MSP Explained: What is GenAI on iPhone, iPad, and Mac

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Apple recently concluded its keynote at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) 2024. Where the company announced its GenAI capabilities, which it likes to call “Apple Intelligence.” The tech giant is relatively late to the AI party, as companies like Google and Samsung are already betting big on AI with their latest flagship offerings. However, if you are confused with all the fancy monikers around Apple’s GenAI capabilities, then don’t worry. In this MSP Explained article, we will dive deeper into the world of GenAI with a major focus on Apple devices.

What is GenAI?

GenAI, short for Generative Artificial Intelligence, allows users to give different inputs to create new content in the form of text, images, videos, sounds, code, 3D designs, and other media.

It can produce highly realistic and complex content that mimics human creativity, making it a valuable tool for many industries. ChatGPT, Midjourney, Google’s Gemini, and Microsoft’s Copilot are some of the most popular breakthroughs in the landscape of GenAI.

Take Google’s Gemini, for example. It is built on large language models (LLMs), trained on vast amounts of text to learn and generate accurate content. Most generative AI systems operate on a similar model.

How Does GenAI Work?

GenAI works by using neural networks inspired by the neurons in the human brain. These neural networks consist of interconnected nodes that process information in layers. Initially, the model is fed a large amount of training data, such as text or images. The neural network analyses this data through deep learning to identify patterns and features.

During training, the model adjusts the weights of the connections between nodes to reduce the difference between its predictions and the actual data. This process involves techniques like backpropagation and gradient descent. As the model continues to learn, it becomes better at recognising complex patterns and relationships within the data.

Once trained, the GenAI model can generate new data that matches the learned patterns. For example, a text-based GenAI like ChatGPT can produce coherent and contextually relevant sentences. At the same time, an image-based GenAI like Midjourney can create realistic images.

Apple’s Plans for GenAI

Apple is bringing AI magic to its ecosystem via the latest iOS 18, iPadOS 18, and macOS 15 Sequoia. While AI was already available on Apple devices in one form or another, the company has introduced GenAI-driven features for users.

According to the official press release, the tech giant will employ its in-house silicon “to understand and create language and images, take action across apps, and draw from personal context to simplify and accelerate everyday tasks.” The company uses its three billion-parameter Small Language Model (SLM) to perform these AI-based operations, which run locally on the device.

Privacy has always been a concern for GenAI. However, to tackle this, Apple is introducing “Private Cloud Compute” to ensure that AI workloads requiring larger, server-based models run on dedicated Apple silicon servers and do not compromise user privacy or collect user data. According to the company, it uses its own Apple models for all these AI tasks.

Interestingly, ChatGPT will also be accessible directly through Siri, allowing users to utilise all its features without needing an account. However, it’s important to note that Apple Intelligence doesn’t rely solely on ChatGPT. It is just one system component, which includes many other features and capabilities.

According to famous Apple analyst Mark Gurman from Bloomberg, “Apple isn’t paying OpenAI as part of the partnership. Instead, Apple believes that promoting OpenAI’s brand and technology to hundreds of millions of its devices is of equal or greater value than monetary payments.”

The Future of GenAI on iPhone

The future of GenAI on iPhones looks bright at the moment, and Siri is at the forefront of this change. The Cupertino giant has completely revamped its voice assistant, which can now take queries via written and verbal inputs. A user can switch between text or voice, depending on preference.

It now has a new logo, and when you activate the voice assistant, there is a “glowing light around the edge of the screen” instead of that small bubble at the bottom. This indicates that it is a visual expression that Siri is now more aware of what’s happening on the display, and helps you carry out tasks which were earlier impossible without the GenAI.

For example, let’s say a friend texts you their new address in Messages. The user can ask Siri to add it to that friend’s contact card, and the assistant will know exactly what to do.

Moreover, the company claims that Siri can perform hundreds of new actions; from finding a message or email to playing a podcast a friend recommended in a chat.

Furthermore, the company has also introduced a host of new AI features like Genmoji and Image Playground, enabling users to create emojis and images on the go without perfect prompts. There’s also this new tool called Image Wand, which can transform rough sketches into polished images. We have also compiled everything about Apple Intelligence in this story. Check it out!

Google’s Gemini Vs Apple’s Apple Intelligence

It’s an open secret that Apple will face the heat of Google’s Gemini regarding GenAI. The search giant has integrated its AI capabilities, such as Smart Reply in Gboard, Summarise in the Recorder app, detailed summaries of transcriptions, and more, into its Pixel 8 Series.

The Cupertino-based giant, on the other hand, has introduced its own set of AI features, such as Writing Tools for rewriting and proofreading text, Priority notifications, Smart Replies for emails, and more in its latest Pro series iPhones.

However, it’s important to note that these GenAI models are still in their early stages. They’re continually learning and evolving, and their full potential has yet to be realised. The AI battle between Google and Apple is just beginning; only time will tell who will emerge as the winner.

Conclusion

With Apple entering the AI arena, it’s evident that the company will heavily emphasise its AI initiatives, which it prefers not to call Artificial Intelligence. We can expect to see a significant integration of GenAI across the Apple ecosystem shortly. The features announced at WWDC are certainly exciting, but their real-world effectiveness remains to be seen. Plus, we don’t these will compare to Gemini and ChatGPT offerings. Will Apple lead the AI race despite arriving late? Only time will tell how effectively these AI advancements translate to the user experience.