AI at Apple

Jun 9, 2024

For some reason, I don’t want to believe that Apple will name its AI features Apple Intelligence — it feels cheap and off-brand.

I also don’t want to believe that Apple will integrate ChatGPT with Siri. Apple is actively doing a lot of work in the machine learning space and is publicly sharing a lot of really cool stuff. Because of that, I really hope they launch something of their own. Yes, I know that iPhone launched with Google search powered Safari, Google Maps & Youtube on the Home Screen, and weather and stocks data from Yahoo.

That being said, here’s a list of 13 ways I believe Apple will integrate AI into their product offering.

  1. All-in on Siri

    • Standalone Siri app: The new standalone Siri app will handle all AI communication, offering a centralized hub for all AI interactions through natural language. The app will allow users to converse with Siri in a more interactive and intuitive manner, handling a wide range of tasks. Since Apple owns the OS, it can integrate easily with third-party apps. Siri is about to become what it was always meant to be.

    • AI powered Spotlight: Siri’s integration with Spotlight on Mac will elevate the search functionality. Users will be able to use natural language to search for files, documents, emails, and information on the web, receiving more accurate and contextually relevant results. For example, asking Siri to find "the presentation from last week" will bring up the exact document based on recent activities and file usage. Siri can also suggest related actions directly within Spotlight, such as scheduling meetings, setting reminders, or creating new documents based on the search context. Spotlight is about to become much more powerful.

  2. AI for accessibility:

    • Live captioning and translation: Real-time transcription and translation for calls, videos, and live conversations, making communication more accessible for users with hearing impairments and breaking down language barriers for multilingual interactions. Enhanced accuracy and context-aware translations improve the overall experience.

    • Voice control improvements: Enhanced voice command recognition and execution for users with mobility impairments, allowing more precise and reliable control of devices and applications. New voice customization options, such as personalized wake words and command phrases, improve accessibility and ease of use. Integration with third-party apps expands the functionality and convenience of voice controls across various tasks and services. This would require updates in third-party apps.

    • I would say this is realistic and valuable for enhancing user experience.

  3. AI in iMessages:

    • Smart replies and suggestions: More advanced predictive text and response suggestions in Messages, powered by AI learning user preferences and communication styles. Context-aware recommendations will provide more relevant and timely responses, and improved language understanding allows for more natural and accurate suggestions. Integration with other apps (like Calendar, and Maps) will enable context-specific replies, like scheduling meetings or sharing locations directly within the conversation. Would have to be clearly communicated to users, and probably turned off by default.

    • Emotion detection: AI detecting the tone or sentiment of messages and suggesting responses accordingly. This helps users in crafting more empathetic and appropriate replies by analyzing the emotional context of the conversation. It can also offer mood-based suggestions, such as sending encouraging messages during difficult times or celebratory responses during happy moments. Integration with mental health apps can provide additional support and resources when negative sentiments are detected.

    • Seems reasonable, given AI's role in communication tools.

  4. Productivity tools:

    • Smart email management: AI sorting and prioritizing emails, suggesting quick replies, and summarizing lengthy emails. Advanced AI features include intelligent filtering that adapts to the user’s evolving priorities, and predictive tagging for better organization. AI in the email client can provide follow-up reminders for unanswered emails, suggest actions like setting up calendar events or creating tasks based on email content, and automatically generate brief summaries of long email threads to save time. Integration with voice assistants will enable hands-free email management, allowing users to dictate and send emails through voice commands.

    • Calendar assistant: AI integration for scheduling, rescheduling, and suggesting optimal meeting times. The assistant can analyze participants' availability and preferences to recommend the best time slots, avoiding conflicts and maximizing productivity. It can automatically adjust meetings based on real-time changes in schedules and send notifications to all participants. Additionally, the AI can propose ideal meeting locations, factoring in time zones, travel time, and convenience. Integration with other productivity tools, like email and task management apps (think Linear, and Notion, etc.), allows seamless creation of calendar events from emails and task lists — currently possible manually with some third-party extensions. The assistant can also provide reminders and preparatory suggestions, such as reviewing relevant documents (based on the meeting agenda) or setting up necessary equipment before meetings.

