Apple May Have Made the Best Case Yet for AI’s Usefulness

Apple took the wraps off of its hotly anticipated Apple Intelligence (A.I.) at WWDC today, billing it as "truly helpful intelligence."...
Apple May Have Made the Best Case Yet for AI’s Usefulness
Written by Matt Milano
  • Apple took the wraps off of its hotly anticipated Apple Intelligence (A.I.) at WWDC today, billing it as “truly helpful intelligence.”

    Apple has been rumored to be working on integrating generative AI in its products, while trying to do so in a way that preserves user privacy and security. The company showed its progress at WWDC, saying it will incorporate A.I. across its various operating systems and devices.

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

    Writing and Notifications

    Apple has debuted a number of features that demonstrate how useful properly implemented AI can be. One such feature is its system-wide Writing Tools that help users write, rewrite, edit, proofread, and perfect writing in nearly any app.

    Similarly, A.I. will provide more intelligent notifications, alerting people to events that are same-day, have deadlines, or are otherwise more important.

    Image Playground and Photos

    Apple has incorporated A.I. into its Image Playground app, giving users an easy way to create new images in three different styles: Animation, Illustration, and Sketch. The app is available both as a separate app, as well as incorporated directly into other apps, like Messages.

    Photos has received a major upgrade, with users able to search for images using natural language queries. Similarly, users will be able to search for specific moments in video clips.


    Siri receives some of the most impressive updates, gaining context and better language-understanding skills.

    It can follow along if users stumble over words and maintain context from one request to the next. Additionally, users can type to Siri, and switch between text and voice to communicate with Siri in whatever way feels right for the moment. Siri also has a brand-new design with an elegant glowing light that wraps around the edge of the screen when Siri is active.

    With onscreen awareness, Siri will be able to understand and take action with users’ content in more apps over time. For example, if a friend texts a user their new address in Messages, the receiver can say, “Add this address to his contact card.”

    Siri will be able to deliver intelligence that’s tailored to the user and their on-device information. For example, a user can say, “Play that podcast that Jamie recommended,” and Siri will locate and play the episode, without the user having to remember whether it was mentioned in a text or an email. Or they could ask, “When is Mom’s flight landing?” and Siri will find the flight details and cross-reference them with real-time flight tracking to give an arrival time.


    Apple emphasizes its commitment to protecting user privacy, saying that many of the A.I. functions are powered by on-device models. For those that need to be run on more powerful computers, the service relies on Apple’s Private Cloud Compute.

    Private Cloud Compute extends the privacy and security of Apple devices into the cloud to unlock even more intelligence.

    With Private Cloud Compute, Apple Intelligence can flex and scale its computational capacity and draw on larger, server-based models for more complex requests. These models run on servers powered by Apple silicon, providing a foundation that allows Apple to ensure that data is never retained or exposed.

    Apple has designed the system so that it can be inspected and verified by independent security experts.


    As expected, Apple has partnered with OpenAI to make ChatGPT available for users that want/need additional capabilities. Interestingly, Apple has worked out a deal with OpenAI to ensure customers’ privacy is protected far more than it otherwise would be.

    Privacy protections are built in for users who access ChatGPT — their IP addresses are obscured, and OpenAI won’t store requests. ChatGPT’s data-use policies apply for users who choose to connect their account.

    Apple Just Did What Apple Does Best

    Apple’s entire approach to AI should feel very familiar to any long-time Apple watchers. The company has a long history of not being the first company to unveil a new product or service, but being the first to perfect it and show customers why they want to use it.

    Many consumers remain unconvinced about the need for or utility of AI, just as people were once unconvinced why they needed a portable music player, touchscreen phone, or tablet. As with those previous cases, Apple just did what Apple does best in its unveiling of A.I.—it made it appealing to the everyday consumer and articulated the best use-case for generative AI of any company yet.

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