Craig Federighi talks OpenAI partnership in new interview

One of the biggest new features announced with iOS 18 and macOS 15 at WWDC 2024 is Apple Intelligence, a set of AI-powered tools. Although these features won’t be available to users until later this year, Apple’s head of software engineering, Craig Federighi, discussed the future of Apple Intelligence in an interview with Fast business.

Craig Federighi on Apple’s partnership with OpenAI

With Apple Intelligence, users can now ask the system to rephrase text, summarize messages or emails, generate images and even emoji. Siri has also been updated with AI, so it now understands the context of what’s on the screen and allows users to control more aspects of the device.

Apple uses both on-device and cloud processing for Apple Intelligence features. The company also partnered to integrate ChatGPT into Siri. Although Apple has put a lot of effort into creating its own language models, Federighi acknowledges that there are other good LLMs available.

“These very large frontier models have interesting capabilities that some users like, and we saw that integrating them into our experiments could make (these capabilities) much more accessible than they are today,” the executive said. . According to Federighi, GPT-4o is one of the best LLMs currently available, which is why Apple wanted to integrate it with Siri.

To make things transparent for users, Siri will ask for permission to send requests to ChatGPT whenever Apple Intelligence is unable to answer a question. Federighi also says that Apple plans to add support for more third-party language models in the future, so users can choose what suits them best.

These are the iPhones, iPads and Macs compatible with “Apple Intelligence”

Apple Intelligence in China

China is one of Apple’s most important markets, but also one of the most regulated. These regulations make it much harder for non-Chinese companies to offer their AI models there – but how does this affect Apple? Without providing too many details, Federighi confirmed that the company was trying to “find a way” to bring Apple Intelligence to China.

“We don’t have a timetable to announce it at this time, but it’s definitely something we want to do.” Apple Intelligence will first be available in US English, but it’s unclear whether users in other regions will be able to experience it.

Read more about the Craig Federighi interview

A portion of the queries sent to Apple Intelligence are processed by Apple’s AI servers called Private Cloud Compute, or PCC. The company found a way to store data requests and cryptographically destroy them after processing – and Apple doesn’t see anything.

Although Federighi hopes that future chips will be able to run broader language models, he notes that it remains important to have an online model to provide up-to-date information.

“I couldn’t rule it out,” he said, “…but even in that world I think you would expect that sometimes your device, to meet your request, would at least go to stores of knowledge that are outside the device. So even in this future, I think there will be a role for contacting external services.

Be sure to check out the full interview on the Fast Company website.

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