Apple offers the Apple Intelligence AI platform for the iPhone, Mac

Apple (AAPL) announced its long-awaited AI generation initiative called Apple Intelligence during its WWDC conference in Cupertino, California, on Monday. The technology, Apple’s first step into next-generation AI, will be deeply integrated across the company’s hardware and software products from iPhone and Mac to Email, Messaging and Photos.

Apple is positioning Apple Intelligence as a unique offering that can understand you and your data, rather than a broad-based AI system like ChatGPT or Google’s AI Overview.

Apple Intelligence will be available for the iPhone 15 Pro and iPads and Macs running Apple’s M1 series chip and newer later this fall.

The biggest changes are coming to Apple’s Siri. The original intelligent voice assistant, Siri has been in desperate need of a fresh coat of paint for years, and Apple Intelligence will provide that. The company says the assistant will have a new look, feel more natural, and be more responsive.

Like other AI-powered generation assistants, you’ll be able to ask follow-up questions and interrupt yourself when making requests. You’ll now be able to speak to Siri via typed text if you don’t feel like making requests out loud. You will be able to ask Siri to use ChatGPT, rather than Apple’s own models to make requests.

Apple says its updated version of Siri is more aware of Apple products, allowing you to ask questions about how various features and settings work and get accurate answers. Screen awareness will allow Siri to understand and take action on things on your screen. So, if a friend puts an address in Messages, you can say, save this address, and Siri will save it for you.

Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks during a new product announcement at Apple's campus in Cupertino, California, Monday, June 10, 2024. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks during a new product announcement at Apple’s campus in Cupertino, California, Monday, June 10, 2024. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu) (RELATED PRESS)

Apple is specifically pushing Siri’s ability to understand your own data. For example, you’ll be able to ask questions like “Show me photos of Stacy in New York wearing a pink coat,” and the assistant will provide you with the exact photo you need from your Photos app. You can then tell Siri to transfer the photo to another app such as an email in Mail. Moreover, these applications will also work over third-party apps.

If you need to pick someone up at the airport, you can ask Siri when the person lands, and she’ll get the flight information the person previously shared with you in Mail and check real-time flight tracking data to determine when you should the road.

Beyond Siri, your devices can now prioritize your notifications to bring up the most important notes and minimize the less relevant ones. Writing tools can paraphrase, write or summarize information for you, available automatically throughout note-taking email and many third-party apps. You’ll be able to create AI generated images of people, places and animals throughout your apps in three different styles.

Apple says many of its AI generation models will run on a device, although some will need to access the cloud. But because Apple has traditionally pushed people to use cloud-based services when it comes to their private data, the company says it has developed a new cloud service called Private Cloud Compute servers.

The servers are specially created using Apple Silicon with built-in privacy capabilities. When you make a request, Apple Intelligence determines whether it can be completed using on-device processing or whether it needs to connect to the cloud. However, Apple says that it will not store any of your information used to complete the Apple Intelligence application in the cloud.

Wall Street has been anxiously waiting for Apple to start its generative capabilities since Microsoft (MSFT) announced its OpenAI-powered Bing chatbot, now called Copilot, in 2023. Google (GOOG, GOOGL) quickly followed Microsoft’s lead with its Bard chatbot, later renamed Gemini. Social media giant Meta (META) has incorporated AI into its platform offerings through behind-the-scenes recommendation software and its Meta AI chatbot.

But the companies are also struggling with their AI rollout. Google’s Bard was famous for an ad that showed the wrong answer to a clue and its image generator app Gemini showed historically inaccurate images of individuals from different periods. Recently, it pulled out its big AI Overview rollout, a major initiative meant to transform its vital search platform, after it generated results telling people it was safe to eat rocks and add glue to their pizza.

Meanwhile, Microsoft debuted its standard Copilot + PC for laptops and desktops ahead of its Build conference, as well as its new Recall app for Windows 11. The software is meant to take screenshots of almost everything you use you on your computer to help you pull up apps and information you’ve used before. But the app was blasted as a potential security nightmare, forcing Microsoft to update the software before releasing it to the public, making it an opt-out rather than on by default and improving its security.

Meta, for its part, has come under heavy criticism for not allowing consumers to turn off the Meta AI chatbot in the company’s apps.

Those hiccups haven’t exactly slowed the companies down, but Apple is a different beast all together. The iPhone maker has made a name for itself based on security and software that works, for the most part, out of the box. If its AI generation efforts suffer from the same flaws as Google and Microsoft, it could have a negative impact on the brand’s reputation.

Additionally, a flub by Apple could hurt the image of AI generation more broadly. After all, if three of the world’s largest technology companies can’t roll out a new type of software without major problems, then can users trust generational AI?

Apple still has time to work on its Apple Intelligence offering before it hits user devices sometime this September.

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