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Despite being the innovators behind the iPod, iPhone and iPad, Apple have become notoriously cautious when it comes to pushing boundaries in recent years. Rather than rocking the boat they’ve arguably been sailing in calm waters for a long time.

With this in mind, Apples annual WWDC falls on June 10th and, according to the rumour mill, we’re about to see Apple unleash their suite of AI tools. It could be the biggest change to the iPhone since, well, the iPhone.

Their timing couldn’t be better.

High Profile Failures

The recent high-profile launch of Googles ‘Search Generative Experience’ (SGE), that integrates generative AI ‘to give you more information and context to your searches’, has fallen under intense public scrutiny – and based on the below results it’s not hard to see why.

In the same week, OpenAI were hit with a range of external and internal ‘problems’. Firstly, actress Scarlett Johansson claimed her voice was being directly used by the ChatGPT character, Sky. OpenAI denied this – and then removed the voice of Sky from the app almost immediately. On top of this, former OpenAI employees have come out to slam the organisation for a lack of transparency and toxic leadership. This is not great news for an organisation with an increasingly turbulent reputation.

This challenging period for AI’s leading lights presents Apple with a unique opportunity to leverage its reputation for reliability and privacy and introduce AI innovations that could redefine the market.

Apple’s approach, often criticized as overly cautious, may now be its greatest asset. The company has always prioritised user trust and seamless integration over flashy, half-baked releases (let’s pretend the Vision Pro is still in beta).  This strategy might just pay off as they prepare to unveil a suite of AI tools. Unlike their competitors who rushed into the AI space, it’s thought that Apple has taken the time to refine and perfect its offerings, ensuring they meet the high standards expected by their user base.

The Anticipated AI Features

Under the codename ‘Project Greymatter’, which sounds like a terrible Marvel movie, rumours suggest that Apple is set to introduce a number of AI-driven features across its ecosystem. These include enhancements to Siri, making it more conversational and context-aware, similar to the capabilities of ChatGPT. On that note, there is also a rumoured partnership with OpenAI – one of the more interesting developments in recent months. Siri is seriously lagging in comparison to ChatGPT (especially when trying to request music in the car – first world problems eh….) so this will be a timely boost for anyone with an iPhone.

Additionally, there’s buzz about AI-integrated health features, leveraging data from Apple Watch to provide predictive health insights. This move could solidify Apple’s position not just in tech but also in health and wellness.

The more superficial updates supposedly include AI generated playlists in Apple Music, transcribing voice memos, AI photo editing and AI generated emojis – who knew we needed that!

Leveraging Trust and Ecosystem

Apple’s advantage lies in its ecosystem. The seamless integration between devices—iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch—provides the perfect space for AI to thrive. An AI that learns from your habits and preferences and offers assistance in daily tasks across all your devices – it’s got the potential to be pretty cool. This level of integration is something OpenAI and others in the AI space can only dream of.

What’s more, Apple’s robust approach to privacy could be a game-changer. In an era where data breaches and privacy concerns are rampant, Apple’s reputation as a guardian of user data could make its AI offerings particularly attractive. Users are likely to trust Apple with their data, knowing that it will be handled with the utmost care and security.

Timing is Everything

Releasing these features at a time when public trust in AI is shaky could work in Apple’s favour. While Google and OpenAI scramble to address their missteps, Apple has the opportunity to position itself as the reliable, trustworthy alternative – it’s got history of this. The tech giant’s track record of delivering polished, user-friendly products means consumers and investors are ready to embrace whatever AI tools they release.

If Apple deliver on the rumoured features, it could not only catch up with but potentially surpass its competitors in the AI race. Given the number of products and users of Apple products, this hopefully isn’t just about adding AI for the sake of it; it’s about integrating AI in ways that genuinely enhance the user experience while maintaining the quality, trust and privacy that Apple is known for.

Get it wrong and Apple open the door to any number of competitors – something we’ve not seen in the last 20 years. It’s a pivotal moment for them.

What’s next?

After a few false dawns with the most recent phone launches and VR headset, his could be the moment Apple remind the world why they are the leading pioneers in technology.

Stay tuned. It’s about to get interesting.