Apple AI Push: A Look at iOS 18’s Top 5 Features

Each year in June, Apple hosts its weeklong Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), showcasing its newest hardware and an ever-growing list of software and services. While every year is significant, the details of how Apple plans to integrate Artificial Intelligence (AI) into its ecosystem made this year’s conference especially important. Investors were bullish on the update and sent the shares to a record high. Here are our five biggest takeaways as Apple prepares to launch its first AI offerings.

ChatGPT Integration in iOS 18

ChatGPT is coming to iOS 18, which will likely become the most integrated and convenient way for over a billion people to utilize ChatGPT. While it has been available via a web browser for the past 18 months, amassing 200 million users, Apple’s ecosystem boasts 2 billion active devices. This integration will enable users to search for recipes, ask questions, or seek advice on various topics, resembling Google’s functionality. For Alphabet investors, ChatGPT poses a potential existential threat to Google’s lucrative search business. Some argue that the need to sift through blue links diminishes when AI can provide concise answers without intrusive ads. However, others point out that Google’s search results are built on the contributions of millions of businesses and individuals, offering more than just answers. For instance, finding a 5-star local plumber through ChatGPT may still rely on businesses advertising on Google. Additionally, this raises questions for Apple, which currently receives a 36% cut of the revenue generated by Google Search on its platform, amounting to about $20 billion annually. Apple’s announcement of “support for other AI models,” such as Google’s Gemini, suggests a potential collaboration, but it also implies a more competitive landscape with multiple AI players sharing the platform.

A Long-Awaited Siri Overhaul

Siri is getting revamped, finally! After 13 years, Siri has become outdated, limited in functionality, and often frustrating to use. Enter Next-Gen Siri, powered by Apple Intelligence, promising to be more powerful, relevant, and natural. Despite Siri handling 1.5 billion requests daily, it still responds in a somewhat robotic fashion, even with the option of a pleasant Australian accent. Previously, if you asked Siri about the weather in California and then subsequently requested a search for hotels, it would be confused about which location. The new Siri will have the memory and contextual understanding to know you mean hotels in California. It will be aware of what you are doing on your phone. Additionally, it will feature more natural language processing, so if you pause mid-thought or say the wrong thing, Siri will understand your intent without going haywire. This overhaul aims to make Siri not only more efficient but also more intuitive and user-friendly, addressing long-standing user frustrations and leveraging advanced AI capabilities.

A New Era of Data Privacy

As Apple adopts artificial intelligence, it embarks on a new era of data privacy. Apple has long positioned itself as devoted to protecting the privacy of its users, but elements of AI require data to be sent, stored, and analyzed on global servers. Apple stresses that many of its AI features are performed on-device, without sending data to Apple. However, this isn’t true for the embedded ChatGPT functionality or queries that require the worldwide web. The challenge lies in how Apple will reference personal data on your phone to make AI relevant to you while leveraging the knowledge of the global internet. As other companies have rolled out AI, we’ve been reminded that humanity is facing a new challenge of data privacy with this technology. How Apple navigates this balance between innovation and privacy will be crucial in maintaining user trust in this new AI-driven era.

Advanced Video Search Capabilities

Artificial intelligence brings a transformative leap in video search technology, allowing users to effortlessly navigate their personal video libraries. Previously, videos could only be classified based on metadata such as date, location, or written descriptions. Now, AI can understand and interpret visual content, enabling precise searches for specific moments, like babies laughing or friends singing Happy Birthday. This advancement significantly enhances how we interact with visual media, making it more accessible and user-friendly. Additionally, Apple introduced Image Playground, a generative AI tool that creates images based on user prompts, demonstrating the growing power and versatility of AI in enhancing user experiences.

Enhanced Customization and Messaging Features

Apple is introducing a customizable home screen, a feature that Android users have enjoyed for many years. For 17 iOS iterations, iPhone users have been confined to a rigid grid layout for organizing apps. Soon, users will have the freedom to place apps wherever they choose and color-code them as they wish, offering a more personalized and flexible experience. Additionally, Apple is addressing a long-standing frustration in messaging by enabling fuller interaction with Android users. This means those green-bubbled friends will finally be able to receive high-resolution images and notifications indicating when messages have been delivered, bridging the gap between iOS and Android messaging capabilities.

These are just a handful of the new features coming to iOS 18 in the Fall. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Genmoji, the ability to create unique emojis is something I’m looking forward to. This is arguably one of the biggest updates to Apple’s operating system in a decade, and it will have an impact on the entire iOS community. It also promises to have an impact on other companies in the space, like Alphabet, Microsoft, and the entire ecosystem of businesses that are accessible via Apple’s platform.

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Completely off topic – I recently recorded my first podcast on Framework with Carson’s Director, Coaching & Advisor Content Ana Trujillo Limon. We discussed our recently launched Women CEO Strategy and the inspiration behind why I created it. Ana is a wonderful and welcoming host, I very much enjoyed being a guest on her podcast. Listen to it here.

For more content by Jake Bleicher, Portfolio Manager click here.

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