Thursday, June 20, 2024

Google Gemini could be built into Siri, as Apple hints at plans to offer more AI assistants on its devices

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With its next batch of software updates, Apple will bring its own AI smarts — known as Apple Intelligence — to iPhone, iPad, and Mac as well as OpenAI’s newly-announced ChatGPT model. The decision has sparked a flurry of controversial posts from SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, similar to a recent outburst around Windows 11’s AI tricks.

Speaking to reporters a few hours after CEO Tim Cook kickstarted Apple’s annual developer conference, known as WWDC, at its Apple Park headquarters in California, Senior Vice President of Software Engineering Craig Federighi spoke about the decision to partner with OpenAI.

When Apple’s own Apple Intelligence models can’t handle a specific voice (or typed) request, then it will suggest sending the information to ChatGPT-4o from OpenAI. If you grant permission to share the information with ChatGPT (it will be deleted when the request has been processed) then it can process the task within the same Siri window


“We wanted to start with the best — and we think ChatGPT from OpenAI and their new 4o model represents the best choice for our users today,” the Apple executive told a packed audience in the Steve Jobs Theatre.

All of the usual ChatGPT tricks will be accessible from voice assistant Siri, so you’ll be able to list ingredients and ask the generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) model to dream up a recipe, or create a travel itinerary for an upcoming holiday, or write computer code from a short prompt. None of these actions are currently possible with Apple Intelligence, so the company is happy to let OpenAI step in.

When asked whether Apple will look to partner with more AI companies in the future, software chief Craig Federighi believes more AI models will be integrated soon. He said: “We think ultimately, people are going to have a preference perhaps for certain models that they want to use — maybe one that great’s for creative writing, or one they prefer for coding, and so we want to enable users ultimately to bring the model of their choice and we’re going to look forward to doing integrations with models, like Google Gemini for instance, in the future. Nothing to announce right now, but that’s our direction.”

While Apple Intelligence handles a raft of everyday tasks on your iPhone, iPad, and Mac as it’s the only AI model that can tap into the vast amount of data stored on your device to learn about you.

Instead of pulling from the internet, Apple Intelligence is designed to pull context from applications like Calender, Mail, and Messages. This information will be used to add context, so if you refer to a spouse or sibling in your request, Apple Intelligence will check your contacts and other corners of iOS to determine who you’re talking about.

Apple Intelligence will also be the backbone of a supercharged new version of Siri.

The chatty assistant, which has been baked into every iPhone since October 2011, can now adjust system settings, pull together information from multiple apps, and perform actions inside iOS apps. Apple Intelligence has been trained on a slew of training data.

Describing how the Californian company approached building its own AI model, Craig Federighi said: “We do that in a way where publishers can opt out of having their work data used in training models. In addition to that, we license news archives, textbooks, stock photography and all of that goes into these models.”


In future, we could see AI models trained on data around specific topics — with in-depth knowledge on the legal system, finances, medicine, or anything else. Siri could tap into these systems, exactly like it does with ChatGPT to pull a specific answer.

apple ceo tim cook on stage welcoming developers before the wwdc keynote

Apple CEO Tim Cook on-stage welcoming developers from across the globe to its annual WWDC event on its Apple Park campus in Cupertino, California


Google Gemini isn’t one of these ultra-specific models, but is an all-purpose assistant to compete with the likes of ChatGPT. The US search firm launched Gemini as a standalone app on Android in the UK earlier this year.

Gemini can dream up Excel formulae, computer code, poetry, and prose based on a short written prompt.

It can summarise and find information from Gmail or Google Drive. Like the new Image Playground system powered by Apple Intelligence, Gemini can generate entirely new images on the fly.

Google fans living in the United States have been able to download a dedicated Gemini app since February. In comparison, ChatGPT has been available as an app on iPhone and Android since mid-2023 in both countries.

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