A file with an .ai extension is an Adobe Illustrator Artwork file that contains vector graphics on a single page. It uses points to create paths for displaying the image data, thus making it safe from losing image quality if it is enlarged. AI format finds its major usage for logos and print media. AI files can be opened with Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Acrobat DC, PaintShop Pro, and CorelDraw Graphics tools.
Portable Document Format (PDF) is a type of document created by Adobe back in 1990s. The purpose of this file format was to introduce a standard for representation of documents and other reference material in a format that is independent of application software, hardware as well as Operating System. PDF files can be opened in Adobe Acrobat Reader/Writer as well in most modern browsers like Chrome, Safari, Firefox via extensions/plug-ins.
You can also convert AI into many other file formats. Please see the complete list below.