AI and new software for Apple devices

For a long time, Apple stayed out of the current AI race altogether, allowing rivals like Google to go first. In a keynote speech at the WWDC developer conference on Monday, Apple boss Tim Cook made no doubt that the AI ​​onslaught must now begin with Cupertino’s hardware. An overview of new AI functions and what’s new in macOS, iPadOS, iOS and watchOS.

Apple has chosen its own name for its current efforts in the field of artificial intelligence: Apple Intelligence. The team understands all the AI ​​functions that will be introduced in the coming months. Most of these are cross-platform and should work across multiple applications.

Software boss Craig Federighi gave an example of this at WWDC: A work appointment has to be postponed, and he wants to know if he can make it to his daughter’s play. To answer this question, the software needs to know, among other things, the date of the postponement and where the performance is – and calculate the travel time based on the traffic.

It’s all the information scattered across the iPhone in various applications: calendar, text messages, email, maps. Apple’s AI model can access this across computers — and classify the data correctly. Some AI features are already known from the competition. For example, a mail application can create a summary of message text or edit photos later.

Sri is getting smarter

Apple Intelligence is also said to have a positive impact on Siri. Apple’s voice assistant can better understand the context of the request and perform a variety of new actions within different apps. Additionally, users can switch between text and voice input. Siri will also have direct integration with ChatGPT in the future.

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To alleviate data security concerns with such requests, Apple emphasized that for AI operations, most of the data they need will be processed locally on the respective device rather than in the cloud. The request is processed on the server only if the computing effort is too high. Apple has developed a process with complete encryption and promises that no data is left on the servers after processing.

Since the devices need to be powerful enough to handle the demands, at least one of the future iPhones, or at least the iPhone 15 Pro from last fall, is needed. In theory, you could run AI models on older technology – but they’re much slower to be useful.

Mac computers are more capable: Starting in 2020, the in-house M-series chips that Apple used to replace Intel processors will do just about anything. Functions also work on iPads with M chip configurations. In addition to chips, RAM storage capacity also plays a role, Federighi said.

Image: Apple

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The group consolidates its AI operations under the name Apple Intelligence.
Image: Apple

The basis for the new AI functions on the iPhone is the new operating system iOS 18, which will be available from the fall. Apart from Apple Intelligence, iOS 18 also brings a new user interface. App icons can be positioned more flexibly on the home screen and redesigned with colors. Control Center gets a new design, more customization options, and the ability to integrate third-party apps.

Apple also makes the messaging app RCS compatible. In the future, iPhone users will also be able to use many Messenger functions while chatting with Android users. For added data protection, Apple introduces the option to block certain apps using Face ID with iOS 18.

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Mac, iPad and Apple Watch are getting new operating systems. MacOS Sequoia allows users to mirror iPhone screen to Mac wirelessly. From there, you can open apps and move photos and videos between different Apple devices. Open windows can now be arranged in a more specific way and the Safari browser also gets an update.

One of the innovations in iPadOS 18 is the first integrated calculator app compatible with Apple Pencil. Speaking of which: the Notes app can better deal with and edit handwritten text. With watchOS 11, Apple Watch users get additional health features like workout trends and vital sign usage.

Apple’s mixed reality glasses Vision Pro were previously available exclusively in the US. It will be available from July 12 in additional countries including France, Germany and Great Britain. The purchase price starts at 3999 euros. The visionOS operating system is also being upgraded.

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