Apple announces Apple Intelligence, its multi-modal generative AI service 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. It’s available free on iOS 18.

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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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!”


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