iOS 18 with Apple Intelligence is here – iPhones now also with AI

Not surprisingly, Apple unveiled iOS 18 at WWDC today with many new features, including Apple Intelligence AI.
Apple WWDC24 iOS 18 iPhone-15-Pro-3-up-240610

Unsurprisingly, Apple today unveiled iOS 18, the next version of its iPhone operating system, at its Worldwide Developer Conference. It’s set to be available for various iPhones this fall.

Apple Intelligence

As expected, the main new addition was Apple Intelligence, the company’s own AI, available for devices with A17 chipsets and all M-series processors. It’s about personalized AI tools to help you with your daily tasks – such as prioritizing notifications. In addition, writing tools for rewriting (with multiple versions), proofreading or summarizing text are available in all apps. The Mail app also gets Smart Reply suggestions and the ability to display priority emails at the top of your inbox.

Apple was keen to point out that its AI is “based on your personal data and context” and can point to what you’re looking for on your screen. But with Apple’s AI comes “powerful privacy protection” thanks to on-device processing. This means the AI ​​knows your personal data, but doesn’t collect it.

Apple’s AI also lets you create images that are appropriate for your conversations based on your friends’ data. Sketch, illustration, and animation are the three styles you can create images in using Apple’s Image Playground. It’s built into many native apps, but it’s also available as a standalone tool. Each image is created on the device.

“Genmoji” is also there. Yes, it means generative AI emoji, and it’s exactly what you think. You can create Genmojis based on a person’s picture, and the AI ​​lets you search for images and videos using natural language. The Clean Up tool is Apple’s AI eraser that helps you remove unwanted people and objects in photos.

Memories lets you create a video story by simply typing a description. It uses speech and image recognition to select the best photos and videos based on the description. You even get matching song suggestions.

You can record, transcribe, and summarize audio in the Notes and Phone apps. If you record a phone call, participants will be notified, and once it’s over, you’ll get a summary.

Apple Intelligence uses rich language and distribution models. Private Cloud Compute makes it possible to fall back on server-based models for more complex queries. The servers “provide the privacy and security of your iPhone” because they never store your data. These promises will apparently be independently verifiable.

A big leap forward is coming to Siri, which definitely needed one. The assistant has a new look and promises to understand more natural language. Siri also remembers the context of your conversation and you can now tap on it. You can also ask it questions about iOS features.

Over the next year, Siri will be familiar on the screen and you’ll be able to use it to operate apps. So Apple’s rumored deal with OpenAI is also real. You’ll now get ChatGPT in iOS 18, which you can access through Siri. ChatGPT is also integrated into the system-wide typing tools.

Your requests and information will not be logged. If you’re already subscribed to ChatGPT, you can log in to use your premium features. ChatGPT is coming “later this year,” so it may not be available at launch — or at least not when the first iOS 18 beta arrives.

More iOS 18 Features

iOS 18 also has more customization features than ever before. You can further customize your home screen, like putting things in the grid in any order you want, changing the colors of app icons to complement the wallpaper (or not), and Control Center is now more customizable too – with multiple pages and an API so developers can offer you custom controls for their third-party apps.

You can now lock apps to keep them safe from prying eyes, and you can choose which contacts apps can see so they don’t have to have access to all of them if you share your iPhone with them. The new Passwords app lets you access your passwords, but also passkeys, Wi-Fi passwords, and verification codes in one place. The app warns you about common vulnerabilities like passwords that are easy to guess or used multiple times, as well as those that crop up in known data leaks.

Messages will get “tapbacks” (what Apple actually wants to call a word) with any emoji or sticker – don’t call them reactions. There’s also support for scheduled messages, as well as text formatting with bold, underline, and italics, and effects like jitter, shake, and bounce. Oh, and on that note, the company also confirmed that RCS support will be included in iOS 18. Two-way satellite messaging will also be available, with end-to-end encryption included.

The Mail app will get on-device categorization with “Primary,” “Transactions,” “Updates,” and “Promotions” categories – yes, this is reminiscent of what Gmail introduced many, many years ago. There are also “Summaries” of each category to quickly browse through.

Maps has new topographical maps with hiking routes that can be accessed offline, Wallet gets Tap to Cash as a way to swap Apple Cash by simply holding two iPhones together, Journal gets an Insights view and you can search for past entries. Game Mode is coming to iOS, minimizing background activity during gaming sessions and significantly improving responsiveness with game controllers and AirPods.

Photos has received a redesign that Apple is calling its biggest yet. It reminds us of Sony’s Xperia album from 2016, but maybe that’s just us. The app now opens as a grid, with the library at the bottom. You get “collections” (which you can pin to the top) for things like people and pets, and you can filter out things like screenshots. The app also sorts images by faces for quick access to shots of your friends and family.

iOS 18 will be available as a public beta in July and released to the public in the fall. A developer beta is already available for those who want to test their apps on the new platform.

All currently supported iPhones will get iOS 18, but most will lack AI features

And there’s more good news: All iPhones currently running iOS 17 will also support iOS 18. That means the 2018 iPhone XR, XS, and XS Max remain the oldest models still supported (they turn 6 this September). The original iPhone SE was dropped with iOS 16 (to be fair, it’s from 2016). But the 2nd generation (from 2020) and 3rd (2022) are still on the update list.

However, only the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max will get Apple Intelligence, which will remain in beta even after the full rollout of iOS 18. That means no iPhone 15 and 15 Plus, and certainly no older models. The two 15 Pro models are the only ones that use the Apple A17 Pro chipset. Older A-series chips are not supported.

The Neural Engine in the A17 Pro can deliver up to 35 TOPS. The A16 Bionic, on the other hand, offers only 17 TOPS, less than half the computing power. Some AI tasks run on a server (Apple’s Private Cloud Compute), but others on the device itself. Accordingly, there is of course a minimum performance requirement.

Apple Intelligence remains in beta even after the full release of iOS 18

According to Mark Gurman of Bloomberg, the Apple Intelligence AI features are still in beta. Not only with the first beta versions of iOS 18 and iPadOS 18, but also in the fall when the final versions of iOS 18 and iPadOS 18 come out. Accordingly, the journalist assumes that the first releases will be particularly buggy. Some people with knowledge of the builds are even surprised that Apple is releasing them in such a state.

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