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12 June 2024

Apple unveils AI features at WWDC24 – The implications of the announcement

Apple’s two-hour-long Worldwide Developer Conference was chock full of announcements. But by far the biggest news was Apple’s introduction of its own artificial intelligence model, Apple Intelligence. In this week's news blog, we take a look at the implications of the announcement.

Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC24) created waves this week with the highly anticipated announcement of a partnership between OpenAI and Apple.

This groundbreaking collaboration aims to integrate Generative AI (GenAI) capabilities into Siri, Apple’s virtual assistant. The move marks a significant leap forward in AI technology for Apple, promising to bring sophisticated AI-driven functionalities to iOS 18 and other Apple platforms.

At Waracle, we’ve long believed that the future of intelligent digital experiences lies at the intersection of GenAI and mobile devices… But why is Apple’s announcement so ground-breaking?

So far, GenAI has mostly made a name for itself in enterprise productivity. A recent PWC report claims that sectors with the highest AI penetration are seeing almost fivefold (4.8x) greater labour productivity growth, giving rise to labour productivity that can generate economic growth, higher wages, and enhanced living standards. This is a welcome boost, given that labour productivity growth has been sluggish for years, with OECD countries experiencing a decade of lost labour productivity growth.

However, there has yet to be more progress on the consumer front. A recent report from Oxford University and Reuters Institute outlined that while awareness of GenAI is widespread, frequent use is still rare, with most people using them only once or twice and not integrating them into routine use.

This may simply be a case of “The future is already here—it’s just not evenly distributed.” Also, this may reflect the enterprise nature of productivity boosts; not many people drive tractors, but the agricultural revolution was still a significant event.

With Apple’s announcement, GenAI is about to become a first-class citizen of one of the most widely adopted consumer technologies. As of 2023, there are an estimated 1.46 billion active iPhone users worldwide, and in the coming months, these users will start using AI as part of their daily lives — in many cases, without even realising it. This is like the “electrification” of AI — electricity is all around us, but we don’t tend to see it.

Given this, the integration of OpenAI services like GPT-4o into Apple’s Siri has several significant and far-reaching implications, here are just a few:

Mass-market Adoption of AI

Integrating GPT-4o into Siri will bring advanced AI capabilities to consumers globally, accelerating the mainstream adoption of AI. This contrasts with the current niche usage and will democratise access to sophisticated AI tools. GenAI will now start weaving it’s way into our daily lives just like smartphones did.

Enhanced User Experience

The integration of GPT-4o will enable more natural and context-aware interactions, improved understanding of complex queries, and more accurate responses, making it more useful and intuitive for users. This could end the walled-garden approach to apps on modern smartphones, with more effective and seamless integration across apps and data sources.

User Empowerment and Productivity

With advanced AI support, users can accomplish tasks more efficiently, from scheduling and reminders to drafting emails and conducting research. Integrating GenAI into smartphones enhances productivity in micro-moments—those quick interactions while in a queue or on a bus. This enables users to make the most of their time, boosting confidence and efficiency in handling everyday tasks.

Shift in Public Perception of AI

The widespread use of AI in everyday devices can shift public perception, making AI less novelty and normalising it as a routine aspect of technology. This normalisation could reduce apprehension and increase acceptance of AI in various aspects of life. However, this brings with it the risk of trusting AI too much. Balance is required.

A New Generation of App Innovation

Integrating advanced AI into a widely used platform like iOS will create opportunities for app developers, businesses, and service providers to innovate and offer AI-driven solutions. Additionally, it may lead to the creating of new jobs and industries centered around AI technologies.

Apple’s move will inevitably spur fresh competition among tech giants to integrate better AI capabilities into their products, leading to rapid advancements in AI technology. With AI being more accessible, it may also bring ethical considerations to prominence; issues such as bias in AI responses, the digital divide in access to AI technologies, and the impact on human interactions and jobs must be addressed thoughtfully.

Overall, integrating advanced AI into widely used platforms like the iPhone represents a significant milestone in the evolution of consumer technology. It underscores AI’s potential to transform everyday life and highlights the need for thoughtful consideration of its broader implications. For enterprise leaders, it is time to rethink digital strategies and explore how GenAI can enhance customer relationships and operational efficiency.

To learn more about leveraging GenAI in your business, contact Waracle for a consultation.

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Authors

Blair Walker
Blair Walker
Head of Marketing
Gary Crawford
Gary Crawford
Chief Innovation Officer

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