The iPhone 15 illustrates Apple’s discreet approach to AI

September 14, 2023

AI iPhone

The unveiling of the iPhone 15 continues Apple’s differentiated and distanced position in the era of AI. 

Equipped with the new Apple A17 Pro processor, the device steers clear of bombastic generative AI additions in favor of subtler features. 

Apple’s approach to AI has been inconspicuous, though Tim Cook attended the first AI Insight Forum, where he called the technology a “huge opportunity.” 

The company is allegedly building its own chatbot nicknamed “Apple GPT” and advertising job vacancies in various machine learning-related specialisms, so cards are yet to be played. 

Among the iPhone 15’s practical AI features is a voice-isolation feature that uses machine learning (ML) to distinguish your voice from background noise during calls.

It also boasts new AI camera capabilities, such as automatically detecting humans, dogs, or cats in photos to gather depth data for editing them into portraits. 

Generative AI hasn’t entirely wormed its way into mobile devices yet.

The latest Google Pixel’s only truly generative AI addition was a generative wallpaper app where “you can answer suggested prompts to describe your ultimate creative vision.”

Apple’s practical use of AI

Another feature of the iPhone 15 is a new Point and Speak feature in the Magnifier app that speaks when the camera is pointed at specific objects. For example, point the phone at a chair, and the app announces you’re facing a chair. 

iOS 17 also features a voice synthesis app, Personal Voice, allowing iPhones to speak in the user’s own voice. This would allow those at risk of losing their voice from diseases such as ALS to retain a synthetic copy that can speak for them.

The new iOS further adds automated voicemail transcriptions and enhanced predictive text recommendations.

Global smartphone demand has hit a decade-low, and the iPhone 15 seems like a safe, albeit predictable, bet from Apple.

In addition to powerful hardware and features, the premium models, the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max, are built from a type of titanium Apple claims to be the same alloy used in the Mars Rover. 

Currently, the first genuinely AI-integrated phone remains forthcoming.

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Sam Jeans

Sam is a science and technology writer who has worked in various AI startups. When he’s not writing, he can be found reading medical journals or digging through boxes of vinyl records.


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