    • This would be consistent with Apple's focus on productivity.

  5. Advanced personalization features:

    • Contextual suggestions: Siri providing proactive and contextual recommendations based on user habits, location, and calendar events. This includes suggesting relevant apps, actions, or shortcuts tailored to the user's current activity or environment. This already, to some degree, exists in the form of “Siri Suggestions” in Finder, but that’s about it for now. For example, Siri might suggest nearby restaurants around lunchtime (remember, Siri already knows your favorite restaurants based on your Maps favorites), or propose workout reminders based on fitness goals. Enhanced learning capabilities allow Siri to refine suggestions over time, becoming more accurate and personalized. Integration with third-party apps further enriches these recommendations, offering an even better experience across different services and platforms.

    • Smart widgets: Widgets that adapt and change dynamically based on the time of day, user activity, and preferences. Unlike current widgets, these smart widgets will leverage advanced AI to provide proactive, multi-layered insights and actions tailored to specific contexts. For example, a morning widget might not only display weather updates and commute times but also suggest alternative routes in case of traffic, prompt a reminder to bring an umbrella if rain is predicted, and recommend a playlist to listen to during the commute. During work hours, the widget could integrate with productivity apps like Notion and Linear to show project deadlines, and upcoming meetings, and quick-access buttons for frequent tasks. In the evening, it could transition to displaying fitness goals, suggesting relaxation activities based on your stress levels detected via health metrics, and even recommending unwinding activities such as reading articles from your favorite news app. These widgets continuously learn from user behavior and interactions to become more personalized and contextually aware, creating an experience that goes beyond simple app shortcuts.

    • Aligns with Apple's evergrowing push for user-specific features.

  6. Enhanced camera and photo features:

    • AI-powered photo editing: Automated adjustments and enhancements, object removal, and style transfers powered by AI. Imagine the ease of use of the iOS 16 object cutout feature, but with 100× more capabilities. This includes intelligent cropping, color correction, and exposure adjustment to improve photo quality effortlessly. Additionally, users can enjoy seamless background replacement and the ability to add artistic effects or filters that mimic various photographic styles. Think of iOS home screen-level customization, where typography and photo adjustments combine for a cohesive look. This will include advanced AI features such as detecting and enhancing specific elements within a photo, like faces, for optimal clarity and focus. Batch editing powered by AI will save time by applying consistent enhancements across multiple photos simultaneously. Integration with AR features allows users to visualize edits in real-time before applying them, providing a more interactive and precise editing experience. Moreover, users can edit photos and specific parts of photos using natural language prompts, such as "brighten the background," "remove the person on the left," or "apply a vintage filter," making the editing process even more intuitive and user-friendly.

    • Live photo filters: Real-time filters and effects that can be applied while taking photos or recording videos, utilizing AI to enhance quality. Building on the iOS camera's existing capabilities, which already perform numerous live modifications such as HDR adjustments, noise reduction, and scene recognition, these AI-powered filters take it a step further. Users can apply artistic effects, adjust lighting, and enhance colors in real-time, seeing the final result instantly on their screen. The filters can adapt to various conditions, such as low light or high contrast, to ensure optimal photo and video quality. Additionally, the AI can suggest the best filters and effects based on the scene and subjects, providing a seamless and intuitive photography experience.

    • I am still not sure what I think about iPhone camera processing in iOS 17, but would love to see some improvements.

