Apple takes the AI plunge: What’s new and why you should care

ConsumerAffairs

But not everyone is a fan, Elon Musk claims it raises security concerns.

Apple recently held its 2024 Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) and revealed some new features and upgrades intended to simplify things for consumers and make better use of artificial intelligence (AI).

Those upgrades and tricks will no doubt send Google and Microsoft's engineers on a long weekend retreat to figure how they’re going to top what they saw. But, Apple’s competitors have a while to try and match the tech giant’s move. The new iOS 18 won’t be coming out until this Fall.

Apple’s probably keeping some of its cards close to its vest, but of those that it showed, ConsumerAffairs thought our readers might like to know about the four that could impact them the most.

But first, not everyone is a fan of the change. Tesla CEO Elon Musk called it an "unacceptable security violation" and said he's considering banning Apple devices at all of this companies. That said, there are new features you might want to know about.

Spotlight on Apple Intelligence

The first “Oh, yeah, we can do that, too” moment came with Apple’s announcement for “Apple Intelligence,” its version of AI.

Apple may be late to the AI party, but maybe it’s just been waiting until its competitors showed all their cards – and made all their mistakes.

At the top of Apple’s new AI pluses is a more psychic Siri. Siri can now tell fortunes better than Madame Marie can, thanks to its ability to team up with other AI platforms, such as ChatGPT-4.

For example, if you’re planning to travel, Siri can now help you plan trips for free, score travel info, and basically become your AI travel bestie. And the best part? You can type to Siri if you're not feeling the voice chat thing.

Another AI upgrade that might bring us Siri naysayers back into the fold is that Siri supposedly has gotten smarter. If you were ever frustrated with Siri’s lack of understanding about what you were trying to ask, fear no more. She’s also gotten pretty zen, too, and will sit there and answer all the questions you want to throw at her in one sitting.

The last thing that Apple Intelligence may revitalize is the K.I.S.S. principle. Let’s face it – we all love technology,  but the fact is that it can be cumbersome and complicated, especially with all the different systems and ways in which apps work and integrate with the devices we use. 

Anisha Bhatia, Senior Technology Analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, told ConsumerAffairs that Apple has hit the simplicity sweet spot like no one else has, at least so far.

“Unlike its competitors, Apple has taken a consumer-friendly approach to explaining the benefits of AI, avoiding technical jargon,” she said. “The emphasis on on-device intelligence and Private Cloud Compute aligns with Apple's narrative around privacy and transparency. Android rival Google’s marketing and messaging around AI has been scrambled at best.”

Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, confirmed that ambition, saying that what it wants the consumer to have in their hands is a “personal context to deliver truly helpful intelligence. … [the ability to] access that information in a completely private and secure way to help users do the things that matter most to them.” 

As an example, Cook said that priority notifications will now appear at the top of the stack, letting you know what to pay attention to at a glance. And those notifications will be summarized, so you can scan them faster.

If there’s something in your inbox that Apple Intelligence senses is important and coming up, it’ll elevate those time-sensitive messages to the top of your inbox, too — like an invitation that has a deadline today or a check-in reminder for your flight this afternoon.

A new password manager

The whole password, privacy, scam, hack thing has gotten ugly in the last year and Apple’s competitors were making some decent advances in protecting their customers, leaving Apple no choice but to catch up if not get ahead.

The company’s accomplishing that with a shiny new password manager app. But the cool thing is that it isn’t just for iPhones and iPads – it’s also coming to Vision Pro, Mac computers, and even Windows PCs.

Reportedly, it’ll manage every single account login you have no matter what the platform, automatically sync your passwords, verification codes, and security alerts. And, if you're into autofill, your passwords will appear in the app automatically, making accounts super secure.

Passkeys are also a priority for Apple. Their intention is to replace traditional passwords with cryptographic keys, therefore eliminating the need to worry about weak, reused, or compromised passwords, and protecting against phishing attacks.

Communicate more effectively

Apple Intelligence is being called upon to also help with a person’s communication. Let’s say you’re having a hard time softening the verbiage of that not-so-happy email you want to send to someone.

In cases like that, Apple Intelligence is supposed to have your back with something called Writing Tools – tools that will allow you to summarize stuff in seconds, whip up quick replies, or even create fun custom emojis based on your texts. 

Another communication plus is that Apple’s new AI will help students or professionals crunch long-winded lectures, text strings, or documents into bite-sized chunks. With enhanced language capabilities, you can summarize a lecture in seconds or summarize a long group topic.

Payment methods are changing, too

Recently, Google moved its tap-to-pay system to Google Wallet to try and simplify things. Now, it’s Apple Pay’s turn. With iOS 18, there will be a new feature called “Tap to Cash” that lets you send and receive Apple Cash by just holding two iPhones together. Another way that the company hopes Apple Pay will prove more convenient for consumers is by allowing credit or debit card rewards to be redeemed and installment plans can be used. 

The event tickets in Apple Wallet are also getting an upgrade. 

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