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Apple Intelligence is Apple’s generative AI for Mac, iPhone, iPad

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Today at Apple, Inc.’s annual Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC 2024) at its headquarters in Cupertino, California, the company announced its most significant generative AI effort yet: Apple Intelligence, a much-rumored new service combining multiple AI models that aims to provide personalized, private, and secure capabilities across Mac, iPhone, and iPad devices.

“It’s aware of your personal data without collecting your personal data,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering, during the company’s keynote address, pitching the service as more private and secure than rivals by running on-device and on private clouds, depending on the AI models that are used.

“You are in control of your data, where it is stored, and who can access it,” he said.

Integration with iOS 18, iPadOS 18, and macOS Sequoia

Apple Intelligence is deeply integrated into iOS 18, iPadOS 18, and macOS Sequoia, harnessing the power of Apple silicon to understand and create language and images, take action across apps, and draw from personal context to simplify and accelerate everyday tasks.

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The new AI service will be available on all these Mac systems for free later this summer.

The service leverages both large language models (LLMs) for generating and analyzing inputted text, as well as diffusion models (such as those behind popular image generators Stable Diffusion and Midjourney) for generating AI images.

Credit: Apple, Inc.

One of the most appealing new features for the typical consumer is likely to be “Genmoji,” Apple’s generative-AI powered tool allowing users to create custom emoji on demand to use in Messages based on text alone, including emoji resembling their friends and family in their Contacts.

Credit: Apple, Inc.

Apple is launching its own full generative AI image creation app called “Image Playground,” that will be available on its own and also within apps including Messages and Keynote (Apple’s version of PowerPoint), allowing users to generate AI imagery from text, such as an illustration for a planned or impromptu gathering with friends, which you can then drop to your contacts as an invitation or asset.

Credit: Apple, Inc.

Image Playground offers users three styles for creating images: Animation, Illustration, or Sketch. Users can choose from a range of concepts from categories like themes, costumes, accessories, and places, type a description to define an image, and pick someone from their personal photo library to include in their image.

Advanced Notes and Photos features

Another new capability in Notes called “Image One” analyzes handwritten or typed notes and creates an image based on what you put in.

Credit: Apple, Inc.

Separately but relatedly, the Apple Photos app has been upgraded to allow you to type in a description of the kind of smart photo album you want, such as your child “learning to fish,” as well as the kind of music you want accompanying it, and Apple Intelligence will automatically scan through your photos, pick out the ones that match the prompt, and generate the photo album for you — complete with musical accompaniment.

Credit: Apple, Inc.

Apple Intelligence also introduces advanced search capabilities in Photos, allowing natural language searches for specific photos, such as “Maya skateboarding in a tie-dye shirt,” or “Katie with stickers on her face.” The new Clean Up tool can identify and remove distracting objects in the background of a photo.

Enhanced Siri capabilities

More capabilities of Apple Intelligence include new tools for rewriting, summarization, and recommendations across all apps, and AI image generation based on your Contacts’ photos. It further can perform app actions on its own.

Apple’s 14-year-old AI voice assistant Siri has been upgraded with significant new capabilities including the ability to accept dictated messages to send at later dates/times through Apple’s “Send Later” feature, automatically adding someone’s address from Apple Messages to their Contacts card based on a voice command alone, and automatically enhancing photos with the verbal command “Make this photo pop!”

Siri can now maintain context from one request to the next, follow along if users stumble over words, and type responses for users who prefer text communication. Additionally, Siri has a new design with an elegant glowing light that wraps around the edge of the screen when active.

For users needing assistance with device functions, Siri can now answer thousands of questions about how to perform various tasks on iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Siri can also take hundreds of new actions in and across Apple and third-party apps.

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