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Apple launches AI-fueled tools for iPhone, Mac and iPad

Andrej Sokolow/picture alliance via Getty Images

(CUPERTINO, Calif.) — Apple unveiled artificial intelligence-fueled features across several key products on Monday, heralding the long-awaited entry of the tech giant into the high-stakes AI race.

The latest version of Apple’s operating system will deliver customizable tools using generative AI for iPhones, Mac and iPad, Apple said at the Worldwide Developers Conference hosted at the company’s headquarters in Cupertino, California. Language tools will be able to improve or summarize text, and image generators will supplement photos with extra adornment.

The AI capability, called Apple Intelligence, amounts to the “next big step for Apple,” CEO Tim Cook said on Monday. The advance results from an agreement between Apple and OpenAI, the firm behind popular text bot ChatGPT, Cook added.

A revamped Siri, for instance, will draw on generative chat technology to improve its language comprehension and retain context from previous requests, the company said.

Since its launch in 2011, Siri has functioned primarily as a hands-free tool for responses to specific prompts, such as queries about the weather or a user’s upcoming calendar. The new version, Apple said, will carry out extended conversations and aid in intricate tasks.

Further, Siri will be able to take actions within a user’s product, pulling up photos or adding text to the Notes app, the company said.

Apple, the world’s second largest company in terms of market capitalization, has lagged behind its behemoth competitors in the battle to develop and offer AI products.

OpenAI retains a longstanding partnership with Microsoft, which holds a minority stake in the firm and integrates ChatGPT into its Bing search engine. Last year, Google announced its own AI model called Bard, which provides brief summaries in response to some search queries.

The announcement on Monday amounts to the most important decision for Apple — and Cook — over the last decade, Dan Ives, a managing director of equity research at the investment firm Wedbush, told clients in a research note ahead of the conference.

“The pressure to bring a generative AI stack of technology for developers and consumers is front and center,” Ives said.

The fresh product arrives at a moment of relatively sluggish performance for Apple.

In its latest earnings report, Apple last month revealed a sales slump for some of its mainstay products. Smartphone sales dropped 10% over the three months ending in March, when compared with the same period a year earlier. iPad sales fell 17% over that period, the earnings report said.

In recent years, the company has relied on new models of its signature items, instead of transitioning to the next big product, analysts previously told ABC News.

The approach allows Apple to capitalize upon its loyal customer base and popular devices while it develops new products like Apple Vision Pro, the company’s mixed reality headset, analysts said.

With a starting cost of $3,499 and a higher-powered version at around $4,000, Apple Vision Pro remains far from a price point that would make it affordable for a wide audience.

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