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Live: Apple's WWDC 2024 — Is Siri getting smart? Will AI photo editing come to iOS?

Watch along with us as we find out all the answers – and perhaps one more thing

Apple WWDC 2024 Anim graphic from Apple
(Image: © Apple)

The build-up to WWDC – Apple's annual conference for developers – has been an interesting one. The company normally uses the event to release major new software features and, occasionally, hardware, so tech fans and users of a very popular camera known as the iPhone watch it intensely.

Since it's Apple's practice to deliver many of the features within days and for free to existing users, it's usually well worth paying attention to for all Apple users.


I see on Twitter that Tim Cook is promising that it's going to be the 'Best Ever' WWDC, while journalists are taking their seats (or sharing selfies with some well-known tech reviewers – perhaps there will be a solid product to talk about!)

Ooooo...... here we go! Kick off sees... er... well the same Apple graphic crystalize. And then we're in a plane preparing for an air drop apparently. Straight after the D-Day landing commemorations they're parachuting onto the donut. Well, I mean probably not really, but it's an impressive bit of CG. And now Tim Cook is on the roof of Apple Park (so we can see the solar panels).

AppleTV+ is getting the initial love from TV. Looks like a new season of, well, lots of good TV is coming. And Tim's said we're going to get to "Intelligence" so the enormous elephant in the room has been acknowledged.

There is an enterprise leaning, and Canon's EOS-R7 spatial lens gets a mention, so a workflow between Canon, Final Cut Pro, and Vimeo as the player app is being trailed. I tried the Canon tech at The Photography and Video show and it was impressive.

Now the iPhone; customization will now allow us to frame our home wallpaper picture by placing the app icons where we like them, and choose a 'dark look'. A complementary color can even be selected by iOS.

It looks like the Action Button on the iPhone 15 Pro will be accessible to external developers settings features now, if developers create the feature using the new API and the user adds them.

Messakers – Ronak Shah tells us ways we're going to be able to take even longer composing texts with text effects, extra emoji on the tap-back 'quick' responses, and more that add more personality. All sounds great, but I know from experience that all styling options take more time than just typing!

The photos app – "Biggest redesign ever" – and it does look better. Now a single view with photo grid at the top and libraries below.

There was more on TVOS but it felt like they were holding back (or didn't have much to say). Finally catch up with other apps it'll tell me about the actors on Apple shows (but if there was real AI it could tell me who the actors were on any show – not just Apple ones, right?).

We do learn that the 'Photos Face' is popular – and in WatchOS 11 machine learning AI will pick aesthetics and smiling faces to help choose the best photo to serve as a watch face.

OK, back to Craig and the iPad OS (and he's able to remind us about the still very new iPads...). Guess what, it's all very similar but bigger when it comes to the Photos app, but there will be a new floating tab bar / side bar in some apps (potentially familiar to Apple TV users).

Time for the Mac. Craig does a 'superhero run' to another part of the donut. 

Footnote there – Safari offers 4 hours more battery than Chrome when streaming video, Didn't say which Apple device, but that's something to remember (or be mindful of if you feel you have to use Chrome).

Tim's back – we're about to find out the big AI answers...

"Apple Intelligence" – well, it's not as nice a name as Siri. Oh, and back to Craig.

Writing tools, proofing tools, summarizing, OK. Well, we saw a bit of that.

Now we get to find out what that means. Siri gets 1.5 billion requests a day, apparently (which probably isn't that many if you think about it).

My inner cynic is deeply worried by Apple's integration of Apple Intelligence into Apple Mail (the example being demonstrated) – not because it looks bad, but because of the potential unforeseen results. These days we all have a lot of email because, well, it's easier than print mail was. Now we barely have to read or write it, what's going to happen?!

Apple are also creating a dedicated 'Image Playground' app (and API) for the 'genmoji' for the quirky illustrations the system can create – no generated photos though. Not this time anyway, Apple are not risking that copyright minefield!

There is a new 'cleanup tool' in Photos though – as expected – similar to Google's – demoed removing an unwanted stranger in the background of a beach photo.

Apple Intelligence will be free... BUT... 

...ChatGPT 4.0 can be 'borrowed' by Siri – who asks permission to use the system first. This does unlock ChatGPT's image generation and is also going to be free to some extent but paid features will also be available for subscribers – so Apple are going to unlock the door for OpenAI to charge users for their features via Siri after all.

And that's your lot. 

We've started full write-ups of some of the stories of WWDC, including news about Apple's plans Blackmagic and Vision Pro content creation (it might still make sense to read the earlier entries in this first) and the new AI tool to create 3D images from 2D.

Interestingly Apple's share price seemed to drop about 2% during the initial WWDC announcement, with a lot of people seeing the potential Trojan horse for Microsoft / OpenAI which Apple have allowed, but it now seems to have rallied and then some as the reaction sinks in.

We're seeing a lot of tweets about Apple's decisions and announcements at WWDC, not least from Elon Musk, who seems to be deliberately attempting to start some kind of CEO war. Musk seems to have, at best, misunderstood the way Apple is restricting ChatGPT's access to user's information.

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