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Apple unveils major upgrades and new AI features with iOS 18 at WWDC 2024

Apple officially announced iOS 18 during this week's 2024 Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) event. The new software update is expected to be available for a range of iPhones later this year.
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This update brings notable improvements to apps such as Mail, Messages, Photos, Maps, and Wallet, alongside exclusive AI tools for the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max through the new Apple Intelligence suite.

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Apple Intelligence

Apple Intelligence is Apple’s unique branding for its suite of AI features, which will debut later this year across iPhone, iPad, and Mac. It should be noted that Apple Intelligence is exclusive to the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max. 

Apple has split the features into five key pillars that distinguish it from other existing AI tools:

  • Powerful: Capable of offering truly useful help

  • Intuitive: Easy to use and accessible

  • Integrated: Baked into the core of your devices

  • Personal: Understands your personal context

  • Private: Built from the ground up for privacy

Apple believes no one else has an AI offering that checks all these boxes. In the race to incorporate AI into smartphones, Apple has prioritised user privacy with robust on-device processing and clear communication about cloud usage.  With its Pixel 8 series launch towards the end of last year, Google focused on enhancing user creativity with tools like advanced photo editing and noise reduction. 

With its S24 series, Samsung took a more user-confrontational approach by providing customisable AI features tailored to individual preferences.

These approaches are extensions of each company’s core philosophies and product foundations. However, at the moment, Apple Intelligence is at the top as its capabilities exceed what Samsung and Google’s AI can deliver. Its tighter integration with Apple devices like the iPhone, iPad and Mac make it a better alternative. 

It also outperforms Samsung and Google in privacy and has taken multiple steps to ensure the AI capabilities remain private to you   

What can Apple Intelligence do? 

Here’s what Apple Intelligence will enable your compatible devices to do later this year:

  • Language tools - Including writing tools and smart reply 

  • Image tools - Including Clean Up Photo, Powerful Search and Image Wand

  • New and improved Siri - Including Richer language understanding, personalised assistance, and Onscreen awareness

  • ChatGPT integration - Apple has partnered with OpenAI to integrate ChatGPT into the iOS 18

Key features of iOS 18

The latest iOS update brings a host of new features for key apps:

Photos: The Photos app undergoes its biggest redesign ever, integrating a unified view that includes both a photo grid and a date grid. This makes it easier to find specific photos, and you can also filter photos by categories like screenshots and groups​.

Messages: iOS 18 will give text messages a new look, including the ability to schedule messages, react with any emoji, and apply new text formatting options such as underline, strikethrough, bold, and ripple effects. 

The app will also support RCS for richer messaging with non-Apple devices and enable satellite messaging for compatible iPhones when cellular and Wi-Fi connections are unavailable​.

Wallet: A new "tap to cash" feature simplifies person-to-person payments, and tickets for music or sporting events will now display more fun and vibrant designs​.

Mail: Various improvements to streamline email management and the actual functionality of the app​​.

Upgrades to the home screen and control centre

As well as upgrades to a range of your favourite apps, there will also be advancements in other aspects of your iPhone.  

The home screen and control centre will change to allow you to rearrange app icons and widgets, positioning them at the bottom or side of the screen to optimise space. The control centre will allow the creation of distinct function groups like Media and Home, with resizable widgets and customisable widget visibility on the Lock Screen​. Face ID authentication will be upgraded to be accessible for all iPhone apps​.

iOS 18 compatibility and availability

Apple has confirmed that iOS 18 will be compatible with any iPhone newer than the iPhone XS, covering devices with the A12 Bionic chipset or newer. This includes models such as the iPhone 11, iPhone 12, iPhone 13, iPhone 14, and the latest iPhone 15 series​.

The full range of iOS 18 compatible devices include:

  • iPhone 15 

  • iPhone 15 Plus

  • iPhone 15 Pro (Apple Intelligence compatible) 

  • iPhone 15 Pro Max (Apple Intelligence compatible) 

  • iPhone 14 series

  • iPhone 13 series

  • iPhone 12 series

  • iPhone 11 series

  • iPhone XS, XS Max, XR

  • iPhone SE (2nd and 3rd generation)

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Release timeline

Apple said iOS 18 will launch "later this year," with a full rollout expected in mid-September. This will coincide with the release of the iPhone 16 and the Apple Watch 10​​.

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