Why is Apple Intelligence Great News for Everybody?

Last Modified: Jun 10th, 2024 - Category: Artificial Intelligence, News, Physical UX
2046 words, 11 minutes estimated read time.
Cover image for Apple Intelligence AI article

Apple has announced the launch of AI, short for Apple Intelligence (I see what you did there), and as with everything from the Cupertino company, it promises to make some noise. Not only because anything Apple does makes noise by default, but because they’re going a step further, integrating AI into both software and hardware. Now that sounds interesting, huh?

Why is Apple Intelligence exciting for everyone? What you’ll read in this article is subjective analysis on the matter, as you may expect. But first, a quick rundown on everything we know about Apple Intelligence. This will help us explore the potential benefits in more detail.

Apple Intelligence (AI) Introduction

Apple Inc. doesn’t like to dive into untested markets, as shown with its iPhone, smartwatch, and Vision Pro. All these areas were established before the company showed up, but Apple found a way to make its mark. Now, Apple is looking to do something similar with artificial intelligence (AI). Nearly two years after the generative AI frenzy started, Apple is preparing to lay out its vision for the technology. At its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), Apple will announce plans to deeply integrate AI into its major apps and features — all while reiterating a commitment to privacy and security, which, in my humble opinion, is a much needed feature.

Apple’s new AI system, called Apple Intelligence, will come to new versions of the iPhone, iPad, and Mac operating systems. This will also involve a partnership with OpenAI to power a ChatGPT-like chatbot. The tech giant is preparing to show new software for the Vision Pro headset, Apple Watch, and TV platforms. Apple’s iPhone 15 Pro models will be on display, showcasing the integration of AI features into the ecosystem.

Apple’s WWDC Keynote: AI and Beyond

Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) kicks off today, and Apple Intelligence (should we call it Apple AI? It’s shorter!) is set to be a major focus. While AI advancements will likely dominate roughly half of the two-hour keynote, there’s still plenty to look forward to beyond artificial intelligence. We can expect exciting announcements about iPhone customization and Apple Watch improvements as well.

Here’s a breakdown of what to expect during the keynote address:

  • Focus on Apple Intelligence: Buckle up for in-depth reveals about Apple’s latest AI features.
  • Beyond Apple AI: Don’t miss out on potential announcements regarding iPhone customization and Apple Watch upgrades.

AI Features

  1. Integration Across Apps: Apple’s approach to AI will involve integrating the technology into as many of its apps as possible, in ways that ideally ease the daily lives of customers. The company is less focused on flashy technology like image and video generation and more on features with broad appeal.
  2. Opt-in Features: The new capabilities will be opt-in, meaning Apple won’t make users adopt them if they don’t want to. The company will also position them as a beta version. The processing requirements of AI will mean that users need an iPhone 15 Pro or one of the models coming out this year. If they’re using iPads or Macs, they’ll need models with an M1 chip at least.
  3. Powered by OpenAI: Apple’s AI features will be powered by its technology and tools from OpenAI. The services will either rely on on-device processing or cloud-based computing, depending on the sophistication of the task at hand. The new operating systems will include an algorithm to determine which approach should be taken for any particular task.
  4. Privacy and Security: Apple risks sparking controversy by using the cloud for AI. A large part of its announcement will focus on the precautions the company is taking, including security features on the chips it’s using in its data centers. Apple also won’t build user profiles based on customer data and will generate reports to show that consumers’ information is secure and not being sold or read.
  5. Summarization and Reply Suggestions: A major component of the AI push is summarization. Apple is planning features that can quickly recap articles and web pages in the Safari browser. They’ll also be able to sum up meeting notes, text messages, and emails. Additionally, the iPhone will be able to automatically create fully fleshed-out responses to emails and text messages on behalf of the user.
  6. Revamped Siri: Siri will be a part of the new AI push as well, with Apple planning a revamp to its voice-control service based on large language models. For the first time, Siri users will be able to have precise control over individual features and actions within apps. These features are unlikely to arrive until next year.
  7. Xcode AI Infusion: Xcode, Apple’s software for developing apps, is getting a big AI infusion. It will work similarly to Microsoft Corp.’s GitHub Copilot, which can complete code for programmers automatically.
  8. Mail App Upgrade: The Mail app will include a Gmail-like feature that automatically categorizes incoming messages.
  9. AI-Created Emoji: A feature likely to get a lot of attention will be AI-created emoji. This will use AI to create custom emoji characters on the fly that represent phrases or words as they’re being typed.
  10. Voice Memos Transcription: Voice Memos will get the ability to automatically transcribe recordings.
  11. Photos App Enhancements: AI is coming to the Photos app, which will embed new capabilities into photo editing, making it easier to enhance an image or remove a person or object from the frame.
image of the announcement in which Apple Intelligence will be announced
Marking the date of the Apple Intelligence announcement