  7. Health and Fitness enhancements:

    • AI-driven workout suggestions: Personalized workout plans and health tips based on user activity data and health metrics. The AI analyzes data from various sources, including wearables (Apple Watch, Whoop, etc.), health apps, and user inputs, to tailor workout routines that align with individual fitness goals and current fitness levels. It can adapt these plans in real-time based on performance and feedback, ensuring continuous progression and motivation. Additionally, the AI provides health tips such as nutrition advice, recovery recommendations, and stress management techniques. Integration with social features allows users to share their progress and challenges with friends, fostering a supportive community. The AI can also suggest suitable workout locations, nearby fitness classes, and compatible equipment, making it easier for users to follow and maintain their fitness routines.

    • Mental health monitoring: AI tools for detecting stress or anxiety through voice analysis and offering support or suggestions. The AI can monitor changes in speech patterns, tone, and pace to identify signs of stress, anxiety, or other mental health issues. It provides real-time feedback and personalized recommendations to help users manage their mental well-being, such as breathing exercises, mindfulness activities, and relaxation techniques. Additionally, the AI can track mood patterns over time, offering insights into triggers and trends. Integration with mental health apps like Headspace and Calm, as well as professional support services such as emergency hotlines, allows users to seek further assistance if needed. The AI can also provide reminders to take breaks (similar to the existing “Stand Up” reminders), encourage healthy habits, and suggest positive content to improve mood, fostering a proactive approach to mental health care. This functionality is enhanced when paired with devices like the Apple Watch (or even maybe Ai Pin, Friend, and Limitless), which can utilize its features to provide a more comprehensive health monitoring system.

    • This is complementary to Apple Watch capabilities and I really believe Watch is the ultimate AI assistant, long-term.

  8. Home and Automation:

    • Smart Home management: Enhanced HomeKit capabilities with AI-driven automation suggestions and anomaly detection (e.g., unexpected activities in the home). A lot of smart home options already exist as automation, such as lights turning on at sunset or thermostats adjusting based on occupancy. The new AI enhancements build on these by offering more personalized and intelligent automation suggestions, learning from user behaviors and preferences to optimize home environments. For instance, the system can recommend energy-saving actions, detect unusual patterns that might indicate security concerns, and even suggest routines to improve overall household efficiency and comfort.

    • Intelligent energy management: AI optimizing energy usage across connected devices and appliances. The AI monitors and analyzes energy consumption patterns to identify opportunities for efficiency improvements, such as turning off unused devices, adjusting heating and cooling systems, and optimizing lighting based on natural light availability. It can provide personalized recommendations to reduce energy consumption and costs, and automatically implement energy-saving measures during peak usage times. Additionally, the AI can integrate with renewable energy sources, like solar panels, to optimize energy production and usage. This feature complements existing smart home options that already automate energy management tasks, further enhancing sustainability and cost-effectiveness in the home.

    • This would naturally extend existing HomeKit features.

  9. Security and privacy enhancements:

    • AI-driven security alerts: Real-time threat detection and alerts for suspicious activities on the device. AI will continuously monitors device activity, identifying potential security threats such as unauthorized access attempts, malware, and phishing attacks. It provides instant notifications to users and suggests actions to mitigate risks. The AI can analyze app behavior and flag suspicious activities from installed apps, especially those downloaded from third-party app stores. This proactive approach ensures protection, even when using apps outside the official ecosystem, enhancing overall device security.

    • Privacy Insights: AI analyzing app behavior and data usage to provide users with better control and understanding of their privacy settings. The AI monitors how and when apps access and use personal data, and offers detailed reports and visualizations to help users make smarter decisions about their data & privacy. It can suggest adjustments to privacy settings to enhance security and limit data exposure.

    • Crucial given Apple's privacy commitments, but would love to see other improvements here as well.

  10. Gaming and entertainment:

    • AI-powered game assistants: Virtual assistants providing tips, walkthroughs, or even in-game help using AI. These assistants can offer real-time strategies, detect player difficulties, and suggest solutions to improve gameplay. They can adapt to individual play styles, offering personalized advice and tips to help players advance through challenging levels or achieve specific objectives. Additionally, the AI can analyze gameplay patterns to provide insights on improving skills and recommend new games based on user preferences and performance. Integration with social features allows players to share achievements and tips with friends, enhancing the gaming experience through community engagement.

