The Biggest Announcements at Apple WWDC 2024

The Biggest Announcements at Apple WWDC 2024

Apple’s 35th annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) was held on June 10 during which the Cupertino giant shared exciting news about what the future of Apple looks like. One of the most eagerly awaited announcements was about Apple’s tie up with OpenAI and what its integration into the Apple OS — iOS 18, MacOS, iPadOS, watchOS and tvOS — could mean for the future of these devices in the coming days.

In the event that went on for almost two hours, Apple also announced a slew of updates to its operating systems aimed to improve how users use Apple’s devices. We look at some of the most significant announcements and what it means for you.


For Apple, AI Means Apple Intelligence!

The most anticipated announcement at this year’s WWDC event was Apple Intelligence — Apple’s new family of AI features.


Ever since OpenAI released ChatGPT at the end of 2022 igniting the AI race and the search for Artificial General intelligence (AGI), all the Big Tech companies have been racing towards integrating it into their products and services. Apple, which had been reportedly trying to build its own AI product, has for the present launched an AI system after a tie up with OpenAI was made public last month.


Apple Intelligence “puts powerful generative models at the core of iPhone, iPad and Mac” devices. This integration gives Apple’s native apps several new capabilities such as generating images, text summaries, etc.


You will see Apple Intelligence make its presence through every Apple platform even when you’re working with third-party apps. It’ll be entirely free, and available on iOS 18, iPadOS 18 and macOS Sequoia — first through their beta releases, before Apple rolls out the full versions later this year.


Apple says it’s emphasizing on security features to ensure a safe use experience. According to Apple, the systems on your device will decide whether it will use the on-device processing to complete the task or if it needs to contact Apple’s private cloud computing server.


But this has not stopped certain voices from sharing the skepticism regarding user privacy. One of the biggest critics of Apple’s announcements was none other than Elon Musk who has over the past few months made his displeasure about the way OpenAI operates known publicly.


In a post on X (formerly Twitter), Elon Musk went as far as to threaten banning the use of Apple devices in his company’s premises if it goes ahead with its plan of integrating OpenAI’s features on its devices.


According to Musk, the software integration between the two companies is “an unacceptable security violation,” and that Apple has “no clue what’s actually going on.”


Apple is set to offer its range of AI services for free on the iPhone 15 Pro and above. Apple Intelligence will also be available for iPads and Macs running on an M1 chip or later.


The New Siri (Powered by ChatGPT)

When Apple first introduced its inbuilt voice assistant Siri in 2011, it was one of the first companies to give customers a glimpse into how AI could shape our world — and it looked a pretty good one back then! But the following years have seen very few new capabilities being added to the voice assistant.


Apple has now partnered with OpenAI to bring a slew of new features to Siri on the iPhone through its iOS 18 update set to be launched this fall. Apple’s iPadOS and MacOS will also get enhanced Siri capabilities.


The update will bring about a change to Siri’s visual presentation with the voice assistant now sporting a new glowing light around the edges of your iPhone’s screen when the assistant is listening to your request or generating a response. In addition to the visual upgrade, Siri gets a performance boost with an “on-screen awareness” that’ll make it easier to integrate with apps.


Whenever Siri can’t answer a question directly, it can plug into ChatGPT-4o’s cloud wisdom to keep you up to speed. The only limitation is that the new Siri is only available to those with specific devices as stated earlier as it’s powered by Apple Intelligence.


Apple’s insistence on making AI usage secure means that you will be asked before your query is sent to ChatGPT along with notifications for any files or images that you intend to share. Although users will be able to ask queries without having to login, you can access ChatGPT’s premium features from your Apple device if you have a paid subscription to ChatGPT.


The Biggest Announcements at Apple WWDC 2024 - img02

(Apple users will be asked before any questions are sent to ChatGPT, along with any documents or photos, and Siri then presents the answer directly. Image source: Apple)


According to reports, Apple was exploring tie ups in talks with both Google and OpenAi. Eventually deciding to partner with OpenAI.


Apple asserts Siri is smarter than before, now that it’s backed by ChatGPT’s vast learning models. And all this computing power helps it answer multiple questions asked together. Siri is intelligent enough to understand that these questions are contextually linked and to give a relevant answer.


Siri can carry out more tasks than ever before (which makes the personal assistant more helpful) and you can ask Siri questions by typing it out.


AI Everywhere! In Photos, Emails and More


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(Apple Intelligence summarizes emails, articles, and generates auto responses. Image source: Apple)


If it wasn’t obvious that AI was the central theme at this year’s WWDC, this will make it so. Apple is pulling out all the stops and putting AI into everything that you may use with its upcoming iOS 18 update.


With this, Apple hopes to catch up with its other Big Tech rivals — who, as far as general perception goes, have left Apple far behind in the AI race.


Apple Intelligence in the latest mobile OS can help you summarize emails, generate (more intelligent) auto responses and even create images with its brand new offering — Image Playground.


You can also use Apple Intelligence’s summarization capabilities to give you the highlights of an article you came across on a website or when you’re catching up with a torrent of messages on a boisterous WhatsApp group after some time away.


Apple is not the first to flaunt its AI summarization capabilities, but it did make it a point to state that most of these functionalities will be processed directly on the device and reiterated its notification feature when it needs to access the cloud-based AI capabilities to give the requested information.


The Cupertino company’s actions showed that it was aware of the possible pitfalls of the technology. This was evident in the disclaimers Apple displayed prominently in its presentation.


Slides that mentioned its tie up with ChatGPT contained a “Check  important info for mistakes” sentence to warn users of the tendency of AI models to hallucinate.




