Apple Intelligence has landed, giving Siri the ChatGPT treatment and adding new AI-powered features and functions

Apple’s 2024 Worldwide Developers Conference marked the debut of Apple Intelligence, the company’s long-awaited riposte to Silicon Valley’s current AI obsession

Apple Intelligence at Apple WDC2024
Apple Intelligence, shown at Apple WDC2024, promises to overhaul the user experience
(Image credit: Apple)

With Google and Microsoft recently using their big annual keynotes to double down on their commitment to AI in all its forms, it wasn’t hugely surprising to find that Apple has just done the same at their 2024 Worldwide Developers Conference.

Apple Intelligence at Apple WDC2024

Apple has integrated ChatGPT into its operating systems

(Image credit: Apple)

Enter, Apple Intelligence

Called, naturally, Apple Intelligence, the company claims its approach will set ‘new standard[s] for privacy in AI,’ as it rolls out a ‘personal intelligence system’ for the iPhone, iPad and Mac. Microsoft recently got a lot of flack for announcing powerful AI features without fully considering their privacy implications, so it’s not surprising to find Cupertino treading more carefully with features like ‘Private Cloud Compute’.

Apple Intelligence at Apple WDC2024

A smarter Message app foregrounds more pressing communications

(Image credit: Apple)

Put simply, Apple Intelligence wants to keep AI processing locked down in a secure circuit between your Apple device and the company’s own servers, banishing any worries of third parties swooping in to learn from your data. The first fruits of the tech will be language-centric models to help with writing and proofing, a systemwide set of ‘Writing Tools’ that is not app-dependent.

Apple Intelligence at Apple WDC2024

iOS now includes many more customisation options

(Image credit: Apple)

Apple Intelligence forms the backbone of an overhauled Siri, which becomes a far more intuitive voice companion. Keen to regain the crown of most personal AI assistant, part of Siri’s glow up includes ChatGPT integration across all the new operating systems, without the need for a ChatGPT account. The newest build of Apple’s desktop OS, macOS Sequoia, will incorporate all these advances, as will the latest version of iOS, 18, the new iPadOS 18 and watchOS 11.

Apple Intelligence at Apple WDC2024

The look and feel of iPadOS 18 can be user-defined more than ever

(Image credit: Apple)

Mail will be scanned to foreground the most important messages (i.e. date or time dependent), and the same will happen for Notifications. Apple Intelligence has all this and more, such as the new audio transcription function in Notes. An AI-powered creativity app, Image Playground, taps into the thirst for image creation, as well as generative emojis, and an ‘Image Wand’ tool that can transform your circled scribbles into something more presentable. 

The Photos app now has a similar background object removal tool as Google’s Pixel series, and the Memories function will whip up ‘the best photos and videos based on a user’s description, craft a storyline, and arrange it all into a movie with its own narrative arc.’ 

Apple Intelligence at Apple WDC2024

The Memories function creates an automated short movie

(Image credit: Apple)

These features are all baked into to iOS 18, which also offers unprecedented levels of user control over the look and feel of their device and icon placement. On top of this, there’s the new ‘Messages via satellite function,’ which uses encrypted satellite connectivity to communicate when there’s no WiFi or cell service. The old school Keychain app has been replaced by a new password manager, called simply Passwords, and new privacy measures include the ability to lock and hide apps. Much of this functionality was also present in iPadOS 18, including the customisation options.

Apple Intelligence at Apple WDC2024

Apple Watch with watchOS 11 offers new health tracking and display options

(Image credit: Apple)

There were also new updates to the evergreen AirPods, further integrating Siri into the device (nod or shake your head silently to respond to Siri when using the AirPods Pro), along with the addition of Voice Isolation, designed to strip out intrusive background noise. 

Apple Intelligence at Apple WDC2024

Apple AirPods Pro

(Image credit: Apple)

Apple doubled down on their commitment to the Vision Pro headset, with the announcement of an upgraded visionOS 2 and the launch of the spatial computing device in the Far East, Australia and parts of Europe. Elsewhere, Apple Watch received health-centric updates including the new Vitals app to oversee and track your sleep health, and the new watchOS 11 has better customisation features, including the ability to stack different layers of information. 

Apple Intelligence at Apple WDC2024

New visionOS 2 improve the Apple Vision Pro experience

(Image credit: Apple)

We’re entering a new era of auto responses, smart summaries and transcriptions as the big tech companies throw AI functionality at every aspect of our digital lives. Where technology was once something to master and learn to manipulate, the new breed of Smart OS won’t just hold your hand, it’ll check your pulse, remember the milk, screen your calls and improve your penmanship, all without asking. Are we ready to cede our hard-won expertise to a machine that’s always one-step ahead, powered by the supposed wisdom of the crowds? 

Apple WDC2024, more information at Apple.com

Jonathan Bell has written for Wallpaper* magazine since 1999, covering everything from architecture and transport design to books, tech and graphic design. He is now the magazine’s Transport and Technology Editor. Jonathan has written and edited 15 books, including Concept Car Design, 21st Century House, and The New Modern House. He is also the host of Wallpaper’s first podcast.