Apple Intelligence Brings AI to the iPhone With ChatGPT Integration and More

Apple's approach with AI is to understand personal context when delivering answers and carrying out tasks.

Lisa Eadicicco Senior Editor
Lisa Eadicicco is a senior editor for CNET covering mobile devices. She has been writing about technology for almost a decade. Prior to joining CNET, Lisa served as a senior tech correspondent at Insider covering Apple and the broader consumer tech industry. She was also previously a tech columnist for Time Magazine and got her start as a staff writer for Laptop Mag and Tom's Guide.
Expertise Apple | Samsung | Google | Smartphones | Smartwatches | Wearables | Fitness trackers
Lisa Eadicicco
6 min read
apple intelligence on iphone
Apple/Screenshot by CNET

Apple Intelligence, the company's long-awaited deeper push into AI, made its debut at the company's Worldwide Developers Conference on Monday. It will be integrated into iOS 18, iPadOS 18 and MacOS Sequoia, and OpenAI's ChatGPT technology will be more deeply tied into those platforms as well. 

AI has played an important role in Apple products for years. But the widespread popularity of OpenAI's ChatGPT chatbot has shone a bigger spotlight on generative AI -- models trained on large swaths of data that can create content in response to prompts. As rivals such as Samsung, Google and Microsoft have been infusing the tech into their most important products, all eyes have been on Apple to see how the company plans to bring generative AI to its own products. At WWDC 2024, we're finally getting that answer.

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Understanding personal context when delivering answers and carrying out tasks is a big part of Apple's approach with Apple Intelligence. Apple seems to be using this tactic as a way to distinguish its own AI efforts from those previously announced by competitors. As an example, the company explained how Apple Intelligence can understand multiple factors like traffic, your schedule and your contacts to help you understand whether you can make it to an event on time. 

Apple also started out the AI portion of its keynote with an emphasis on privacy. It explained how many of its AI models run on-device, which is generally considered to be more private since information doesn't have to travel over the internet. At times when a task may require larger models, Apple will use a system called Private Cloud Compute. When needed, tasks that require more computing power will run on servers Apple has specifically created that run on Apple Silicon. Apple Intelligence will decide whether a task can be processed on-device.

Watch this: Everything Announced at Apple's WWDC 2024

Siri upgrades

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Apple/Screenshot by CNET

Siri is a big part of Apple's AI push. The voice assistant is becoming more natural, relevant and personal with this update. You'll be able to speak in more natural language, and Siri should be able to understand you even if you stumble all over your words. Since it understands context, you can ask follow up questions, and Siri should know what you mean. Apple's virtual assistant will support text input as well. 

It's also getting better at helping you use your iPhone since it will be able to answer questions about specific iPhone features. Over the course of the next year, more Siri updates will be coming. Siri is getting on-screen awareness so that it can take action based on what's on your phone's screen, which sounds similar to the upgraded version of Gemini that Google announced last month. An example might include adding someone's address to their contact card after receiving it in a text message. 

Watch this: Apple Redesigns Siri With AI and Glowing Borders

Siri will be able to take actions within apps, such as sharing photos on your behalf, and will be able to draw on your personal context to help you accomplish tasks. If you ask it when a loved one's flight is landing, for example, it'll cross-reference flight data that may have been shared with you through a text message or email. Siri will also be able to incorporate other information, like upcoming lunch reservations, so you can ask it how long it will take to get from the airport to the restaurant without switching between apps. 

Image generation and productivity 

apple intelligence video search feature on iphone
Apple/Screenshot by CNET

Several of the new features in Apple Intelligence are focused on productivity, similar to tools we've seen from Google and Microsoft over the past year. Apple Intelligence can help you rewrite emails in different styles, for example, and it can highlight and summarize priority notifications. There's also a proofreading tool for checking things like grammar and word choice.

These so-called Writing Tools will be available in iOS 18, iPadOS 18 and MacOS Sequoia across apps like Notes, Mail, Pages and third-party apps. 

Like Microsoft and Google, Apple also wants to use AI to tidy up your email inbox. A new feature called Priority Messages will show the most urgent emails, like a boarding pass, and you'll be able to see email summaries without having to open a message.

As for notifications, priority alerts will appear at the top of the stack, and there will be notifications to help you quickly get a synopsis of important notifications at a glance.

Watch this: Apple introduces Personalized Emojis Called Genmojis

As expected, you'll also be able to create emoji on the fly with a new tool called Genmoji. This allows you to create custom emoji based on text inputs, including the ability to create Genmoji of friends or family based on their photos.  

Apple is also introducing an image generator called Image Playground. You can choose from themes, accessories, places and more, and these environments get added to your playground. If you have something specific in mind, you can type in an idea to add it to your playground.

There are three styles for image generation: sketch, illustration and animation. Since it understands your context, it'll also make suggestions. Image Playground is available as an app, but it'll also be integrated into apps like Messages. All images are created on-device. 

The Notes app is getting a new tool called Image Wand, which lets you circle a rough sketch within a note and open the Image Playground to create a more realistic picture. You'll also be able to record, transcribe and summarize audio in the Notes app. 

Apple Intelligence can also take actions on your behalf. You'll be able to ask it to pull up files from last week, play a podcast that a friend or loved one sent the other day and more. 

The Photos app is also getting enhanced search functionality that lets you find specific images using natural language based on general descriptions, such as "Maya skateboarding in a tie-dye shirt." Google announced a similar feature for Google Photos last month. There's also a new Clean Up tool for removing objects in the background of a photo, which sounds similar to the Magic Editor and Generative Edit features from Google and Samsung. 

One of the more unique features is the ability to create stories in the photos app by typing in a description. For example, you can create a memory movie based on "everything we ate in Japan" or "last summer in our garden" to string together photos that fit those descriptions. 

ChatGPT integration

apple intelligence with chatGPT on screen
Apple/Screenshot by CNET

Apple is also partnering with OpenAI to incorporate ChatGPT into iOS 18, iPadOS 18 and MacOS Sequoia. If you're using Siri, for example, Apple's virtual helper will be able to tap into ChatGPT's expertise when needed to answer a specific question. For instance, if you want to know what types of plants would look nice on your deck, you can snap a photo, and Siri can use ChatGPT to provide an answer.

Notably, Apple says that you'll be asked whether you want to use ChatGPT before using the service to pull up answers. 

Watch this: OpenAI's ChatGPT Is Coming to Apple Apps

Apple's announcement follows similar moves from Samsung, Google, Microsoft and OpenAI. Samsung announced a collection of new AI features called Galaxy AI for its Galaxy phones in January. Galaxy AI, which debuted on the Galaxy S24 series, includes tools that can translate phone calls in real time, erase and resize objects in photos and preview video clips in slow motion. 

Google started 2024 by announcing Circle to Search, a feature for Android phones that makes it possible to launch a Google search just by circling or scribbling on a subject shown on screen. At its I/O conference last month, Google showed how its Gemini assistant will be able to understand more about the apps that are being used. Microsoft also previously unveiled similar AI-powered productivity tools for gathering context from emails and controlling PC settings. 

Apple also announced new software updates for all of its major platforms at WWDC, including new versions of iOS, MacOS, WatchOS, iPadOS and more. The company usually introduces its new iPhone and Apple Watch models in September.

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