Marco Arment on Apple and AI

A thoughtful piece by Marco Arment over the weekend:

Today, Amazon, Facebook, and Google are placing large bets on advanced AI, ubiquitous assistants, and voice interfaces, hoping that these will become the next thing that our devices are for.

If they’re right — and that’s a big “if” — I’m worried for Apple.

Today, Apple’s being led properly day-to-day and doing very well overall. But if the landscape shifts to prioritize those big-data AI services, Apple will find itself in a similar position as BlackBerry did almost a decade ago: what they’re able to do, despite being very good at it, won’t be enough anymore, and they won’t be able to catch up.

That sounds about right to me, but I’m not sure if I entirely accept the premise that the rise of AI assistants will decrease our desire for devices with screens.

iPhone and Android doomed BlackBerry because people stopped buying BlackBerries. If even we accept the premise that Google Assistant is going to be a big deal that Apple won’t be able to compete with, I’m not sure how that decreases demand for the devices Apple already makes.