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My Biggest Takeaways From Tonight’s Apple WWDC 2024 Keynote.

Apple’s iMessage Finally Supports RCS!

This is a BIG deal since Apple has treated iMessage as the holy grail of its messaging on millions of iOS devices for many years by making interoperability with Android-based devices a painful experience. RCS which stands for ‘Rich Communication Services’ and is the replacement protocol for the outdated Simple Messaging Service or ‘SMS’. The world is finally a better place and the blue versus green bubbles debate on iMessage is finally coming to an end. Sanity prevailed, eventually!

Secure iMessage & SMS Via Satellite For iPhone.

Another thing I took away is that the iPhone will be able to do both iMessage and even lowly SMS messaging in a secure manner via satellite connectivity. This is impressive but of course the caveat is it only works on the latest iPhone models. So its no longer just for emergency scenarios but can work all the time even when your away from a readily accessible mobile network which is actually pretty cool and means that we can all stay connected at all times even when we are in the deepest sticks!

Apple Intelligence Is Finally Here To Launch Apple’s Foray Into Generative AI.

Everyone, including me, has been harping on for ages how Apple seems to have missed the Generative AI moment for the better part of the last couple of years. However, as I mentioned in a recent post, Apple may not always be first but they often do it best!

In my view, having watched the WWDC keynote tonight, one thing that caught my attention is how Apple Intelligence ‘hides’ the technology behind how it works. This is why Apple in general has such amazing offerings that are user-friendly and intuitive all the way from toddlers to octogenarians.

Apple Intelligence is deeply integrated at the core of Apple’s upcoming operating systems comprising Mac OS Sequoia, iOS 18 and iPad 18. The demonstration showed that Apple Intelligence primary relies on secure on-device small language models or ‘SLMs’ and only taps into large language models or LLMs like ChatGPT when needed.

However, this is all done within a privacy-first approach which Apple os renowned for championing across all their offerings. In addition, Apple has also built its own Private Cloud Compute which means that even when you tap into third-party LLMs you never ever share your personal data with them. Apple Intelligence also works across native Apple apps as well as third-party apps seamlessly which is impressive!

Welcome To The Era of Apple Intelligence’s ‘Personal Context’ Generative AI.

One thing that was really emphasized in the WWDC keynote is how Apple Intelligence is designed to use your personal data in a secure manner on device to have a ‘personal context’ of what you need when you use it. This is made possible through deep integration using features like ‘app intents’ as well as ‘semantic awareness’. What I loved about it is that it means that you can really get what you need when you need it on-device in the simplest and fastest way.

The other thing is that you can see how Apple could leverage personal context in Apple Intelligence to vastly differentiate itself from other competing platforms like Microsoft’s Windows Copilot+ PCs by using a different tact in how they approach Generative AI. Apple did not spend time showing how the underpinning technology works but rather a superior and simpler user experience that anyone can figure out. This is key!

Take for instance how easy it was in the WWDC keynote for one to generate images using the Image Playground without having to use elaborate and highly targeted prompts or do email and notification summaries. Another area where the user experience was impressive was the writing tools that make it super simple to write email or create documents or blog posts intuitively. This is what Apple do best — they hide the technology and make it useful for all.

13 Years Later, Siri Is Finally Intelligent!

When Siri was first launched, 13 years ago no less, the videos at the time promised only now what we are witnessing with smaller versions of Generative AI platforms like ChatGPT and Google Gemini. Its clear that the underlying technology to make Siri work was not really ready for primetime when it came out and this has been the case for over a decade, until today.

Siri has been significantly improved thanks to the arrival of Generative AI via Apple Intelligence. The latest iteration of Siri is finally intelligent and able to do things in a manner that is accurate and fully integrated at the operating system level across iOS 18, Mac OS Sequoia and iPad OS 18. This will undoutedly be a game changer for Apple since it will open up lots of interesting use cases.

The WWDC keynote showed how Siri is able to use both voice and text inputs making it truly multimodal. In addition, the who user expereince looks and works is a massive departure to what many of use became accustomed to for years. In addition, using SiriKit, third-party app developers can now ensure that Siri can fully access their apps as well via Apple Intelligence.

Apple Intelligence Is Free!

Yes. You read that right! Right off the bat, when Apple Intelligence becomes available to all users it will be free. This means that unlike many of the competing Generative AI platforms like Microsoft’s Copilot and Google Gemini you will not have to pay for these features and functionalities as an add-on to platforms like keynote, pages and keynote, as well as any other native or third-party apps. It was also pointed out that recordings and transcriptions across apps when using Apple Intelligence are also free.

This is a BIG deal as by default many Apple ecosystem users will be exposed to and start using Apple Intelligence for free at no additional and this could have serious implications going forward. Apple has the most profitable and high coveted premium consumer base for its offerings and as such as its potential to monetize Generative AI offerings going forward will be massive and especially it can continue to make the user experience seamless, intuitive and user-friendly in the same way that it has done with apps like iMessage.

As we know in technology, the virtuous cycle called ‘network effects’ is priceless. Once a platform or app gains widespread adoption, its able to keep growing indefinitely for as long as more and more people sign-up and there are more and more people there then it becomes a flywheel that keeps spinning indefinitely. Apple has done this well and for sure Apple Intelligence and Siri too can become incredibly popular going forward from a Generative AI perspective.

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