Apple CEO Tim Cook gestures during Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference in San Jose, California, U.S. June 6, 2022.
Image: Courtesy

Apple is set to enhance its Siri voice assistant and operating systems by integrating OpenAI's ChatGPT, aiming to catch up in the AI race.

The iPhone maker revealed the Siri upgrade along with several other new features at its annual developers conference on Monday.

This upgrade is part of a new personalized AI system called "Apple Intelligence," designed to help users navigate Apple devices more easily.


Updates to iPhone and Mac operating systems will include access to ChatGPT through a partnership with developer OpenAI. ChatGPT will also be used to enhance other tools, including text and content generation, with a test version available in the autumn.

Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive, stated that the move would take the company’s products “to new heights” as he opened the Worldwide Developers Conference at the tech giant’s headquarters in Cupertino, California.

Not everyone welcomed the announcement. Elon Musk, the owner of Tesla and Twitter/X, threatened to ban iPhones from his companies due to "data security" concerns.


"Apple has no clue what's actually going on once they hand your data over to OpenAI," Mr. Musk said on X. "They're selling you down the river."

Apple has faced pressure to introduce new AI features to its products after rivals rapidly adopted the technology.

After being overtaken by Microsoft as the world's most valuable company in January, Apple was surpassed again by Nvidia in early June.

Ben Wood, chief analyst at CCS Insight, noted that while Apple's new personal AI system "should help placate nervous investors," its ChatGPT integration might expose deeper problems for the firm.

"Arguably, this sees Apple admitting its limitations given ChatGPT will kick in at a point where Siri is no longer able to help a user," he told the BBC.

Apple has been largely absent in the recent wave of AI products released by tech firms.

Mr. Cook told investors in 2023 that the company would approach the tech with care, and on Monday, those plans were finally detailed.

What is 'Apple Intelligence'?

“Apple Intelligence” is not a standalone product or app. It will be integrated into every app and Apple product, whether it’s a writing assistant refining your message drafts or your diary showing you the best route to your next appointment.

Similar to Microsoft's AI assistant Copilot, it won’t require an extra fee to activate.

Siri, the voice assistant Apple acquired in 2010, has been refreshed with a new interface and a more conversational approach to help users navigate their devices and apps more seamlessly.

Apple emphasized the security of Apple Intelligence during Monday's keynote.

Some processing will be carried out on the device itself, while larger actions requiring more power will be sent to the cloud—but no data will be stored there.

This is crucial for customers who pay premium prices for Apple's privacy promises.

The system "puts powerful generative models right at the core of your iPhone, iPad, and Mac," said Apple senior vice president of software engineering Craig Federighi.

"It draws on your personal context to give you intelligence that's most helpful and relevant for you, and it protects your privacy at every step."

What does the OpenAI and Apple deal mean?

Apple’s decision to integrate OpenAI’s ChatGPT technology was widely anticipated but is unusual for a company that closely guards its products.

Google and Microsoft have recently faced scrutiny over errors made by their AI products, with Google rolling back a new feature in May after erroneous answers went viral.

For years, Apple refused to allow its customers to download any apps outside of the App Store, arguing they might not be secure, and did not allow any web browser other than its own Safari for the same reason. This policy only changed due to EU legislation.

Is it a sign of recognition that even Apple can’t compete with ChatGPT right now? If so, it underscores the current power of AI supergiant OpenAI. The firm did say it would integrate other products in the future but did not name any.

Apple also announced that its mixed reality headset, the Vision Pro, will go on sale in the UK on 12 July. It has been available in the US since February.

Other new features announced on Monday include:

  • Sending texts via satellite
  • Scheduling messages to send at a later time
  • Using head gestures (nodding for yes or shaking head for no) to control AirPods Pro
  • A dedicated app for passwords accessible across devices
  • The ability to hide certain apps or lock them away behind Face ID or a passcode