Apple's most important updates at WWDC 2024

WWDC Apple AI 2024

In this blog, we discuss Apple's announcements at WWDC 2024, their annual developer conference. This year was all about new software updates and, as we predicted in our AI Friday newsletter last week, artificial intelligence (AI).

Although Apple has been working on AI for some time, they have revealed little information until now. During the conference, it became clear that Apple has hefty ambitions in AI and Apple Intelligence was announced. What can we expect from Apple's plans with AI?

Read on to learn more about Apple Intelligence and how you can practically apply it in the future.

What is Apple Intelligence?

Apple Intelligence is a suite of advanced AI features that you can use directly on Apple devices such as iPhones, iPads and Macs. These technologies allow you to generate text and images using AI, but also give you extensive photo editing capabilities. Apple's voice assistant Siri has also been greatly improved, making it smarter and more natural in conversations with users. 

The following key applications were announced at WWDC:

Generative AI for text and images

  • Writing and editing: Apple Intelligence provides features such as writing, rewriting, proofreading and summarizing texts in apps such as Mail, Notes and Pages. Users can generate different versions of a text and adjust the style as desired.
  • Genmoji: Users can create personalized emojis called Genmoji that reflect their own facial expressions and features.

Improved Siri

  • Natural language processing: Siri can communicate more naturally and perform actions that take into account the user's situation within apps. This makes interactions more fluid and personalized.
  • Automation of tasks: Siri can now automate tasks such as making reservations, buying tickets and managing projects.
  • Integration with ChatGPT: Siri can now use ChatGPT to answer questions and perform complex tasks. Users must give permission before data is sent to ChatGPT.

AI in photos and videos

  • Photo and video editing: The new Photos app in iOS 18 and macOS Sequoia uses AI to automatically organize photo and video libraries and offers new editing options.
  • 3D spatial photos: VisionOS 2 makes it possible to transform normal photos into 3D images. This allows you to experience photos in a new, lifelike way.

Privacy and security

  • Private Cloud Compute: Apple Intelligence uses "on-device processing" and cloud-based processing through Private Cloud Compute. This ensures that many AI tasks can be performed locally on the device, protecting user privacy. For more complex tasks that require more processing power, data is temporarily sent to Apple's own servers 'in the cloud,' processed and then deleted. This ensures that user data remains protected and inaccessible to third parties.

Watch the entire presentation on Apple Intelligence here or the 5-minute summary below.

Key steps in Apple's AI

It remains to be seen how the announced AI features will work in practice. In any case, Apple is clearly signaling that they are going to make significant strides with AI, and in their own innovative way.

Apple Intelligence differs from other AI applications in that it is specifically optimized for practical applications and fully integrated with the devices and apps that are already widely used on a daily basis. This AI adapts based on the user's personal data and context. This makes for a very personalized experience. In addition, Apple places a strong emphasis on privacy and security. 

Apple is in an excellent position to become a major player in AI. With more than 1 billion active users worldwide and the trust that many users place in Apple (something often lacking in many other AI providers), Apple has a tremendous foundation to spread this technology quickly and significantly accelerate AI adoption. 

Apple Intelligence is free to use and will be made available as part of the latest software updates for iPhone, iPad and Mac. The beta version will be rolled out this fall in the English (US) version of iOS 18, iPadOS 18 and macOS Sequoia, with support for more languages in the future. 

Apple has now announced that Apple Intelligence and some other new features of iOS 18 will not be available in the European Union for the time being. The company gives as its reason the requirements of the Digital Markets Act (DMA), which Apple says would compromise users' data security and privacy.

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