Unlocking the Future: APPLE's AI Revolution and Its Impact on Your Tech Gadgets

And so, in an increasingly tech-propelled world where artificial intelligence (AI) is the new innovation hub, the company is jumping on the AI-wagon with its new entity dubbed ‘Apple Intelligence’ that promises to make the iPhones, Macs and iPads more intuitive, more private, and, of course, more intelligent. But there’s a dark side to the story, a tale of exclusion, that perhaps doesn’t include all our favourite iPhones. Let’s unravel the story of Apple Intelligence and its ‘dark side’.

The APPLE Intelligence Exclusivity: Who Gets In?

Apple Intelligence has begun and, to be honest, it comes with a touch of an inhibited sense of nostalgia for the ‘old Apple times’. Back in the days when Apple created hardware, you needed the latest hardware to enter the Apple AI galaxy. Sorry, coloured PCs holders, iPhone 15 Pro or iPhone 15 Pro Max is what you need. Fans of the old fatties – don’t get too excited, as you’ll be disappointed. Older, totally recent market-entrants just missed the science-fiction train. The same goes to Mac users. You would need a computer with an Apple Silicon chip. In other words, you need a model that hit the market only in 2020 or even later.

APPLE's Privacy Armor: The On-Device AI Processing

At a moment in which privacy is perhaps an even more prominent issue, this pivot to on-device AI processing might be read as a pledge, on Apple’s part, to continue its dominance of the privacy space. So Apple’s AI is deeply embedded in devices, more or less invisibly, without storing personal data in the cloud for analysis. This sort of AI reiterates, to some extent, Apple’s traditional emphasis on privacy, but also indicates a major shift from the current mainstream AI analytics, which is cloud-based.

The Key Distinguisher: Neural Processing Units (NPU)

What makes the coming devices with Apple Intelligence different from the ones that came before? The most important difference is the Neural Processing Units (NPU). These are functionally similar to central and graphical processing units except that they’re tailored to the sorts of parallel processing that AI needs to do, and they do it remarkably efficiently. The NPU is what enables the fine-grained, parallel operations that AI and machine-learning models require to do the kinds of inferences that support the generative aspects of Apple Intelligence.

Why Recent iPhones Miss the APPLE Intelligence Mark

The elephant in the room – or perhaps in the Apple store – is why not all devices take part in Apple’s AI odyssey. They all have formidable NPUs, but the real differentiator is RAM capacity. The devices slated for Apple Intelligence have far more RAM capacity, which is needed to bring the AI models to the edge and perform them on the device without relying on cloud-computing crutches. That slams otherwise very powerful devices out of the AI party that Apple is throwing.

The Real-World Implication: What Does This Mean for You?

If you take the device out of the weeds of the tech press, what does Apple’s roadmap for computerised minds mean for the Apple user? Initially, it will mean a set of privacy-first, intelligent-assistance experiences that bridge the Apple ecosystem. But there is a gaping great chasm between the devices that can directly access these features, which could mean a flurry of upgrades to keep up with Apple’s future.

APPLE's AI: Bridging or Widening the Digital Divide?

But a future of Apple Intelligence made possible by that technical confinement also opens a broader debate about the inclusivity of technological evolution: the increasingly AI-induced divisions between devices become not just a technical issue, but a socio-economic question of how to avoid a wider digital divide.

APPLE: The Orchard of Innovation

The behemoth that is Apple has always been a leader in tech innovation, continually expanding the current limits of what our devices can do. By launching Apple Intelligence, Apple not only maintains its reputation as an innovation juggernaut, but it underscores its core values: user privacy; user-centric design; and unbridled doggedness to forge ahead. As we venture into this bold new world of AI, however, there are questions and opportunities that need to be answered and explored with respect to broader considerations of inclusiveness, device lifecycle and environmental footprint associated with rapid tech turnover.

With Apple Intelligence, Apple invites us to envision a future where our devices know us better than we ever have before, where innovation and humanity can walk hand-in-hand. At the precipice of this new age, integrating technology toward the ideals of privacy, equity and sustainability will truly herald the next step.

Jun 16, 2024
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