Apple unveils generative AI assistant for iPhone, iPad and Mac at conference

Apple Intelligence is an entire new AI-powered system running across its platforms (Apple)
Apple Intelligence is an entire new AI-powered system running across its platforms (Apple)

Apple’s annual developer conference, WWDC, saw the traditional wide array of new tools and features unveiled for the firm’s products.

Here is a closer look at the key announcements.

Apple Intelligence

Apple’s take on generative AI assistants to rival ChatGPT, Google’s Gemini and Microsoft’s Copilot is Apple Intelligence, what it calls a personal intelligence system.

In contrast to its rivals, rather than referring to the open web to find results or answer queries, Apple’s system is about drawing the personal context from requests to help simplify tasks.

For example, it can do this by understanding which incoming messages are a priority to you and pushing them to the front of the notification queue or by being able to better schedule appointments in different places by understanding the required journey time and route required.

Built directly into the iPhone, iPad and Mac, the new system also offers in-depth writing tools to improve drafting, tidy up notes or crafting a professional sounding email, while also offering image generation tools across apps, and transcription capabilities via the Notes app.

The image generation tools also extends to a tool to create personal emoji, called Genmoji.

– ChatGPT deal

Beyond Apple’s own generative AI efforts, it also confirmed a much rumoured partnership with ChatGPT maker OpenAI, which will see the popular chatbot integrated into Apple’s software.

For some queries, Apple Intelligence will notice when ChatGPT could be more useful, and ask users if they would like to send the request to OpenAI to be processed through ChatGPT instead.

Apple executives said the company was also keen to do similar deals with other AI chatbots to give users more options for generative AI tools.

– iOS 18

Away from the major AI news, there was Apple’s traditional updates to its range of operating systems.

For iOS 18 – the software that powers the iPhone – the most notable updates centered around privacy, and the Messages app.

On the privacy side, users will be able to lock specific apps, so if they ever hand their phone to someone else, they can keep aspects of their device private.

In a similar move, users will also be able to hide certain apps from view or in a hidden folder.

In Messages, iPhone users will soon be able to schedule messages for the first time, while the company is to also begin supporting the sending of messages via satellite, meaning users can stay in contact with others without WiFi or a data connection.

– watchOS 11

As part of the software update coming to the Apple Watch, users will be able keep track of their exertion through the new Training Load feature, which will tell users when they are above or below their training average, and therefore when to potentially take it easy to prevent injury.

Elsewhere, but also on the health front, a new Vitals app is to be introduced, bringing together all the health metrics the Apple Watch is able to measure together in one place, with notifications sent when a user moves out of their normal ranges.

– iPadOS 18

An established app on the iPhone, the Calculator app is finally being introduced to the iPad.

Not only that, it will come with a Math Notes tool which can instantly and automatically solve calculations and equations.

Apple Pencil, the stylus for the iPad, was also part of the updates, with a new Smart Script tool automatically tidying up handwriting for better, clearer note-taking.

– macOS Sequoia

The next version of the operating system for Apple’s Mac computer will officially be called Sequoia.

The standout feature of that update is a new feature called iPhone Mirroring, which enables users to get full access and control of their iPhone directly from their Mac.