How Apple weaved AI into the iPhone 15 and Apple Watch 9

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Jason Hiner/ZDNET

While other tech companies like Microsoft and Google put artificial intelligence (AI) at the forefront of their marketing and product strategies, Apple has been quiet about the implementation of the technology. The iPhone maker has refused to confirm rumors of an internal, proprietary ChatGPT-like platform, and has held two events since the boom of generative AI without directly discussing the subject. 

Also: How to preorder the iPhone 15 series, Apple Watch Series 9, Apple Watch Ultra 2, and get the best deals

But the truth is that AI was weaved into many functionalities announced during Apple’s Wonderlust event, where the company launched the iPhone 15, Apple Watch Series 9, and Apple Watch Ultra 2. All of these products demonstrated the use of AI within the upgrades that Apple touted.

iPhone 15 and AI

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Apple just launched the iPhone 15, iPhone 15 Plus, iPhone 15 Pro, and iPhone 15 Pro Max, four new high-end smartphones to succeed the iPhone 14 lineup. During the announcement, Apple touted new capabilities, such as giving the iPhone 15 and 15 Plus some features that had been exclusive to the iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max, and a new titanium construction for the iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max. 

iPhones have been incorporating AI in different ways that can enhance the user experience, from intelligently recognizing a subject and blurring everything else when the camera is in Portrait mode, to integrating Siri, Apple’s virtual assistant, into most apps. 

Also: My iPhone 15 Pro Max hands-on: The 5 biggest reasons to upgrade

The iPhone 15 also features an upgraded camera experience, thanks to AI. Now, whenever you open the camera on your iPhone 15, your device will use machine learning to determine if there is a person or a pet in the frame. If there is, it’ll automatically switch to Portrait mode. 

The iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max’s new A17 Pro chip is a 3nm chip, making these the only smartphones available with such a potent yet efficient processor. Aside from powering day-to-day use and the AI behind the camera array, the chip also powers the AI necessary behind the iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max’s more accurate predictive text. 

Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2

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Jason Hiner/ZDNET

The Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 feature Apple’s new S9 SiP, a more powerful processor that makes for faster performance and smoother graphics, enabling the Watch’s new double-tap feature. But beyond these upgrades, Apple also improved its AI virtual assistant, Siri. 

The 4-core neural engine in the S9 accelerates AI functions, allowing for better performance in machine-learning tasks, such as image and voice recognition. 

Also: You can already use the Apple Watch’s double-tap feature. Here’s how

Siri requests are now processed on-device instead of in the cloud. Since the Apple Watch will now process Siri queries, these requests won’t go to the cloud or your phone, resulting in faster responses, unrestrained by a cellular connection. Dictation on the Watch is also 25% more accurate than before, ensuring Siri and your Watch understand you better.

As someone who constantly asks Siri to open the garage, close the curtains, or turn the lights on or off, I look forward to seeing an improved performance for Siri queries.

Apple is also implementing Siri plus Health, an integration between the AI assistant and the Health app that will give you easier access to it. Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 users will be able to ask the Watch how many hours they slept or tell the Watch when they took their medicine, and they will get more than an “Interesting question” in response from Siri. 

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