Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) 2024, kicking off on June 10 from Cupertino, California, is set to be one of the most highly anticipated events in the tech world this year. With a keynote by CEO Tim Cook, the event is expected to serve as the launch point for Apple's significant push into generative AI.

Wall Street and tech enthusiasts alike are eager to see what Apple has been developing, especially as competitors like Google and Microsoft have already rolled out their own AI offerings. Apple has been relatively quiet on the AI front, with only occasional mentions during earnings calls. However, Cook hinted at potential AI announcements during the company's Q2 call in May, emphasizing Apple's strengths in hardware, software, and privacy.

"We believe in the transformative power and promise of AI, and we believe we have advantages that will differentiate us in this new era," Cook stated. "These include Apple's unique combination of seamless hardware, software, and services integration; groundbreaking Apple silicon with our industry-leading neural engine; and our unwavering focus on privacy."

In addition to unveiling its AI strategy, Apple will debut the latest versions of its operating systems, including iOS, iPadOS, watchOS, macOS, tvOS, and significant updates to visionOS, which powers the Vision Pro mixed reality headset. However, the highlight is expected to be a new generative AI-powered version of Siri.

Siri Gets an AI Makeover

According to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, the new Siri will leverage generative AI to control individual features within apps, making it far more versatile than its current incarnation. This enhanced Siri could provide everything from proactive tips to improved responses to user queries. Apple's AI features, branded as Apple Intelligence, will also extend to apps like Messages, Notes, and Safari.

The method by which Apple will power a smarter Siri remains unclear. Reports indicate that Apple has held talks with OpenAI to license its GPT software and with Google to license its Gemini software. Each potential partnership has its complexities, given OpenAI's close work with Microsoft and Google's own use of Gemini in its Android smartphones.

AI Features and Hardware Integration

Apple's AI features are expected to be available on the latest hardware, specifically the iPhone 15 Pro and upcoming models equipped with the A17 Pro chipset. This chipset is essential for on-device AI processing, which offers enhanced security and reduced latency. While older iPhone models may miss out on some features, Mac and iPad users with at least an M1 chip will be able to utilize the new AI capabilities.

In addition to AI, Apple is expected to unveil Rich Communication Services (RCS) for the iPhone, allowing users to text high-quality images and videos to Android users. This move addresses a long-standing issue with SMS quality and security.

A Strategic Approach to AI

Apple's approach to AI is expected to be cautious and measured, avoiding the pitfalls experienced by competitors like Google and Microsoft. Apple is known for its attention to consumer perception and product quality, and it is unlikely to announce any features that are not fully developed and tested.

Beyond AI, Apple may introduce more customizable home screen options for the iPhone, allowing users to arrange app icons freely, a feature long requested by users. There are also rumors of updates to built-in apps, such as a refreshed Calculator app for iPad, a new password manager, and redesigns for the Settings and Control Center screens.