Anytime a tech giant like Apple makes an announcement, chatter is generated around the world. And that certainly held true Monday.

“A lot of us have been waiting for Apple to enter the field,” Jim Hendler said. “It was just clear they had to.”

What You Need To Know

  • Apple plans to enter the AI space later this year with Apple Intelligence

  • Apple Intelligence will be free for users, and will be available in beta as part of iOS 18, iPadOS 18, and macOS Sequoia

  • Experts say privacy capabilities will be critical in determining the success or failure of artifical intelligence

Hendler leads Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Future of Computing Research and for years has studied artificial intelligence.

“It’s really, really important people remember it’s a tool,” he said.

The computer scientist says by all accounts, that is exactly what Apple plans to roll out with its Apple Intelligence.

“They took the approach of really trying to think hard about how to integrate AI into what people actually do on their phones,” he said.

Such as summarizing documents, translating conversations in real time or generating small images with the help of ChatGPT, a popular virtual assistant developed in 2022 by OpenAI, which Apple is partnering with.

“A lot of very powerful AI will be available behind the scenes,” Hendler explained. “And there is what happens on your phone versus what your phone communicates elsewhere.”

Which has been a sticking point for AI critics, as it stirs up privacy concerns.

Hendler says historically, Apple has done well with securing a users' personal data, and believes its ability to maintain that record will determine Apple Intelligence’s level of success or failure.

“How well can they let me interact with my personal stuff on my phone, on my iPad or on my laptop without that being shared widely with OpenAI or other companies,” he said.

Apple Intelligence will be free for users and will be available in beta as part of iOS 18, iPadOS 18, and macOS Sequoia this fall.