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Apple Bursts Onto the AI Stage with Apple Intelligence, ChatGPT, and Multimodal Siri

Apple revealed its partnership with OpenAI during the Worldwide Developers Conference on Monday, integrating ChatGPT as a core technology in new iPhones, iPads and Macs coming later this year. Apple also officially unveiled Apple Intelligence, the company’s homegrown AI products weaved throughout its operating systems.

Monday’s announcement is the culmination of months-long reported negotiations between Apple, OpenAI, and Google to decide which AI giant would power the iPhone’s premiere chatbot. Nearly two years after ChatGPT burst onto the scene, Apple is adopting OpenAI’s technology outright. ChatGPT 4 Omni will be available on the latest iPhone, Mac, and iPad models later this year, with support built into Siri. While ChatGPT will be reserved for the most complex tasks, Apple said its homegrown AI, Apple Intelligence, will do most of the heavy lifting on devices.

The biggest benefactor of Apple’s AI upgrades on Monday was Siri. Once a largely forgotten feature, Apple made the case at WWDC that Siri could be the main way you interact with your phone. The iPhone maker says Siri will soon be multimodal, which means you can text and speak to interact with Siri, and it can respond to you in either medium. You can also ask Siri to describe and process what’s happening on your screen. Apple also says it upgraded Siri to keep track of plans you made in casual conversations, among other changes to help Siri be more useful.

When you ask Siri a complex question, your device will ask if you’d like to “Use ChatGPT?” to which you can accept or decline. If you accept, your prompt will be run through the generative AI service, and an answer will be displayed natively on your device. ChatGPT will also be integrated into writing and image-generating capacities on your devices. Apple said access will be free for everyone, but paid ChatGPT subscribers can connect their accounts to their Apple products.

Most boldly, Apple claimed Siri can actually use your phone for you, performing certain actions across apps on your behalf. For example, Apple says you can ask Siri to “Flip my camera around” and “Play the podcast my wife sent the other day.” The company says Siri will be able to perform actions on more apps moving forward. This is unchartered territory for AI, but this would make Siri so much more useful. While we’re skeptical of this until we see it, that could mean Apple has cracked action-based generative AI, potentially becoming an industry leader in that regard.

OpenAI’s ChatGPT won that prized default spot on Apple’s products, but Apple noted on Monday it “intends to add support for other AI models in the future.” This could mean that Google Gemini, Anthropic’s Claude, or open-source AI models are coming to Apple devices in the future, and the OpenAI partnership is not exclusive.

Apple also announced a ton of other home-grown AI innovations during Monday’s show. This includes AI-generated emojis called Genmoji, a feature that prioritizes important messages, another that summarizes group chats, and Safari will also create AI summaries of webpages.

The financials of Apple’s deal with OpenAI were not disclosed on Monday, and that element remains unclear. While Google has paid Apple billions of dollars for default privileges on Apple products, OpenAI may require an investment to provide computing of this magnitude. Processing AI requests for billions of people is anything but cheap. If Apple pays OpenAI for this, Microsoft may ultimately benefit from this deal.

While none of these AI features are available just yet, you’ll need the latest hardware to do many of them, so those holding onto their old iPhones will need to upgrade. Apple not only unveiled countless features that competitors have already created, but the iPhone maker potentially broke new ground with certain features. That said, many of these features are expected to slowly roll out over the next year, and we have to see that the technology actually works. We’ve seen tech companies overpromise on AI features before, and we’ll see if Apple’s technology is as impressive as their demos.

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