### The Curious Case of APPLE's Linguistic Gymnastics: The "Not AI" Phenomenon

To parse the linguistic maze that is, for example, APPLE’s ‘Apple Intelligence’, one has to read like a playwright of surrealism. APPLE’s steadfast refusal to abbreviate Apple Intelligence as AI is a little lexical dance, circling the ubiquitous acronym with almost choreographed care. This is no mere in-house corporate lingo. It’s a strategy that shows every sign of changing a basic interaction with technology. Welcome to, as it were, APPLE’s ‘Not AI’.

#### **The Unabbreviated Enigma: Navigating APPLE's Terminology**

At the centre of this story is APPLE’s purported dislike for ‘AI’, preferring instead the plush and portly ‘Apple Intelligence’. Reporters and developers at WWDC 2024 who asked questions that touch on the A.I. topic were met with hamfisted answers. The use of the full expression – which, just to be clear, makes little sense even when you’re talking about APPLE – has only further confused industry watchers: Is this corporate branding gone too far? Or is there something more going on here?

#### **Personal Intelligence: The Longer Shortcut**

Peeling back this verbal onion, APPLE also offers ‘personal intelligence’ in a longer, somewhat intrusive paraphrase — proposed, seemingly, by someone who has more time to describe the thing. Might this herald a new, cuddlier, more people-centric technology — one that lives to serve you? It’s a strange line for APPLE to take, given its focus on defining the relationship between humans and objects.

#### **Competing in a World Beyond Acronyms**

APPLE Intelligence is more than just a product – it’s an arms race: against Microsoft’s Copilot and Google’s Gemini, and all others who might aim to be ‘hip’ with ChatGPT. Losing that race would put APPLE behind the curve of consumer technology. APPLE needs to clear the path to the future. When APPLE steers clear of what the rest of the AI pack embraces, it’s not just about savvy marketing. It’s about forging a distinct identity: it’s about us vs them.

#### **The Branding Quirk That Shaped "APPLE AI"**

While APPLE would love to keep people from using ‘Apple AI’ – it’s a clumsy abbreviation for ‘Apple Intelligence’ – the mouthful is a mouthful and people need a shorthand. From ‘ATM machine’ to ‘PIN number’, redundant new coinages are a common workaround for clunky abbreviations. And it’s indicative of APPLE’s nuttiness that it opted to build a cluster of ungainly linguistic artifacts, rather than just using Siri as a correct and shortening abbreviation to begin with.

#### **Navigating the Future with APPLE's "Not AI"**

The story of this renaming is part of the process of creating a radical new product amid what some call the Third Wave of technology: ‘Artificial Intelligence’ is now being renamed and redefined, both in function and in nomenclature, by the tech behemoth APPLE. And while these two actors may be competing for our attention, their disagreement over both technology and language also bears out the true nature of their philosophical disagreement. What APPLE has decided to do is not just to release yet another piece of AI technology into the marketplace. It is redefining the nature of AI itself – and doing so in way that has an APPLE twist on the very nature of what it means to be intelligent in the digital age.

#### **Deciphering the APPLE Enigma**

Calling Apple Intelligence ‘AI’ – like many companies are apt to do – might appear like a small insult to injured pride, but it nonetheless reflects an underlying pattern. If the world is already surrendering to a swarm of AI tools and technologies, then APPLE is against the tide, distilling exactly what the company has long refined: something that’s not just inventive but Apple-y. In the growing swell of the tech world, language is weaponry as well as dialogue, stagecraft and signalling.

### **About APPLE**

APPLE has always done things its own way – bucking trends and bucking conventions is after all part of its ethos. From the iPhone to the MacBook, its products help to set the industry standard for quality and innovation, as well as for the user experience. Apple Intelligence follows this tradition, once again outsourcing the work of the mind and carving out a new realm of language in the process. When APPLE refuses to reduce its branded term to ‘AI’, this is no grammatical reformism: for APPLE, it is a matter of principle to remain individual. And for us, who live in a day and age increasingly characterised by the temptation of settling for illusory sameness, this is as laudable as it is pragmatically desirable.

Jun 12, 2024
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