/ 12 June 2024

Taking a bite of the AI-pple

AI phone

The Squiz 

Apple has unveiled its plans to wade into the world of artificial intelligence (AI), announcing a new partnership with ChatGPT’s maker OpenAI. It’ll see the generative AI software installed on iPhones and other Apple devices in its iOS 18 system update later this year to give users a “personalised” service – the cornerstone of which is a makeover for Siri, Apple’s voice assistant. Other tools to help write text, create images, transcribe audio and edit photos will also be added. The suite of upgrades is called ‘Apple Intelligence’ (which may or may not be a deliberate play on ‘AI’…), with chief executive Tim Cook saying their “unique approach combines generative AI with a user’s personal context to deliver truly helpful intelligence”.

Will this affect me?

If you have an iPhone (and about 60% of Aussies with a smartphone do…), it almost certainly will. And if you’re someone who’s yet to get on board the generative AI train, consider this another push in that direction… But you might be wondering why it’s happening now, given AI is something we’ve been hearing a lot about for more than 18 months… The reason Apple has made a big song and dance about its new features is that the company’s been criticised for being slow to adopt the tech, causing it to fall behind its competitors… In January, Apple lost its position as the world’s most valuable company to longtime rival Microsoft, and just last week, it was pushed down the list again as tech company Nvidia – which makes hardware and software to aid machine learning – overtook it with a market value of more than US$3 trillion.

So what now?

Well, if you’re eager to try out the new tech, you might like to start a countdown calendar – Apple says the iOS updates will be released in the “fall”, so any time from September on… One tech expert says Apple is “taking the time to be careful” to ensure the software “actually solves problems” for users. Someone who’s less positive is tech billionaire/founder of his own OpenAI rival Elon Musk – he’s called the update “an unacceptable security violation” because “Apple has no clue what’s actually going on once they hand your data over to OpenAI”. Musk isn’t the only one with privacy concerns – but Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering Craig Federighi reckons the AI “will be aware of your personal data without collecting your personal data”. Siri, let us know how that plays out…

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