Other Apple Software Upgrades

  1. Customization Options: In the latest iPhone operating system, iOS 18, app icons will no longer have to remain in a neat grid. Users will be able to place icons wherever they choose on their home screen. Icon colors will also be customizable for the first time.
  2. Control Center Update: Control Center will get an updated interface that allows shortcut buttons to be rearranged within the Control Center view itself and placed across multiple pages.
  3. Settings App Overhaul: The Settings app is getting updated on iOS, iPadOS, and macOS with improved navigation, better organization, and more reliable search.
  4. Messages App Tweaks: The Messages app will have changes to the effects feature, new colorful icons for Tapbacks, and the ability to schedule messages to be sent later.
  5. Passwords App Launch: Apple is launching a Passwords app for iOS 18, iPadOS 18, and macOS 15 that will offer an alternative to the 1Password and LastPass services.
  6. Calculator App on iPad: The Calculator app is coming to the iPad for the first time and will use the same overall interface as the existing iPhone version.
  7. Calendar Updates: Calendar will get the ability to bring in data from the Reminders app.
  8. Health App Improvements: The Health app will have improved blood pressure data management, support for a new hearing test feature on Apple’s AirPods, and better-tailored data for cycle tracking if a person is pregnant.
  9. watchOS 11 Updates: The watchOS 11 update will add an updated Siri interface and major changes to some key apps such as Fitness.
  10. Safari Changes: Safari in macOS 15 is getting some changes, but Apple is unlikely to unveil its own ad blocker (bad).
  11. New Wallpaper Packs: Apple’s devices are getting new wallpaper packs, including Mac versions that reference old school icons and slogans.
  12. Vision Pro Enhancements: The Vision Pro software will include features like new environments, the Passwords app, and Vision Pro versions of iPad software.

Hardware and What’s Coming Later

WWDC usually focuses on software, but the company has used the conference to unveil devices as well. This time, however, we’re in a lull between releases, so there shouldn’t be any new hardware announcements. The next wave of devices isn’t expected until the fall. Still, the conference will set the stage for what’s to come. The new health features will be fundamental to upgraded Apple Watches in the fall, and the new AirPods enhancements will be core to multiple new models coming later this year. The Apple Intelligence features should help Apple sell new iPhones and Macs with upgraded chips over the next year and beyond.

Apple’s Move into Generative AI

Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference is expected to herald the company’s move into generative artificial intelligence, marking its late arrival to a technological frontier expected to be as revolutionary as the invention of the iPhone. The display of AI embedded in the iPhone and other Apple products will be the marquee moment at an event that traditionally previews the next version of software that powers the company’s hardware lineup.

Apple’s next generation of software is expected to be packed with AI features likely to make its often-bumbling virtual assistant Siri smarter, and make photos, music, texting, and even creating emojis on the fly a more productive and entertaining experience.

True to its secretive nature, Apple hasn’t provided any advance details about the event. However, CEO Tim Cook recently hinted that Apple is poised to reveal its grand plans to enter the AI race, which has been fueling an industry boom during the past 18 months.

AI mania is the main reason that Nvidia, the dominant maker of the chips underlying the technology, has seen its market value rocket from about $300 billion at the end of 2022 to about $3 trillion. Microsoft also eclipsed Apple earlier this year on the strength of its push into AI. Analysts have been increasingly worried that Apple may be falling too far behind in the rapidly changing AI space, compounded by an uncharacteristically extended slump in the company’s sales. Both Google and Samsung have already released smartphone models touting AI features as their main attractions.

Image of an afroamerican girl using Vision Pro device, one of Apple AI new gadgets
Apple AI will power Vision Pro. Will it be enough to justify the price?

Last year, Apple provided an early look at its mixed-reality headset, the Vision Pro, which wasn’t released until early this year with a $3,500 price tag that has been a major impediment to gaining traction. Nevertheless, Apple’s push into mixed reality, billed as “spatial computing,” has raised hopes that what is currently a niche technology will turn into a huge market.

Part of the optimism stems from Apple’s history of releasing technology later than others and then using sleek designs and services combined with slick marketing campaigns to overcome its tardy start and unleash new trends. Bringing more AI into the iPhone, in particular, will likely raise privacy issues. Apple has gone to great lengths to assure its loyal customer base that it can be trusted not to peer too deeply into their personal lives.

One way Apple could reassure consumers is by leveraging its own chip technology so most AI-powered features are handled on the device itself instead of remote data centers, often called “the cloud.” Going that route would also help protect Apple’s profit margins because AI technology through the cloud is far more expensive than when it is run solely on a device.

Then why is this Apple IA good news?

So, with all the elements at hand, here’s my take on Apple Intelligence and why is this very good news for everybody.

  • Enhanced User Experience for Apple Users: Apple devices will benefit from significant improvements, something unseen (so far) from other hardware companies. This paves the way for a whole new level of user experience through seamless software and hardware integration.
  • Industry-Wide Impact: This development will likely push other manufacturers to follow suit, ultimately benefiting Android users, game consoles, smart TVs, the Internet of Things (IoT), and more.
  • AI for Real-World Applications: This could be a turning point for AI, moving beyond entertainment and unverified text sources. Imagine the possibilities compared to projects like Dorve UX’s custom devices for Alzheimer’s patients, developed with machine learning nearly a decade ago!
  • Ethical Considerations: Apple’s commitment to privacy and data security sets a potentially high ethical standard for the often-unethical AI market.
  • Accessibility Advancements: The possibilities for using AI to enhance accessibility features on devices seem limitless.
  • Quantum UX Implementation: While other companies may have adopted aspects of Quantum UX (QUX), Apple’s attempt at full implementation is exciting news, especially considering our CEO Fabio Devin’s role in creating QUX.

In short: Apple’s move into AI with Apple Intelligence marks a significant step in integrating advanced technology into everyday use while maintaining a strong focus on privacy and security.

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