Apple has been watching from the sidelines as its competitors bolted artificial intelligence (AI) features into their products. It took them a couple of years to refine and polish, but generative AI is finally coming to the iPhone.

Unveiled at the Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC 2024), Apple Intelligence is Cupertino’s way of rolling generative AI into their products. 

What is Apple Intelligence

Apple describes Apple Intelligence as a “personal intelligence system” for the iPhone, iPad and Mac. 

Apple asserts that Apple Intelligence isn’t a riff-off of AI. Instead of using it as a one-horse pony, Apple Intelligence takes a more holistic approach to integrating AI into its devices.

It uses generative AI features for everything from writing and editing text to image creation and organization. In fact, Apple Intelligence also adds more smarts to the Siri personal assistant.

Why is Apple Intelligence important?

Described as a more robust platform compared to generative AI platforms like ChatGPT, Apple Intelligence brings generative AI functionality to virtually everything you do with Apple’s devices.

Apple has tied up with OpenAI to roll in ChatGPT, powered by GPT-4o, in its upcoming operating systems, namely iOS 18, iPadOS 18, and macOS Sequoia.

It’ll be rolled out as a chatbot that Siri can rope in when it can’t do something you ask. And it won’t do this before first asking for your permission.

Thanks to the partnership, you’ll be able to use ChatGPT without creating or logging into a ChatGPT account. Furthermore, Apple promises that it won’t let OpenAI save or share your personal information with others. 

Apple argues that it’s using ChatGPT because it’s the best chatbot at the moment. But it isn’t averse to using other chatbots down the road.

How will Apple Intelligence change the way you use your phone

For starters, it’ll help enhance your writing. Irrespective of the app you use, Apple Intelligence can proofread your writing, and will offer suggestions to improve the text.

For instance, you can use it to change the tone of whatever it is that you’ve written. It can also summarize any piece of text, including emails, and even audio recordings! 

Read: Apple shares rise 7.26 percent to record high following AI features release

Apple Intelligence will also keep an eye on your incoming email and notifications. Like a true digital assistant, it’ll then try to prioritize what is important to you. 

Photos gets AI as well with a magic-eraser type tool that can remove unwanted objects in photos. There’s also a generative emoji creator that will create emojis based on your descriptions. 

One of the most useful functions is the use of Apple Intelligence to search for photos and videos. You can now search by describing the scene, such as “Yasir with cake on his face”. Similarly, you can also jump to a specific scene in a video.

You can also describe a story, and Apple Intelligence will stitch together all photos and videos that match the description. It’ll also add a background score to the video presentation. 

How will Apple Intelligence affect Siri

Siri is getting a major overhaul, complete with a new logo. When you now activate Siri, the home screen will ripple, and a colorful light will wrap around the phone’s edges.  

Apple says having conversations with its AI assistant will now be more natural thanks to richer language-understanding capabilities.

It’ll also be able to maintain context between requests. You can now even type queries to Siri, and switch between text and voice. 

One of its biggest features is its ability to take actions between apps. This can be an Apple app or a third-party one.

You can, for instance, ask it to find photos as we described earlier, or find a particular email. It can now even do actions like “Send the photos from last week’s trip to Abdul”.

What impact will Apple Intelligence have on my privacy?

To do what it’ll do, Apple Intelligence will have never-before access to virtually all of your data on the device.

This is why Apple goes out of its way to highlight its approach to privacy in Apple Intelligence. A majority of its features are handled by an AI model that runs on the device itself.

When it needs to ferry the request to its Cloud-based model, it does so through Power Cloud Compute (PCC) that protects your data and privacy.

When will Apple Intelligence be available?

Apple Intelligence will be available in macOS 15 Sequoia, iOS 18 and iPadOS 18. It’ll first be available as a beta, and only in English language in the latter part of the year.

However, not every device that can run these operating systems will be able to use Apple Intelligence.

Apple says Apple Intelligence will be usable on devices that are powered by the Apple M1, M2, M3 and M4 chips, as well as the A17 Pro chipset.

This means it’ll work on iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max, iPads with M1, M2, or M4 chips, and Macs with M1, M2 or M3 chips.

Final thoughts

Apple Intelligence is perhaps the biggest feature update to Apple’s stable of products. While it might be behind its competition in rolling out AI to devices, Apple’s implementation is more comprehensive and cohesive. 

It’s true that Apple Intelligence will have an unprecedented level of access to your private data. But it’s reassuring to know that Apple is leaving no stone unturned to protect user’s privacy.

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