Siri gets an overhaul as Apple goes all in on AI connected to ChatGPT

Siri gets an overhaul as Apple goes all in on AI connected to ChatGPT

The new AI called ‘Apple Intelligence’ will force you to have the latest Apple iPhone Pro 15, iPad or Mac to access it

by Kurt Knutsson

Apple held its annual developer’s conference on Monday, announcing new software upgrades for all of its devices. iOS, which is the operating system that runs on your iPhone, has received what can be considered the biggest upgrade to date. Apple has infused it with artificial intelligence, meaning it is now more capable and feature-rich. iOS 18 is also more customizable than ever, giving you the ability to tweak your home screen and more. Apple has also announced the macOS 15, iPadOS 18, watchOS 11, and more.

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iOS 18: What’s new in the latest software

Apple has officially announced iOS 18. While the software will not be released to the public until September, it does bring some features that every iPhone user should be aware of.

The update includes new home screen customization, giving you a theming option for app icons. You can now place app icons anywhere and automatically tint icons with dark mode. You can also swap the new controls onto the lock screen, replacing the flashlight and camera icons.

Apple embraces generative AI with Apple Intelligence, iOS 18, and macOS 15

The list of new iOS 18 features is long, but Apple’s new features for iMessage and texting, in general, are worth noting. The app now lets you respond to messages with any emoji or sticker, not just the old Tapbacks. You can also schedule texts, add effects, and format them with underlining, strikethrough, and more. Plus, iPhone 14 and 15 users can send messages via satellite even without Wi-Fi or cell service. iOS 18 will also add RCS, reminders integration in Calendar, an option to make your home screen icons bigger, and more.

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screenshots showing the iOS 18 interface

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‘Apple Intelligence’: All about Apple’s AI efforts

Apple has been struggling to maintain its dominance in the smartphone market, losing market share to companies like Samsung and facing significant challenges in important markets like China. However, the company’s latest AI capabilities, collectively called Apple Intelligence, might help it overcome these issues.

Apple Intelligence is a “personal intelligence” system that puts generative AI at the heart of the Apple device ecosystem. However, it only works with the latest and greatest Apple devices. To use Apple Intelligence on an iPhone, you need an iPhone 15 Pro or later. On iPads and Macs, you need at least the M1 chip.

Apple Intelligence introduces solid improvements to Siri— the virtual assistant on iPhones and iPads. The new Siri has been supercharged with AI, and it understands context, so you don’t have to repeat information. Apple says, “Siri will be able to find and understand things that it never could before.”  That’s good news for those who noticed that both Alexa and Google Assistant have surpasses Siri’s capabilities for sometime.

Siri will have on-screen awareness about what you are currently looking at, and have the ability to take in-app actions. For instance, if you are filling in a form asking for your driving license number, Siri will automatically be able to find a picture of your driving license and extract the relevant number to fill in the field on your behalf. The Cupertino company has also teamed up with OpenAI to let you use ChatGPT within Siri.

Apple Intelligence also brings new features like Writing Tools, which help you rewrite, proofread, and summarize text, and Image Playground, which lets you create images in apps such as Messages and Notes with unique styles like Sketch, Illustration, and Animation.

However, these features also encourage you to alter reality and create fake images, made-up rewrites of your own words, and encourage you to read its chosen summaries instead of the whole message sent to you.

For example, Apple showed how to create fake AI images of people in your photos and contacts like a birthday photo with a fake version of your friend surrounded by balloons.

Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, terms Apple Intelligence as “profound new intelligence capabilities.” I call Apple Intelligence with ChatGPT a leap forward with significant privacy and security questions. It may be more private than other services, but it is now encouraging less private activity with your personal data.

Screenshot showing Apple Intelligence feature

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macOS 15: The Mac software gets upgraded

Alongside iOS 18 and iPadOS 18, Apple has also made macOS 15 official. The new software is named after a California landmark—Sequoia. This continues Apple’s tradition, as previous versions were also named after places in California.

The new OS makes it even easier to connect your Mac and iPhone. Now, you can not only mirror your iPhone screen on your Mac but also control your iPhone directly from your Mac. You can even drag and drop between macOS apps and the iPhone screen.

Apple has also added a standalone Passwords app in macOS 15 Sequoia, so you can manage your passwords without needing third-party apps. Safari is now smarter, using AI to automatically highlight useful info like map directions or videos on a webpage. macOS 15 also gets Apple Intelligence AI features. It can generate text in apps and help you create images.

macOS 15 new features

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Everything else Apple announced at WWDC 2024

Apple’s WWDC 2024 was filled with new announcements. While I detailed the major stuff above, here’s everything else the company announced.

1) iPadOS 18: It shares many home screen and Control Center configurations with iOS 18. The iPad operating system has also received various enhancements to how iPad apps function, including the addition of a new calculator app, which was previously missing. In the Notes app, the Apple Pencil now offers more powerful handwriting capabilities with the Smart Script feature. If you’re not a fan of your handwriting, you can use this feature to improve its appearance.

Credit: Apple

 

2) WatchOS 11: This is the latest operating system for Apple Watches. It offers interactive widgets that provide convenient actions and new watch faces and automatically presents the best photos to ‘surprise and delight’ you according to Apple’s marketing spin.

Credit: Apple

 

3) tvOS 18: Apple TVs have been upgraded with tvOS 18, which adds a new Insights section that includes additional information such as actor names and music titles. Apple also added support for 21:9 formatting for viewing widescreen films.

Credit: Apple

 

4) VisionOS 2: Apple also unveiled VisionOS 2, the first major upgrade to its software that runs Apple Vision Pro. VisionOS 2 enhances the Photos app with Spatial Photos and Spatial Personas for shared photo viewing. It also adds new hand motion commands for easier navigation, like tapping to reach the home screen and turning wrists to see battery levels.

Credit: Apple

 

Kurt’s key takeaway

Apple has made significant changes to its software platforms, which ideally should allow users to get more out of their Apple devices. However, the new AI features being locked to newer devices force consumers to spend more money to buy the latest devices. Apple’s new AI, coming in iOS 18, iPadOS 18, and macOS 15, has some amazingly powerful tools to put the information coming and going in our lives in a more easily usable context. These tools can also be easily misused to spread misinformation and engage in creating fake realities.  I appreciate the progress and innovation.  At the same time I am asking some bigger questions about this leap into AI.

What happens when AI is altered to summarize in a narrative other than your own?   What are we losing by allowing AI to think for us? To tell us what to think about an email, document, poem and love note?

Do you think smartphones and other gadgets really need AI integration? And would you splurge on the newest Apple gear just for those AI features? Let us know in the comments below.

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3 comments

Monty June 13, 2024 - 5:47 am

Just leave my phone alone. If want AI I’ll get it separately. Present day Siri is sufficient.

Reply
T H S. June 13, 2024 - 6:51 am

I have apple 13 pro. I will not upgrade as i do not want ai. Sure if in business it can write letters brochures and workups for clients. But when u meet your customer and u did not write the material u cant answer a client question you lose the sale. Ai makes us lazy n stupid. It spies and takes over thought process. Scary stuff.

Reply
Rita G. June 13, 2024 - 8:48 am

Not a fan of AI. Thanks Kurt for your detailed report on Apple iOS 18.

Reply

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