Apple’s bold move: Massive change coming for a billion iPhone users

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Apple has announced sweeping changes to its popular devices as it introduces generative artificial intelligence (AI) products to more than a billion people.

The tech giant also unveiled new controls and personalization options for iOS 18 and announced when the Vision Pro headset will come to Australia.

The highlight of the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) was an important new partnership with the AI ​​company OpenAI to integrate ChatGPT software into the iPhone and other devices.

Apple on Monday unveiled Apple Intelligence, a suite of new AI features for its coveted devices, as the company looks to catch up with competitors that are ahead of it in adopting the cutting-edge technology.

This represents a big change for the approximately 1.3 billion iPhone users around the world and will also be integrated into Apple’s laptops and iPads.

After Microsoft and Google launched new products in rapid succession, Apple was under pressure for months to convince doubters of its AI strategy.

But this latest move will take the Apple product experience “to a new level,” said CEO Tim Cook at the opening of the annual WWDC at the technology giant’s headquarters in Silicon Valley in Cupertino, California.

To this end, Apple has partnered with OpenAI, which ushered in a new era of generative artificial intelligence with the launch of ChatGPT in 2022.

OpenAI is “very happy to be working with Apple to integrate ChatGPT into their devices later this year… I think you’re going to really like it,” the company’s CEO, Sam Altman, posted on social media.

Apple Intelligence will also be added to a new version of the iOS 18 operating system, which was also unveiled at the week-long conference on Monday.

Apple executives stressed that privacy safeguards were built into Apple Intelligence to make the digital assistant Siri and other products smarter without stealing user data.

Analysts say Apple’s big challenge is to integrate ChatGPT-style AI – which voraciously collects data – into its products without weakening its heavily promoted user privacy and security.

The system “brings powerful generative models directly into the core of your iPhone, iPad and Mac,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering.

“It uses your personal context to provide you with the information that is most helpful and relevant to you, and it protects your privacy every step of the way,” he said.

In particular, Apple Intelligence allows users to create their own emojis based on a description in everyday language or to generate short summaries of emails in the inbox.

Users can submit their requests to Siri in writing or verbally.

According to Federighi, AI improvements also included the integration of ChatGPT into operating system models later this year.

“It sounds like it’s Apple – if it needs ChatGPT, it’s offering it to you,” said Avi Greengart, an analyst at Techsponential.

“The special thing here is the implementation.”

Silicon Valley believes that generative artificial intelligence will fundamentally change the way users interact with smartphones and computers. However, the technology is still in its infancy and the benefits are not yet fully clear.

The announcements at WWDC set the stage for the expected release of the iPhone 16 later this year and open the door to a “renaissance of growth” for the company, said Daniel Ives, senior analyst at Wedbush Securities.

Mr Cook had already hinted at his commitment to artificial intelligence by equipping the iPad and MacBook models with more powerful, AI-capable chips earlier this year.

Elon Musk sharply attacks Apple

Elon Musk sharply criticized Apple for the announcement and warned of possible data protection problems.

The Tesla boss, who owns social media platform X, which is developing its own ChatGPT-like service Grok, fired back at Apple and the controversial AI company over data protection and privacy concerns.

“It’s patently absurd that Apple isn’t smart enough to develop its own AI, but is still able to ensure that OpenAI protects your security and privacy!” the billionaire wrote on X.

“Apple has no idea what actually happens when they hand your data over to OpenAI. They tell you everything.”

However, Mr Musk’s post has now been marked with a “Community Note” fact check on his own platform.

“Apple has its own AI model that is explicitly different from ChatGPT,” the user-submitted note said. “Apple’s model is used by default and is usually the only option, but in some contexts users may opt to use ChatGPT.”

Apple Vision Pro

Apple also announced that Apple Vision Pro will be available in new countries and regions in Europe and Asia Pacific starting this month.

Customers in Australia can pre-order Vision Pro from 10pm AEST on Friday 28 June, with availability beginning on Friday 12 July.

The $6,000 headset “seamlessly connects digital content with the physical world, enabling immersive spatial experiences that transform the way people work, collaborate, connect, relive memories, enjoy entertainment, and more,” the company explains.

“The excitement for Apple Vision Pro has been extraordinary, and we’re thrilled to bring the magic of spatial computing to even more customers around the world,” said Cook.

“We can’t wait to help even more people make the impossible possible, whether it’s working and collaborating with an infinite canvas for apps, reliving precious memories in three dimensions, watching TV shows and movies in a one-of-a-kind private cinema, or enjoying brand-new spatial experiences that exceed imagination.”

Apple has introduced a number of new “spatial computing” features for Vision Pro as part of its latest operating system update, visionOS 2.

The extensive update is intended to introduce a “powerful way for users to create spatial photos with the images already in their library” and “intuitive hand gestures for easy access to important information at a glance.”

For example, Safari lets users watch YouTube, Netflix and Amazon videos in an immersive “environment,” and when scrolling through web pages, they can “tap and immerse themselves in panoramic photos as the image surrounds them.”

“Siri can also read and speak the content of a web page while the user multitasks,” says Apple.

There are now more than 2,000 spatial apps developed for Apple Vision Pro and over 1.5 million compatible iOS and iPadOS apps available.

“Apple Vision Pro delivers revolutionary experiences for users and developers, and we’re excited to take spatial computing even further with visionOS 2, just months after its initial release,” said Mike Rockwell, vice president of Apple’s Vision Products Group.

“From more seamless navigation in visionOS to expanding the ways users link reminders to improvements to key Vision Pro apps, we can’t wait for users to experience the range of new features in visionOS 2. And with a robust set of tools that enable developers to build richer spatial apps, visionOS 2 makes Vision Pro even more powerful.”

Apple Vision Pro starts at $5,999 (including taxes) and is available in 256GB, 512GB and 1TB storage capacities.

iOS18

With the introduction of iOS 18, Apple promises even greater integration of connected household appliances such as televisions, AirPods and robot vacuum cleaners.

The software updates for tvOS 18 include new features such as InSight, which displays real-time information about actors, characters and music from AppleTV+ movies and shows on the screen.

“Users can easily select an actor to view their background and filmography page, or quickly view the song playing in a scene and add it to an Apple Music playlist,” Apple says.

“Viewers can also see InSight information on their iPhone when they use it as an Apple TV remote.”

Enhanced Dialogue uses machine learning and computational audio to provide better vocal clarity over music, action, and background noise. It can be used when listening on secondary devices like AirPods and when playing supported content on iPhone and iPad.

iOS 18 adds guest access to the Home app. “This gives users convenient ways to give guests control over locks, garage doors, and security systems… schedule individual or time-based access to the home with smart locks… and view guest activity history.”

AirPods Pro users have more ways to interact with the personal assistant Siri, including the ability to privately respond to prompts with a simple nod for “yes” or a shake of the head for “no.”

“Using machine learning on the H2 chip, Siri interactions let users answer or decline calls, interact with messages, manage notifications, and more — all without speaking,” Apple says.

“We design our home products to improve people’s lives, and our latest updates underscore that goal by delivering even greater convenience and connection,” said Stan Ng, Apple’s vice president of Apple Watch, Audio, Health and Home Product Marketing.

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