Apple enters AI market with Apple Intelligence

Apple has unveiled its long-awaited plans to integrate artificial intelligence into its devices, with 'Apple Intelligence'.

At its annual developer conference in California on Monday, Apple announced a suite of AI-powered features, including text and image generation capabilities, as well as an improved Siri voice assistant.

Notably, the company has partnered with OpenAI to integrate the popular ChatGPT into its phones, tablets and computers.

While the move thrusts Apple into the AI arms race alongside tech heavyweights like Microsoft and Google, the Cupertino-based company has emphasised its commitment to privacy as a key differentiator. Apple claims that most AI processes will be carried out on the device itself, minimising the need for data to leave the user's device.

Any off-device computing will be handled through a new process dubbed ‘Private Cloud Compute’ which Apple said “sets a new standard for privacy in AI”. The initiative promises the ability to flex and scale computational capacity between on-device processing and larger, server-based models that run on dedicated Apple silicon servers.

Additionally, users will have to grant explicit permission before any requests are shared with OpenAI.

The tie-up with OpenAI has drawn the ire of billionaire Elon Musk who while being an initial backer of the AI pioneer has seen his relationship with the firm strained. Musk has accused Apple of an "unacceptable security violation" by integrating OpenAI at the operating system level and has warned that Apple devices will be banned at his companies if the move goes ahead, alleging without evidence that Apple is turning over user data to OpenAI.

The row highlights the diverging perspectives surrounding AI's rapid development and implementation. While some companies are racing to integrate the technology, others are raising concerns about privacy and security.

Apple, which recently lost its position as the world's second-most valuable company to AI chip maker Nvidia, sees AI as crucial to its future. CEO Tim Cook described the new AI features as "indispensable" for the company's products in the years ahead, marking a shift from his more cautious stance on generative AI just a year ago.

During a presentation in which the company presented a swathe of software updates across its entire ecosystem, Apple indicated that the company is open to more deals with other AI chatbots, offering users a range of generative tools while prioritising privacy as a key selling point.

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