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Apple AI on the way as Apple Intelligence comes to iPhone, iPad Mac

AI is coming to pretty much every major gadget Apple makes, and it means Siri is getting a little smarter, too.

It’s the year of AI it seems, as the most obvious trend makes its way everywhere. There is seemingly an AI story every week, as the technology permeates more aspects of your life and finds a way to make its mark in a positive way.

In 2024, you can find AI in your PCs, in your web browser, coming to earphones and AI-ready cars, and yes, even to your phone. Your humble phone.

We first saw the launch of that earlier in the year with Samsung’s embracing of AI in the Galaxy S24 range, testing it out with the S24 Ultra’s ability to generate wallpapers and translate languages, but AI is coming to more devices, too. Google has its Gemini AI platform coming to Android in general later this year, and it won’t be alone, because Apple has AI, too.

From 2024 onwards, iPhone users will be able to tap into the power of AI using something called “Apple Intelligence”, being announced at the Worldwide Developer Conference WWDC 24 this week.

Siri gets smarter

The concept will see Apple employ an AI developed using multiple systems and technologies, as the company brings together software and hardware to make AI play not just with the information you have on your phone, but also the apps, joining the dots between the things you use in your life and the assistant features you might already rely on.

Features like Siri, which will get smarter this year and be able to tap into apps on your device.

Siri will understand more context in your language and can be used to schedule emails, switch from light mode to dark mode, and even take action with on-screen apps and notifications. It will be able to understand apps made by developers outside of Apple, and even join the dots between contacts and messages, so you can say “when is dad’s flight landing”, and have Siri understand the context for that message to bring up the right information.

That’s part of the AI experience coming in Apple’s software later this year, but it’s not the only part. Apple Intelligence will come to iOS 18 on the iPhone, iPadOS 18 on the iPad, and supported Macs with macOS 15 Sequoia, and it will connect AI across several apps, both made by Apple and other makers.

For instance, you’ll be able to rewrite text in different tones, or even have it make text seemingly out of nothing, something you might already know ChatGPT and other AI engines can do right now. This will be baked into the operating systems, and that will include the ability to summarise documents, too.

Mail will begin to categorise emails more obviously, but also create summaries without needing to open a message. Meanwhile, Apple will provide quick responses to emails with Smart Reply based on questions inside an email and AI joining those dots.

The Notes app will support summaries, and even the phone app can support recordings with auto transcriptions and summaries, giving iPhone users something like the Google Pixel’s transcription tech, albeit with an added boost of auto-summary making.

Images from nothing

You’ll even be able to edit images or get Siri to do it. Granted, image editing won’t be quite as exhaustive as Midjourney’s ability to make photos from nothing. Rather, Apple Intelligence can make animation, illustration, and sketch style imagery inside Image Playground, creating images from nothing that can be used in other apps.

Alternatively, sketches can be converted into other images, and then used in apps such as Apple Pages and Keynote, and other apps later down the track thanks to developer access to the Image Playgrond API.

You can even use AI to make your own emoji with “Genmoji”, a generative AI version of emoji created based off a prompt. If you’ve heard of creating an image out of nothing, Genmoji is creating an emoji in much the same way. Text to emoji, voila.

“We’re thrilled to introduce a new chapter in Apple innovation. Apple Intelligence will transform what users can do with our products — and what our products can do for our users,” said Tim Cook, CEO of Apple.

“Our unique approach combines generative AI with a user’s personal context to deliver truly helpful intelligence. And it can access that information in a completely private and secure way to help users do the things that matter most to them,” he said.

“This is AI as only Apple can deliver it, and we can’t wait for users to experience what it can do.”

Image Playground will let you play with image creation from little more than text.

Privacy is a key feature

While privacy remains a key question for AI, particularly given so much of AI’s requests often get sent online, Apple will use a combination of local hardware and online activity to keep data private.

Every iPhone since the iPhone X onwards includes a Neural Engine component of its phones, and the same goes for Macs and iPads, too. Apple Silicon has offered hardware Neural Engines since the M1 was first released in 2020, so Macs are largely ready.

But there will be times when even local AI hardware isn’t enough for some features, so Apple has made an online component that won’t store AI data sent to the cloud. Called “Private Cloud Compute”, it’s a technology that will see data sent to an online system controlled by Apple to run AI processes too powerful and complex for local hardware, and will see no data stored or accessible to Apple itself.

Apple Intelligence will also be able to make ChatGPT usable from inside Apple’s operating systems, covering iOS 18, iPadOS 18, and macOS Sequoia, with native support for asking ChatGPT to describe images, look a little deeper into a topic or question, or rewrite information. This is all thanks to the GPT-4o model, with support for both the free and paid options coming.

Developers will also gain some AI love in the app developing world, as Apple rolls out Code Completion support in Xcode 16, though you’ll need Apple Silicon, macOS Sequoia, and at least 16GB RAM to make it happen.

ChatGPT will be a part of iOS if you choose to use it in iOS 18.

Apple Intelligence availability

Availability for Apple Intelligence is on the way for later in the year, expected in September with the launch of all three operating systems, though release of these features may be limited at first.

As such, Apple Intelligence will roll out first on the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max, and recent Apple Silicon Macs and iPads, though it may come to other iPhone models later down the track, as well. Notably, we’d expect Apple Intelligence on the iPhone 16 range expected to launch alongside iOS 18 in September or October.

UPDATE (June 13, 2024): This article has been updated to reflect that the standard model iPhone 15s will likely not see Apple Intelligence at least initially.

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