The Biggest Announcements at Apple WWDC 2024 - img04

(Apple’s new Genmoji feature allows you to create your own emojis. Image source: Apple)


Apple showed off its new Genmoji feature that lets you create Memoji-type graphics you can use as stickers. You can create your own emojis with simple text prompts. Image Playground also lets you rework existing graphics to make your images more personal and lets you add context and images too for you to use within apps.


Apple allows you to use Genmoji in the iMessage, Keynote, Pages and Freeform apps and an Image Wand in the Notes app, which is housed in the tool palette.


iPhone Gets RCS Support (Finally!)


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(iOS 18 allows you to format fonts on your messages app. Image source, Apple)


Apple had announced it would support messages sent using the Rich Communications Service (RCS) protocol last year, but there was no update as to when that would happen. Well, it’s slated to happen with the latest iOS update.


Apple did not give any further information on this, although they did share a few other interesting new features coming to the iMessage app. You can now schedule messages to be sent at a later time or date (a feature already available on Android).


With iOS 18, you can now send SMS via satellite. Apple’s introducing colorful tapbacks (reactions) to messages and will allow you to stylize your messages by bolding, underlining, and italicizing text.


Apple Photos’ New Clean Up Feature

With the latest update, the Apple Photos app will now enable you to clean your photos using its “Clean Up” feature. Google already introduced this feature in its Pixel range of handsets, and Apple — quick to identify that it’s a popular feature — has included it across all its software updates — the iOS, iPadOS, and macOS. The Clean Up feature allows you to circle a specific area of an image to remove objects or individuals from the background.


Apple has improved the search capabilities in the Photos app, making it easier for users to find images that hold a special place in your heart. You can now view all the images in your Photos app in a single view containing a photo grid and a date grid.


Other Long Awaited Features in iOS18


The Biggest Announcements at Apple WWDC 2024 - img06

(iOS 18 allows you to categorize mails in your inbox, customize app colors and themes on your home screen, and lock specific apps. Image source: Apple)


While the spotlight during WWDC was on the AI features, Apple did manage to impress with its announcements on the updates that users can expect with iOS18. Here is a list of the some of the important upgrades:


    • App Lock: Hide or lock specific apps and app data to make it inaccessible to others. So even if you give your phone to someone else, they won’t be able to access these locked apps.
    • App placements: iPhone users can modify app icons placements on your home screen. You can customize colors and themes for each icon as well as your home screen.
    • Control Center: You can place your Control Center on the home screen and choose which apps to see on the lock screen.
    • You can segregate your Control Center into multiple groups and alsoresize them.
  • Apple Mail allows you to categorize mails to better organize your inbox.
  • Apple Maps gets a new feature that shows topographic maps and hiking trails, including national parks.
  • Apple Wallet adds a new “tap to cash” feature that allows you to share cash with others without giving out confidential information.


Buy the Apple Vision Pro in Your Country

The Biggest Announcements at Apple WWDC 2024 - img07

Apple’s Vision Pro headsets literally and figuratively turned heads upon launch for various reasons. Until now, the Vision Pro has only been sold in the US and its sales have been lower than expected. But that has not deterred Apple from making it more widely available.


Apple has started accepting pre-orders for the Vision Pro in China, Hong Kong, Japan, and Singapore from June 13 and will start shipping from June 28.


If you’re in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, or the UK, you’ll have to wait for 2 more weeks with Apple beginning pre-orders from June 28 and making them available from July 12. In the UK, the device is priced at £3,499, while Apple is yet to release prices for other regions.


Apple Releases visionOS 2

Apple’s latest hardware, Vision Pro, in its second year of existence, gets some handy new features by virtue of visionOS 2. The latest version brings spatial photos with which you can create 3D photos out of any image in your library and share them with others using the new live share mode.


visionOS 2 comes with more size options for Mac displays. So instead of having only a 16:9 4K display, you can choose to view the display in a large ultrawide display that will take your productivity to a whole new level.


Apple has developed an API that developers can use to create engaging board games that can be directly projected on a table.


Use Your iPadOS to Calculate!

Probably (surprisingly) the biggest cheer of the event was reserved for Apple’s announcement of a Calculator app for the iPad. It’s probably one of the most curious quirks of the iPad that a $1,000 device doesn’t have a simple tool to add or subtract numbers!


Users would have to download third-party apps for calculations. This was the source of many funny memes at Apple’s expense over the years. Whatever the reason — whether the memes or whether Apple really felt that iPad users deserve a Calculator app — they have finally released a Calculator app for the iPad with the iPadOS 18.


Apple has gone the extra mile by giving the app some cool features such as a sidebar that shows recent calculations and a resizable window.


Apple has introduced a new Math Notes integration. With this, you can now use an Apple Pencil to write equations that the app will automatically solve once you write an equal sign. You can also change the various values in the equation and see the results in real time.


watchOS Gets Some Nifty Capabilities

While Apple included a host of AI features in its iPad and iOS updates, the latest upgrade to Apple Watch’s watchOS 11 failed to get any of these. That said there are a few handy capabilities Apple’s given to fans of their wearable tech.


For starters, watchOS 11 comes with more intuitive widget stacks, which will make using your Apple Watch easier. It has a new Vitals app that gives some great insights into how your body reacts to and recovers from stress.


Apple’s new Training Load score uses a proprietary algorithm for a tangible score that helps you understand how well you respond to training of a certain type. The algorithm uses parameters like average heart rates, resting heart rate and combines this data with an individual’s age and weight.




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