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  • Writer's pictureSarah Ruivivar

Apple's Subtle AI Revolution: Enhancing Everyday Functions

Updated: Oct 30, 2023

Apple is taking a different path in the AI revolution.

Rather than making grandiose transformations, the tech giant is subtly integrating artificial intelligence to enhance basic functions in its new gadgets, including the iPhone and Apple Watch.

In their recent showcase, Apple unveiled a new line of iPhones and a new watch, both equipped with improved semiconductor designs that power the AI features. These features aim to enhance basic functions such as receiving calls or capturing better images. Interestingly, Apple refrained from using the phrase "artificial intelligence" during the presentation. However, it's clear that AI has been quietly reshaping Apple's core software products for months.

This approach stands in stark contrast to other tech giants like Microsoft and Google, who have set ambitious goals for their AI efforts. While industry leaders have raised concerns about the potential harms of unchecked AI development, Apple's approach focuses on enhancing user experience in subtle yet impactful ways.

The Series 9 Watch, for instance, is built with a new chip that includes improved data crunching capabilities and a four-core "Neural Engine" that can process machine learning tasks up to twice as fast. This 'Neural Engine' is Apple's term for the building blocks of its chips that accelerate AI functions. The AI components in the watch chip have made Siri, Apple's voice assistant, 25% more accurate.

Moreover, the inclusion of machine learning chip components has allowed Apple to introduce a new way to interact with the device. Users can now "double tap" by finger-pinching with their watch hand to perform tasks such as answering or ending phone calls, pausing music, or launching other information like the weather. This feature works by using the new chip and machine learning to detect subtle movements and changes in blood flow when users tap their fingers together.

Apple's latest iPhone lineup also boasts improved image capture. The camera now automatically recognises when a person is in the frame and gathers the data needed to blur the background later, enhancing the 'portrait mode' feature.

Apple may not be the only smartphone maker to add AI to its hardware, but its unique approach of subtly integrating AI to improve basic functions is certainly making waves in the tech world. It's a reminder that sometimes, the most impactful transformations are the ones that happen quietly behind the scenes.

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