Apple just made a big AI announcement. Here's what you need to know.

Annual Apple Global Developer Conference is typically a springboard for the company to announce new technical features for its software programs, and not as flashy as the annual September event to proclaim the latest iPhone rollout. But this year's WWDC could be a make-or-break moment for the tech giant.

That's because CEO Tim Cook on Monday announced Apple's strategy for integrating artificial intelligence into its technology, an area where Wall Street analysts say the tech giant is so far lagging behind rivals like Microsoft and Google.

The WWDC announcement could be “a pivotal moment in Apple's future,” according to Wedbush Securities analyst Dan Ives, in a report issued ahead of the conference. The announcements come as Apple needs to bolster its iPhone business, with sales of the devices down 10% in the first three months of 2024, the steepest quarterly decline since the pandemic began.

“Apple is on the right path to deploy AI across its ecosystem while laying the foundation for the company's multi-year AI strategy for the strongest installed base of 2.2 billion iOS devices in the coming years,” Ives said.

The Worldwide Developers Conference kicked off on June 10 and runs through June 14, with developers attending in person at Apple's headquarters in Cupertino, California.

The event is aimed at developers, with Apple announcing new iOS, iPadOS, macOS, watchOS, tvOS and visionOS technology. Apple say the event aims to help developers create new apps and games for their devices.

Here are some of the major announcements from WWDC.

“Apple Intelligence”

Cook announced what the company is calling “Apple Intelligence,” or its version of AI-enhanced capabilities that will expand services like Siri voice support and other apps. Company said it's working with OpenAI to integrate its ChatGPT access into upcoming software releases, including iOS 18, iPadOS 18, and macOS Sequoia.

The new AI service is designed to be intuitive and personal, and built with privacy in mind, Cook noted. Apple will not collect data about users because consumers rely on the new AI services to answer questions, search personal data on their devices or perform other tasks, the company said.

The new AI will work across apps and use personal data to help users find specific information, such as photos or emails. For example, you can ask your phone to look for photos that only include you and a parent. Apple's AI can also suggest options for writing or rewriting emails, summarize emails that have landed in your inbox, and create images from your photos that you can send as text, among other things.

Apple is also introducing something called “Genmoji,” which can create custom emojis based on a description, such as a dinosaur on a surfboard.

The new AI services will be “game changers,” Cook said at the conference.

New texting options, including emoji tapbacks, in Messages

Messages, Apple's text messaging app, is getting an overhaul. The company said it is expanding its tapbacks. What are the responses like “?” or a thumbs up or down, which users can use when responding to messages. It allows you to add any emoji as text tapback. Additionally, the app allows people to add text formatting to their messages, including bold, italics, or strikethrough.

Apple is also adding satellite services so users can send and receive text messages even if they don't have Wi-Fi or cell service.

Shake or nod your head to answer calls on AirPods

AirPods will soon have a new feature that will allow people to answer or decline calls on their AirPods by nodding or shaking their heads. The company said this could be useful for people receiving calls in a public situation who may not want to talk in a crowded environment.

The AirPods Pro devices will include a service called Voice Isolation, which filters out background noise when you call someone from a noisy location.

New organization in Photos

Apple has announced a number of improvements to other apps and services, including Photos and Control Center. Photos will provide new organizational frameworks, such as grouping snapshots from specific trips and allowing users to customize photo collections.

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