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Apple lays off 600 employees as car, smart screen projects are halted

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In Short:

Apple has laid off 600 employees from its self-driving car and smartwatch screen projects, which were scrapped earlier this year. The layoffs were reported to comply with California’s WARN program. Apple has not been known for layoffs unlike other tech giants. The company is investing significantly in generative AI, with plans to announce AI offerings at WWDC. Apple also published a research paper on its large language model ReALM LLML.


Apple lays off 600 employees in self-driving car and smartwatch screen projects

Tech giant Apple has reportedly laid off 600 employees across its self-driving car and smartwatch screen projects, as reported by news agency Bloomberg. Both projects were scrapped earlier this year.

Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification

Apple filed eight separate reports to the state of California to comply with the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) program. According to the report, at least 87 people worked at an address corresponding to a secret Apple facility for its next-generation screen development, while others were located at buildings related to the car project.

371 employees were released at Apple’s main car-related office in Santa Clara, California, with dozens more at multiple satellite offices also affected. Some members of the Apple car group were relocated to other teams, such as artificial intelligence or personal robotics.

Layoff Trends

Layoffs at Apple have been uncommon compared to other Big Tech companies like Alphabet, Amazon, and Microsoft. In 2022, Apple laid off about 100 contract-based recruiters as part of a wider push to streamline hiring and spending due to market conditions.

AI projects

Apple plans to disclose more about its plans to utilize generative artificial intelligence later this year. CEO Tim Cook mentioned the breakthrough potential of generative AI and emphasized significant investments in this area to unlock transformative opportunities for users.

Apple’s upcoming developer conference WWDC on June 10 is expected to showcase AI integration into iOS, iPadOS, macOS, and other platforms. Reports suggest Apple is in talks with Google and OpenAI to power its iPhone AI features.

ReALM LLM

Last week, Apple published a research paper discussing its large language model (LLM), ReALM, which outperforms OpenAI’s GPT-4. Apple highlighted the underutilized potential of LLMs in reference resolution tasks and their effectiveness in resolving contextual entities.

The paper demonstrated how LLMs can effectively resolve references of various types, converting reference resolution into a language modeling problem. While humans can easily understand contextual references, AI chatbots face challenges in determining context and comprehension.

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