Apple is joining the AI ​​race with a major update to its Siri voice assistant

Apple announces a new version of Siri

Noos News

  • Nando Castelline

    Technical Editor

  • Nando Castelline

    Technical Editor

Apple is starting to catch up with artificial intelligence. The American tech giant has announced major changes to its virtual voice assistant, Siri. This is the biggest update since the feature was first released in 2011.

Thus, the company joins the battle that was sparked by OpenAI’s ChatGPT more than a year and a half ago and in which Google and Microsoft are now also involved. So a major player is joining us. Although Apple refuses to call it “AI,” the company calls it “Apple Intelligence.”

Because, as CEO Tim Cook said during the presentation, “This is beyond artificial intelligence, this is personal intelligence and the next big step for Apple.” Of course, this is advertising speak, but the fact that the company is putting so much effort into not having to say AI also gives a strong impression that the company is hoping to differentiate itself from the rest.

Apple’s announcement comes at a time when the competition has also announced a lot in recent months. For example, the latest phones from Google (Pixel) and Samsung (Galaxy) are equipped with AI functions. The same applies to computers running the Microsoft operating system. That company also recently announced new AI features. Apple is actually the only party that has been missing from the “AI party.”

Major update to Siri

This is now changing with a major update to Siri. Although Siri was first on the market in 2011, the virtual assistant has been lagging behind the rest for some time.

The promise is that it will soon be possible to communicate with Siri in a more human way (which Google and OpenAI already offer) and that the AI ​​assistant can communicate information from all kinds of different apps.

The presentation gave the example of someone asking her what time she had to pick up her mother from the airport, where they were going to have lunch, and how far it was between the two places. The information came from an email, text message, and the Maps app.

In addition, Siri will soon provide summaries via email, the system can provide assistance in rewriting portions of text and can create AI-powered images, such as a birthday card containing a friend’s face. Thumbnail summaries of a web page will soon be available in Safari, Apple’s browser. Then the most important information is displayed.

In all of this, Apple emphasizes that privacy is of the utmost importance. This has been an important selling point for the tech giant for years. For example, the company states that questions will initially be handled on the devices themselves. If this fails, it will switch to only the server in the data center.

Collaboration with ChatGPT

Without saying it out loud, Apple also had to acknowledge that there are limits to what its technology can do. It announced a partnership with OpenAI’s ChatGPT, which will be integrated into Siri. Interestingly, the privacy terms there are different. In an effort to fix this, users will need to give consent before sending data to OpenAI.

Remarkably, OpenAI head Sam Altman was a guest at the presentation — he was in the audience — but he did not appear in the presentation:

OpenAI President Sam Altman was a guest during Apple’s presentation

Compared to third-party announcements, Apple’s update to Siri may seem a bit late. At the same time, the company is known to not get involved in new developments at first, but rather later.

This is often good. This is also because the company has a loyal user base of hundreds of millions of people. When Apple adopts something, by definition it changes the balance in the market.

Making mistakes

It is also not unlikely that Apple will want to wait for some time, because it has seen that Google has made mistakes several times in using new artificial intelligence functions. In this regard, the question is how Apple will perform in this area. So-called generative AI, which will also soon be coming to Apple’s systems, is also known to make mistakes.

It will take some time before all Apple users are able to experience all of these AI functions. The apps will only work on iPhone 15 Pro devices and Apple computers that have their own computer chip. It remains to be seen how quickly Dutch consumers can use all the functions; Initially it worked only in English.

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