Tech

Apple iOS 18 Debuts at WWDC, Partners with OpenAI

Apple unveils iOS 18 with enhanced AI features and VisionOS 2, expanding Vision Pro sales to 9 countries.

By Athena Xu

6/10, 14:03 EDT
Apple Inc.
Alphabet Inc.
Microsoft Corporation
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Key Takeaway

  • Apple unveiled iOS 18 at WWDC, featuring enhanced customization, security, and AI capabilities through a partnership with OpenAI.
  • VisionOS 2 for Vision Pro headset introduces 3D photo conversion and new gesture controls; international preorders start June 13.
  • Apple's AI push aims to catch up with Google and Microsoft amid declining revenue and competitive pressure in the AI space.

iOS 18 Unveiled

Apple Inc. introduced iOS 18, the latest version of its iPhone operating system, at the annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) held at its Cupertino headquarters. Senior Vice President Craig Federighi demonstrated the new software, highlighting its enhanced customization and security features. Users can now lock individual apps and enjoy new capabilities in email and text messaging, including satellite connections for sending messages.

The event, which began at 10 a.m. local time, showcased updates across Apple's operating systems, but the focus was on new artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities. Apple is integrating AI into its latest operating systems, with a new system expected to be called Apple Intelligence. This system will include a partnership with OpenAI to power a ChatGPT-like chatbot.

Apple's AI efforts are seen as a move to catch up with competitors like Alphabet Inc.'s Google and Microsoft Corp., who have made significant advancements in generative AI. "Data security will be a key advantage for the company, and we expect them to spend time talking about their privacy efforts during the WWDC," said Citi analyst Atif Malik.

VisionOS 2 and International Expansion

Earlier in the event, Apple unveiled visionOS 2, the latest version of its software for the Vision Pro headset. The new OS allows users to turn regular photos into 3D images and introduces new gesture controls. Vision Pro will be available for preorder in China, Hong Kong, Japan, and Singapore starting June 13, with sales beginning on June 28. The device will also be available in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, and the UK, with preorders starting June 28 and sales on July 12.

Apple Vice President Mike Rockwell announced that VisionOS 2 would support an ultrawide display, equivalent to two side-by-side 4K monitors, and include train support for its Travel Mode. The Vision Pro now has 2,000 apps ready for use, enhancing its utility and appeal.

AI Integration and Competitive Pressure

Apple's new AI system, Apple Intelligence, aims to integrate advanced AI capabilities into its products. The company had an early lead in AI with the launch of Siri in 2011 but has since been overtaken by Amazon's Alexa and Google Assistant. The arrival of OpenAI's ChatGPT in late 2022 further accelerated the AI race, prompting Apple to step up its efforts.

Apple CEO Tim Cook is under pressure to demonstrate that the company can lead in AI innovation. The company is also dealing with a broader sales slump, with revenue declining in five of the past six quarters due to sluggish smartphone demand and a slowdown in China. "This is a very important event for Apple. The company is facing pressure to show off its artificial intelligence technology and how it folds into its products and software," said Kif Leswing, a CNBC reporter.

Management Quotes

  • Craig Federighi, Senior Vice President of Apple:

    "The software for Apple’s flagship product allows users to customize and secure their applications, including a feature that lets people lock individual apps."

  • Tim Cook, CEO of Apple:

    "Apple is using the conference to showcase updated versions of its operating systems, but its AI announcements are expected to be the highlight."