Apple AI is a bold gamble but could be make-or-break moment for Artificial Intelligence

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  • Tech Writer Matthew Mohan-Hickson’s verdict on Apple’s AI announcement.
  • Apple Intelligence is a bold gamble but could be a make-or-break moment for AI.
  • Genmoji is an exciting feature but will it have staying power.
  • Writing tools could be a game-changer and a system seller.
  • But is the price for entry for most too high to give Apple Intelligence a try.

In early January, 49 B.C., Julius Caesar and a legion of troops crossed the Rubicon and the history of Rome was never the same.

After much hype and anticipation, Apple and CEO Tim Cook have themselves hit a point of no return. Having deliberately avoided using the two little words - artificial intelligence - for months, the California tech giant has entered the ring and it is a moment that could make or break AI. 

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If Apple, the company that brought smartphones to the mainstream and defined the portable media player industry with the iPod, are not able to make artificial intelligence a must have, questions will be truly raised about the feasibility of the industry as a whole. The tech giants of the world - Microsoft, Google, Nvidia - have all dived head first into the AI world but will 2024 be the year it truly takes off with the public? 

Apple certainly kept the audience waiting before mentioning the words artificial intelligence. It took until well over an hour into the WWDC24 keynote speech before CEO Tim Cook addressed the AI-generated elephant in the room, when many were expecting it to be at the forefront of the talk - instead the tech giant prioritised showing off iOS, iPadOS, watchOS and a new Mac operating system first.  

But was Apple Intelligence worth the wait? Or did they bury it in the back-half of the speech for a reason… Let’s find out! 

What features has Apple promised?

Tim Cook introduced the new ‘personal intelligence system’ - as the company has dubbed it - with the promise of making its products more ‘useful and delightful’. Which is both an incredibly bold and totally vague statement of purpose that is impossible to truly quantify, the verbal equivalent of candyfloss. 

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Personalised notifications 

One of the flagship features of Apple Intelligence shown off during the speech was the software’s ability to prioritise your notifications, which actually does sound like it would improve my experience looking at my lockscreen 10,000 fold. Particularly since my Ring doorbell bombards me with about 100 notifications a day and is one bad week away from turning me into Jack Nicholson in The Shining (I jest of course). 

Apple are making a bold AI gamble but it could be make-or-break. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images Apple are making a bold AI gamble but it could be make-or-break. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Apple are making a bold AI gamble but it could be make-or-break. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images | Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Writing tools 

Another eye catching feature of Apple Intelligence is the new writing tools, which seem to be the iconic brand’s twist on Grammerly and other programmes. I often find myself drafting up reviews for movies on Letterbox or after a visit to a pub/ restaurant but then deleting them after overthinking, but having an AI on hand to double check my ramblings may actually encourage me to post them. 


Look, we are all probably going to try this out and have a blast doing it. Whether this ends up replacing the classics we’ve all grown accustomed to in the age of the smartphone in the long haul, remains to be seen. 


Another nifty sounding feature was the actions ability touted during the keynote speech. In the demonstration, examples such as asking Siri to bring up ‘files sent last week’ or ‘the podcast my wife sent’ are used and it could be a real game-changer if it pans out. 

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After all, trying to find a link someone sent a few days ago you had been meaning to get round to reading or digging out a confirmation email sent by 12 months ago can be a real hassle when you are in a hurry. But the caveat remains that until it can be tested out, we can’t say how well it works out in practice and how quickly it can complete the requests. 

The big questions remaining 

Apple’s Craig Federighi, senior vice president of software engineering, mentioned throughout the introduction to Apple Intelligence that it had been trained on models - without specifying how it trained them. Meaning, like with any current AI-tool, the icky question of if has been fed on works from artists, writers, creatives without providing credit to them remains like a bad smell. 

What is the price of progress? The AI gold rush of the mid-2020s is just the latest technological leap which brings that question to mind. 

Apple also touted the AI as working with third party apps/ software but until it is in our hands and we can put it into practice, it remains to see how well integrated this will be. For example, will the Genmoji (AI-emojis) display probably if you are swapping iMessage and WhatsApp, or will it display in weird ways for your friends/ family/ co-workers with Android or other devices. 

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And the security issue remains, the AI will, if all goes to plan, be sifting through a heck of a lot of your personal and private information. It will be using the pictures of your contacts to make Genmojis, flicking through your emails and messages to 

Apple claims it will be “aware of your personal data” without “collecting it” but can we really trust tech companies? Since the explosion of social media and the internet age, every Tom, Dick and Harry has been harvesting as much info about you as possible to keep and sell - are Apple truly going to stick to this promise of not collecting data and not using it to attempt to steer you to target products? Another one to chalk up to ‘wait and see’. 

Is it worth upgrading your iPhone, iPad or Mac for? 

Apple Intelligence is only compatible with iPhone 15 Pro, iPhone 15 Pro Max, and iPad and Mac with M1 and later, meaning that for many users they would require buying a new Mac, iPhone or iPad just to gain access to the AI features. And if Apple is known for anything, it is not for its affordable prices - so it would be a huge investment just for a non-essential software change. 

If you already have a device compatible with Apple Intelligence, it will be worth tooling around with and trying out - as it gives a glimpse into a potential future. But for many people, it will just be a bunch of buzzwords that risk passing by without notice because of the price-barrier. 

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This might just be a make-or-break moment for AI, Apple has made a bold gamble on what the tech world sees as the future and if it fails to take off, you have to question the viability of artificial intelligence tools as a mass market product. 

Are you going to try out the Apple Intelligence features when they launch later this year? If you are looking for the key information on Apple’s AI software in the WWDC24 speech in just five minutes, Apple has a great video explainer on its YouTube channel.

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