When it comes to terms, Apple is a pirate. The company hijacks them and gives them a new name – perhaps in the hope of going down in history as their inventor. For example, Apple calls its virtual reality glasses a “spatial computer”, a smartphone is an iPhone and Dolby Atmos surround sound is called 3D music.

Now comes Apple’s latest creation. AI actually stands for Artificial Intelligence. But for the iPhone manufacturer, there is something else behind it: Apple Intelligence.

At the start of its developer conference WWDC, Apple presented a whole series of AI functions that are expected to accomplish amazing things in its devices in the future: transcribing audio recordings, rephrasing and summarizing texts, creating images and emojis from text commands.

At the heart of Apple Intelligence, however, are the digital assistant Siri and the iPhone. With the help of generative AI, Siri – according to Apple’s plans – will become the user’s central helper, who will also be able to talk to the digital assistant in a natural way.

The verdict is still pending, as the new functions will only be available with the next iOS operating system, which will be released in the fall. But it already worked in Apple’s presentation on Monday. Siri now reaches deeper into the system, knows what is in the calendar and emails, and in the best case scenario, puts all the information together in a meaningful way.

Will this make Siri a success story after all? Apple was actually a pioneer when it introduced Siri in 2011. Observers were amazed when the assistant was suddenly able to answer questions about the weather forecast, stock prices and nearby restaurants.

But further development was a great disappointment because Siri did not understand many questions or simply gave a list of Internet links as answers. When Amazon introduced Alexa and Google Assistant years later, Siri was quickly left behind and led a shadowy existence from then on.

Now it’s time for a new start with generative artificial intelligence. It’s high time for Apple. The company has been using AI in its devices for years, for example in facial recognition, photo editing, autocorrect, word suggestions and search functions. But Apple has remained particularly silent on the latest announcements. Especially after OpenAI popularized generative artificial intelligence with its chatbot ChatGPT, observers were waiting for a response from Apple.

But that didn’t happen until Monday. In the meantime, other companies had already caught up. Google introduced generative AI functions in its Pixel 8 smartphone last October, which could automatically remove objects and people from photos and summarize recorded conversations. This is exactly what Apple introduced on Monday. Samsung followed with its S24 smartphones in January, which could translate telephone conversations into other languages ​​in real time and change messages into a different writing style.

While competitors turned their devices into AI smartphones and ChatGPT amazed the world, the iPhone remained what it is: a smartphone with the limited capabilities of a Siri. This has recently put a lot of pressure on Apple, which was also reflected on the stock market. In January, Microsoft had already replaced Apple as the most valuable company in the world with its investment in OpenAI. Last week, Apple was briefly pushed into third place by AI chip specialist Nvidia.

Apple could use a little stimulation. The company is already having difficulty increasing iPhone sales. The company is losing ground in the important Chinese market, where iPhone sales are falling sharply. Apple is not yet delivering any interesting innovations, such as foldable displays. New AI functions could therefore provide an incentive to buy.

Market researcher Canalys expects that 16 percent of all smartphones worldwide will be equipped with generative AI functions this year, and in four years this will be more than every second device. “The potential of generative AI to revolutionize the user experience on smartphones is enormous,” the Canalys analysts write in a report.

Apple’s move to bring generative AI to its iPhones will be a pivotal moment for the technology, as it will quickly expand its reach to more than a billion users. But is it enough to simply offer features that Google and Samsung’s smartphones can also do?

Like its competitors, Apple is pursuing a hybrid strategy. Some AI functions are run directly on the devices, others in its own data centers in the cloud.

At the same time, the company has entered into a cooperation with OpenAI. If Siri doesn’t know what to do, she offers to ask ChatGPT. Apple only does something like this out of necessity because the company itself is not yet able to do it. According to reports, Apple had also held talks with Google and Cohere beforehand.

Apple is walking a fine line here. On the one hand, the company emphasizes the protection of user data at every opportunity and has actually invested a lot of effort and money in this. As long as AI is run directly on the iPhones, this is largely problem-free. With the latest iPhone 15 Pro models, Apple has also introduced a chip that is capable of powerful AI functions.

But transferring data to the cloud and running AI in data centers makes data protection much more difficult. According to media reports, this was also a critical part of the cooperation talks.

It is not surprising that Apple is late in catching up. Apple’s strategy when it comes to new technologies has always been to perfect rather than pioneer. This is how the company made its iPods and iPhones big, even though MP3 players and smartphones had already existed before.

But perfecting generative AI functions is no easy task. The systems tend to hallucinate, sometimes they simply invent their content. But Apple is careful to strictly control the user experience on its devices. This could quickly become a contradiction, and in the end Apple would be seen as neither a pioneer nor a perfectionist.