    • Personalized content recommendations: Enhanced AI algorithms for recommending music, movies, and other media based on user preferences and listening/viewing habits. The AI analyzes user behavior, such as watch history, likes, and interactions, to deliver highly personalized suggestions. It can identify patterns and trends in user preferences, recommending not only popular content but also niche and emerging media that align with individual tastes. The AI continuously learns and adapts to changing preferences, ensuring recommendations remain relevant over time. Additionally, it can integrate with social features to suggest content based on friends’ activities and preferences, enhancing discovery through shared interests. Real-time contextual recommendations provide tailored content suggestions for different times of day or activities, such as workout playlists in the morning or relaxing movies in the evening.

    • Enhances user engagement, but to me personally, this is the least interesting category because I still can't see the iPhone as a gaming device/console, even though the device itself is capable of running very demanding games.

  11. Development tools:

    • AI integration in Xcode: AI tools and frameworks designed to help developers code more efficiently in Xcode. These will include AI-powered code completion, context-aware code snippets, and entire functions, reducing the need for repetitive typing. Also, intelligent error detection and debugging tools automatically identify and suggest fixes for common coding errors, helping to streamline the development process. AI can also provide real-time documentation and examples as developers write code, offering instant access to relevant information without leaving the editor. AI can analyze the developer's coding patterns and habits to provide personalized tips and shortcuts. Integration with project management tools allows AI to offer insights into task prioritization and workflow optimization, ensuring that development projects run smoothly and efficiently.

    • ARKit enhancements: AI-driven improvements in AR experiences, including better object recognition, environmental understanding, and interactive AR elements. The AI enhances object recognition accuracy, enabling more precise and detailed interactions with virtual objects. Improved environmental understanding allows for more realistic and stable placement of AR elements in the real world, adapting to various lighting conditions and surface textures. AI also enables dynamic and interactive AR elements that respond to user actions and environmental changes in real-time, creating more immersive experiences. Additionally, AI-powered tools can assist developers in creating AR content, offering automated suggestions for optimizing performance and visual quality. These enhancements open up new possibilities for educational, gaming, and productivity applications, making AR experiences more engaging and accessible to users.

    • Supports Apple's developer ecosystem and would make sense.

  12. AirPods + Watch LLM agent / friend / assistant support:

    • Context-Aware Assistance: Leveraging the sensors and data from AirPods and Apple Watch, the AI agent can provide highly contextual and personalized assistance. For instance, the agent can detect elevated stress levels or physical activity and suggest appropriate actions such as taking a break, practicing breathing exercises, or offering hydration reminders. This real-time, context-aware support ensures users receive timely and relevant advice, enhancing their overall well-being and daily productivity.

    • Natural language interactions: Using large language models, the AI agent can engage in natural and intuitive conversations with users. This allows for seamless execution of tasks, such as setting reminders, sending messages, or providing updates on health metrics. The ability to understand and respond to complex queries makes interactions more efficient and user-friendly, significantly enhancing the usability and functionality of both AirPods and Apple Watch.

    • Leverages existing hardware and would be a huge win for Apple in the world of (objectively) very bad standalone AI assistant devices.

  13. AI-generated stickers:

    • Personalized stickers: AI-generated stickers for enhancing communication and self-expression in messaging apps. The AI can create personalized stickers based on user preferences, recent photos, or even text prompts. Integration with the camera and photo library allows users to generate stickers from their own images, adding a personal touch to their communications. We’ve seen Meta doing something very similar, and people having thoughts on it. We’ll see how that goes for Apple.

    • Smart sticker recommendations: The AI can analyze the tone and content of conversations to suggest appropriate stickers, making interactions more engaging and dynamic. These stickers can adapt to the context of the conversation, providing relevant and fun visual elements.

    • Adds a fun, personalized touch to messaging, but that's about it. It would be interesting to see how people use it.