Apple Intelligence revealed at WWDC 2024 as the company enters the AI ​​race

Nearly two years after OpenAI kicked off the race to add generative artificial intelligence to products, Apple jumped into the competition on Monday, revealing plans to bring the technology to more than a billion iPhone users worldwide.

During a two-hour presentation from its futuristic Silicon Valley campus, Apple said it will use generative artificial intelligence to power what it calls Apple Intelligence. The system will prioritize messages and notifications and offer writing tools that can proofread and suggest what users have written in emails, notes or text. This will also bring a major update to Siri, Apple's virtual assistant.

Apple's plans to offer artificial intelligence in its iPhones represent the next step in bringing artificial intelligence into the consumer mainstream. Apple, Silicon Valley's biggest name, could do more than any other company to add credibility to a technology that has more than a few critics who fear it is error-prone and could add to the flow of misinformation already on the Internet. .

Apple's new artificial intelligence capabilities could also help calm concerns that the iPhone maker has fallen behind its larger rivals in the tech industry's embrace of artificial intelligence. The value of other tech companies, such as Microsoft and Nvidia, has skyrocketed due to their aggressive AI plans. Earlier this year, Microsoft dethroned Apple as the world's most valuable technology company.

In introducing its new artificial intelligence, Apple highlighted how it plans to integrate the technology into its products with privacy in mind. The company said the technology, which can answer questions, create images and write software code, will perform delicate tasks. It demonstrated how the system would be able to automatically determine whether a rescheduled meeting time would complicate plans to attend a children's theater show.

He said computer processing would be done on an iPhone rather than in data centers, where personal information is at greater risk of being compromised. For complex requests that require more computing power, he created a cloud network with Apple semiconductors that, he says, is more private because it is not stored or accessible, not even by Apple.

Apple has struck a deal with OpenAI, the maker of ChatGPT, to support some of its artificial intelligence capabilities. Requests that your system cannot respond to will be directed to ChatGPT. For example, a user might say that he has salmon, lemon and tomatoes and wants help planning dinner with those ingredients. Users should choose to direct such requests to ChatGPT, ensuring they know that the chatbot, not Apple, is responsible if the responses are unsatisfactory. Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, attended the Apple event.

Apple's deal with OpenAI, which already has a close collaboration with Microsoft, is another indication that the young San Francisco company has clearly become the leading developer of AI technology in the tech sector

“As we look to integrate these incredible new features, we want to make sure the outcome reflects the principles behind our products,” said Tim Cook, Apple's chief executive officer. “It has to be powerful enough to help the things that matter most to you. It has to be intuitive and easy to do.”

Apple also said it would make improvements to its iPhone software system. This fall, Messaging will add the ability to schedule messages and reply to messages by tapping back with more emojis. Apple will also release a redesigned Photos app to make it easier to browse images by topics like pets and travel. And he said iPhone users will be able to send high-resolution images to Android smartphones.

Apple brings several strengths to the AI ​​race. Its semiconductor development team is among the most talented in the industry and has been producing chips that power complex artificial intelligence functions for years. The company has also touted itself as better at protecting people's personal information than its rivals because it makes money by selling devices, not advertising.

But Apple has several weaknesses that could slow the development of artificial intelligence. The secretive society has struggled to recruit and retain leading artificial intelligence researchers because it limits the amount of research it publishes. He also sought to license published material and opposed collection without permission, as other generative AI companies have done to build and train their technology.

Although Siri has been around for more than a decade, Apple has let the voice assistant languish. The assistant has frustrated users with its inability to recognize various requests, and its ability to actually converse is limited because it is programmed to follow every single command.

Generative AI could improve Siri because it was trained on spoken conversations pulled from podcasts and videos. The result is a system that can mimic the way people speak.

Apple said Siri would be able to remember the context of something a user raised with it. For example, if someone asks about the weather at Muir Woods National Monument and later asks to schedule a hike there, Siri will now know that the hike they're planning is at Muir Woods.

Siri will also understand more things people want to do in iPhone apps. For example, users can ask it to show a friend's photo and it will find and show those images for people in the Photos app. It will also be able to perform tasks for people such as finding an image of a user's driver's license and filling it into a form.

Other generative AI features demonstrated by Apple included automatically summarizing audio recordings, the ability to create movies from photos by writing a description, and cleaning up photos by removing distracting images in the background.

“This is the biggest event for investors since the iPhone because to thrive they have to infuse artificial intelligence into their products,” said Gene Munster, managing partner at Deepwater Asset Management, which invests in emerging technology companies. “Today was about demonstrating that they will make AI a core competency and that they will be able to deliver the AI ​​experience that consumers want.”

The event also represented an important milestone in Apple's relationship with developers. Tensions have flared between the company and app makers over the past year, as Apple resisted new rules in Europe designed to loosen its grip on the App Store. The rules require Apple to allow third-party payment alternatives that could evade the 30% commission it collects on app sales. But developers say Apple has responded by introducing alternatives that would make such a change prohibitively expensive.

Apple is facing similar challenges in the United States. A federal judge in San Jose, California is considering whether the company can proceed with a plan to collect 27% of sales on alternative payment systems. And the Justice Department is also suing Apple over rules that prevent other companies from offering cloud-streaming game apps, digital wallets and other alternatives on iPhone.

In this context, Apple has tried to emphasize the advantages it offers to developers. During the event, it showed how its Apple Intelligence tools would be available to make apps more useful to customers.

Apple said it will expand sales of Vision Pro, its mixed reality headset, beyond the United States to China, Japan and Europe later this month. The company also unveiled new features for the headset, including the ability to view older photographs in three dimensions and create a giant virtual display for a Mac.

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