Apple Should Prioritize Practical AI Over Flashy Features


Google and Microsoft have used their developer conferences to highlight their advancements in generative AI, and now, next week’s Worldwide Developers Conference has all attention focused on the anticipated introduction of Apple Intelligence.

The Cupertino-based company is under substantial pressure. Apple has lagged behind its competitors in the AI arena and likely feels the need to outdo itself to impress both fans and shareholders. However, this should not lead to overpromising features.

Reliability first

Apple produces some of the most widely-used devices globally, and its AI features should enhance their utility. Many AI-powered capabilities depend on the cloud for responses and inputs. Nevertheless, if Apple can execute some useful features locally on the device, users may prefer these ever-available AI services over cloud-dependent tools. Offline transcription capabilities in the Voice Memo and Notes apps could be a fitting start.

Apple is expected to unveil features like notification summaries, web page snapshots, basic text generation, and photo editing. That said, numerous browsers, note-taking apps, and photo-editing tools already offer these functions. Apple must ensure its implementation is exceptionally smooth and seamless to maintain a competitive edge.

Privacy first

Apple is expected to emphasize its privacy-first stance, likely restricting AI features like Siri from freely controlling all apps. According to a Bloomberg report, only the iPhone 15 Pro and devices with M1 or newer chips will support AI features, and they will be opt-in. If accurate, this indicates that despite lagging in AI feature adoption, Apple remains cautious and aims to avoid user backlash.

Recently, Apple faced criticism for its iPad “Crush” advertisement, which depicted creative tools being crushed under a hydraulic press. This was perceived as Apple devaluing creators, their tools, and the effort involved in making art, reducing it to a commercial package. With AI already facing skepticism from creators, Apple might avoid provoking further discontent, opting for a non-controversial approach.

Improving Siri

A significant expectation is that Apple will overhaul Siri to better understand user queries and provide more accurate results. Presently, Siri struggles with multitasking. For instance, if asked to set a 10-minute timer and a 5-minute timer, it sets a single 15-minute timer. These issues might not need generative AI to be fixed, but a Siri update should address them.

If Siri doesn’t receive deeper app integration as anticipated, Apple could simplify user tasks by introducing an AI assistant to help create complex Siri shortcuts for multi-step tasks.

There are rumors that Apple will announce a partnership with OpenAI to enhance AI features across its operating systems. The extent to which Apple Intelligence will rely on this collaboration remains unclear. Given AI’s tendencies for producing errors, Apple may avoid directly integrating content-specific AI features for now.

Many companies make bold claims about AI-powered features but often fall short due to inaccuracies or biases. Companies like Google and OpenAI have had to retract AI features due to mistakes or copyright issues. Thus, Apple may choose not to depend on large language models (LLMs) for content generation.

Ivan Mehta
Ivan Mehta
Ivan covers global consumer tech developments. He is based out of India and has previously worked at publications including Huffington Post and The Next Web.

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