 13% for NVDA. Obviously, Apple is not perceived to beryllium an “AI winner” banal (assuming my mentation astir what’s driving NVIDIA’s gains is correct).

However, Apple mightiness really beryllium making nan correct moves successful nan agelong run. By taking things slow pinch AI, it is allowing different companies to show wherever nan risks and opportunities lie, enabling Apple to move successful later connected erstwhile nan correct attack is clearer. Apple is good known for taking its clip to participate caller markets. When nan original iPod launched, MP3 players were already an established merchandise category; Apple waited to spot what everybody other was doing earlier jumping in. The extremity consequence was nan motorboat of what would go nan world’s astir celebrated euphony subordinate for galore years. We’re seeing a akin strategy today. Apple precocious put nan brakes connected BlueMail, an email app that uses GPT to constitute emails. The app was allowed to move guardant only connected nan information that it was constricted to users 17 years of property aliases older.

The BlueMail move was smart because it showed that Apple is alert of 1 of nan issues pinch AI: liability. AI applications sometimes create contented that is objectionable. For example, Bing’s chatbot has been known to insult users. The ineligible implications of this contented remains a grey area, but erstwhile uncertainty for illustration this abounds, it pays to wait. For this reason, I judge that Apple really has 1 of nan champion approaches to AI among each nan awesome tech companies, 1 based connected prudence and care, alternatively than speedy and perchance reckless deployment. AAPL taking things slow pinch AI does not mean that nan institution will ne'er person immoderate AI products; to nan contrary, it already has several, and its cautious attack to chatbots could easy prevention nan institution money going forward.

Apple’s Many AI Investments

Before going immoderate further, I request to debunk 1 celebrated misconception astir Apple and AI: nan declare that Apple isn’t doing thing successful nan AI space. Nothing could beryllium further from nan truth. Apple has galore products that usage AI, including:

  • Face ID - a wildly celebrated facial nickname information characteristic utilized chiefly successful nan iPhone.

  • Notes - a statement taking app that incorporates handwriting recognition.

  • The app shop - uses AI for providing recommendations based connected nan user’s download history.

As you tin see, location is nary shortage of AI finance astatine Apple. To nan contrary, AI is being actively incorporated into galore of nan company’s products. What Apple is taking slow is simply 1 AI usage case, which is “large connection models,” nan exertion down ChatBots for illustration ChatGPT. There are galore bully reasons for Apple to debar rushing into this space. For 1 thing, matter applications person ne'er been Apple’s Forte, Pages has barely immoderate marketplace share and Apple has ne'er had its ain in-house hunt engine. Second, Chatbots are risky. It’s good for OpenAI to merchandise a ChatBot to nan nationalist because it’s a comparatively mini tech institution that doesn’t do overmuch different than waste AI models. But if you return a large institution and commencement shoving chatbots into its products, risks statesman to emerge. Inaccurate information, bullying of users and even threats person been cited arsenic immoderate problems pinch Microsoft’s Bing Chatbot. Lawyers proceed to statement what nan implications of inaccurate replies and maltreatment successful ChatBots will be–some opportunity that large tech is covered by Section 230, others reason that it doesn't use to contented nan institution itself created. As an investor, what you request to cognize is that location are ineligible risks coming successful this title to unreserved retired AI ChatBots, and Apple is wise to play it safe here.

Apple Could Save a Lot of Money

There is 1 very evident and existent measurement successful which Apple’s conservatism pinch ChatBots could salary off:

It could create costs efficiencies.

LLMs are known for being very costly to run. Morgan Stanley erstwhile estimated that if Google implemented a ChatGPT for illustration Chatbot, it could origin a $6 cardinal hit to operating income (“EBIT”). The problem is that Chatbots are very assets intensive and usage up a batch of computing power. If you tin debar having a Chatbot exertion successful your merchandise statement and stay popular, past you prevention money by not having one. So, Apple could perchance prevention a batch of money comparative to companies for illustration Microsoft, and bask higher margins.


Having looked astatine wherever Apple stands pinch respect to AI, it’s clip to research nan stock’s valuation. We’ve seen already that Apple is really making a bully move by taking things slow pinch AI, alternatively than a bad one. Still, that connected its ain does not make its banal a buy. If a institution saved $50 cardinal by avoiding unwise AI investments and was overvalued by $100 billion, it would still not beryllium a buy. Nothing deserves an infinite price. So, let’s return a look astatine Apple’s valuation compared to its competitors.

Going by multiples, Apple is beautiful mediate of nan battalion for FAANG stocks. Below, I’ve reproduced immoderate multiples for Meta, Google, Apple, Microsoft and NVIDIA, courtesy of Seeking Alpha Quant.






P/E (adjusted)


















Price/operating rate flow






As you tin see, Apple is correct successful nan mediate of nan battalion for each of nan net and rate travel based valuation ratios. It does person nan highest price/book ratio, but that metric is chiefly utilized for identifying cases of truly utmost undervaluation–none of nan stocks successful this adjacent group are anyplace adjacent that category, truthful we could opportunity that that ratio isn’t applicable to this adjacent group based valuation.

Compared to its peers, Apple looks to beryllium “modestly” valued. That is, assuming that each of nan companies progressive person comparable maturation and profits successful nan future. AI mightiness alteration that. If Microsoft and Google spell caput to caput successful an AI chatbot war, past Apple whitethorn bask amended margins than either institution by broadside stepping nan AI arms race. If so, it whitethorn bid a premium.

The Bottom Line

The bottommost statement astir Apple is that it is doing nan correct point pinch AI: playing it safe. If you watched Microsoft and NVIDIA’s large AI-fuelled rallies, you mightiness deliberation that this sounds for illustration a questionable point, but it’s not. For 1 thing, MSFT gave up overmuch of its AI gains aft nan Bing controversies became publicized. For different thing, nan ineligible aspects of AI, including laws surrounding copyright and personification abuse, stay to beryllium seen. If AI contented isn’t covered nether Section 230, past companies could beryllium held liable for abusive content. As a non-lawyer, I can’t remark connected what’s apt to hap here, but I tin opportunity that location are ineligible experts connected some sides of nan debate.

So, Apple’s “safety first” attack whitethorn triumph retired successful nan end. We’ve seen companies’ reputations emergence and autumn successful nan blink of an oculus based connected AI hype and fear. It’s not precisely clear what agelong word effect each of this will person connected firm earnings. We cognize for a truth that inserting AI into hunt increases server costs. We besides cognize that AI-driven banal marketplace rallies don’t ever last. The agelong tally effect of each of this AI hype is unknown. What is known is that Apple’s “late entry” strategy paid disconnected successful nan past. Perhaps it will salary disconnected successful nan era of AI arsenic well.

For my part, I’m comfortable holding Apple stock. It’s profitable, it has a beardown brand, it tends to turn successful astir quarters, and it has a smart guidance team. Obviously, astatine its existent size, AAPL isn’t nan benignant of banal that’s going to make anyone rich | overnight. But it could beryllium a bully shop of worth and conveyance for semipermanent savings.

This article was written by

Growth astatine a Good Price floor plan picture

Financial journalist. Passed CFA Level 1. "Growth astatine a reasonable price" investor. Tech and dividend growth. Like classical worth plays arsenic good arsenic GARP-y tech stocks. Follow maine connected Twitter:

Disclosure: I/we person a beneficial agelong position successful nan shares of AAPL, GOOG, META either done banal ownership, options, aliases different derivatives. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my ain opinions. I americium not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I person nary business narration pinch immoderate institution whose banal is mentioned successful this article.

Editor: Naga

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