With Nvidia's share price up 144% since January 1, investors would like to have an alternative case to play the AI boom. Over the past few months, they've shunned Apple, whose stock has suffered from comparisons with Microsoft, Google and Meta. And with good reason: Apple never punctuated any of its press releases with the magic initials "AI". The group had undoubtedly fallen behind in this area, not least because it was busy losing money elsewhere (Apple Car) and trying to sort out a reorientation of its supply chain away from China.

In recent weeks, things have been going a little better for the stock (see chart below): it has just returned to positive territory in 2024. Small cynics point out that the Group has probably deployed its substantial share buyback program to force fate a little. But it's going to take some convincing at WWDC.


Over the last two months, Apple has been the second best-performing of the Magnificent Seven. The market is playing off the Cook empire's counter-attack.

See you on June 10

The situation is summed up excellently by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg's expert on the subject: "To give an idea of what Cook is up against, let's compare it to a basketball game. Apple has practiced longer than its rivals and has home-court advantage. After all, the company launched the Siri digital assistant back in 2011, years before anyone else got into the game. Yet the game has begun and Apple is already 20 points behind."

To avoid falling too far behind, Apple's management was forced to call in outside help, which is not really part of the company's culture. An agreement has been reached with OpenAI to inject AI into Apple's next hardware update, iOS 18. This contract will enable the integration of generative AI functions, an area in which the group is notoriously lagging behind. Apple will have to strike a balance between innovation, the use of third-party solutions and internal privacy and security policies. Almost squaring the circle.

It's against this backdrop that WWDC24 kicks off on Monday June 10. The opening Keynote will take place at 10:00 a.m. California time. Apple will present the latest updates planned for its operating systems and platforms. The presentation will be broadcast live on several channels, including Apple's official website and YouTube channel. At 1:00 pm, PSU promises to provide a more detailed technical overview of the new features announced.

Announce, announce, there will always be something left over

Not only does Apple have to coat its entire presentation with AI, it also has to convince people that innovation is on the march. The group can't just let people think it's jumping on the bandwagon: it must also try to persuade them that it's going to take its place with the drivers. It's going to be a tricky business.

In this context, the announcement of a more advanced version of Siri, thanks to the strengthening of AI, is almost obligatory. Bank of America is a great believer in the capabilities of "IntelliPhones", which will enable in-depth integration of applications. Eventually, Siri could become accessible outside Apple applications. "Siri could provide an interface to several domains, each representing a specific type of activity that Siri can handle. We see messaging, payments, carpooling, workouts, photos, car orders, restaurant reservations, music, shortcuts, etc. as potential domains that will likely undergo deeper integration with Siri," BofA says.

Within four years, half of all smartphones are expected to feature native generative AI functions. Apple must ensure that this upheaval does not destroy the industry. Nokia's huge loss is, of course, on everyone's mind.

Those in the know think that the group could insist on the outstanding capabilities of its equipment, particularly with the new chips produced in-house. By promising that its iPhones or iPads will be able to exploit AI more effectively, Apple will gain a little time to get back into the race. But it will quickly take more to win over users and the market.

"Any misstep by Apple at this stage could see it lose its place as technology leader, facing two AI giants that already have products (available) and have unveiled a release schedule that stretches over the next two years," reckons analyst Gadjo Sevilla (Emarketer). In a sign of the times, Apple briefly lost its status as the world's second best-valued stock to Nvidia this week. The two companies are now neck and neck in terms of capitalization.

To answer the question posed by the stock, there's probably an opportunity before WWDC, to bank on Apple's ability to adapt, and because you can't bury a company with its financial clout, installed base and capacity for innovation too quickly. But for the first time in years, this major event won't be about self-congratulation, piling up colorful smartphones, flawless designs and release schedules. No, this time we're going to need something more substantial.