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Apple WWDC 2024: Apple Intelligence, iOS 18, new Siri, iPadOS 18 and more

AI takes center stage at Apple's developer event

wwdc 2024 keynote live blog
(Image: © Justin Sullivan/Getty/Apple/Tom’s Guide)

Apple has launched a new era of AI — as in Apple Intelligence, the company's branding for the AI-powered features coming to its various devices later this year. At WWDC 2024, Apple detailed AI-assisted tools for writing, image editing and organization that are being offered as a preview of what Apple Intelligence has to offer.

Apple Intelligence will have a fairly limited audience to start with. The features will only work on the iPhone 15 Pro, iPhone 15 Pro Max and any Mac or iPad powered by Apple's M series chips. Older devices will be on the sidelines.

The tools Apple showcased during its developer conference add things like writing suggestions, an new Image Playground that creates graphics from prompts and Genmoji. Photo editing tools include a Magic Eraser-like feature that removes background objects from photos and also gathers up photos and videos to create a story based on your prompts.

Many Apple Intelligence features will take place on supported devices, though some tasks may be offloaded to secure Apple services. Apple insists that it won't see or store any of data related to Apple Intelligence activities.

Apple Intelligence may have been the highlight of WWDC, but it wasn't the only announcement. Here's everything Apple announced. 

WWDC 2024 Biggest Announcements

  • Apple Intelligence: With Apple Intelligence Apple is focusing on AI tools that understand you and context to provide practical and fun tools to help you get more done using a mix of on-device and cloud processing. It's coming to iOS 18, macOS Sierra and iPadOS 18. 
  • iOS 18: You'll be able to better customize your home screen and control center, with the ability to now lock apps with Face ID. Additional features include improvements to Messages, Mail and Maps, plus a big redesign for Photos.
  • iPadOS 18: All of the above features for the iPhone are also coming to the iPad, which also gets its own calculator app, plus a floating tool bar across multiple built-in apps.
  • macOS Sequoia: Otherwise known as macOS 15, the upcoming Mac software update will include new Continuity features for access your iPhone from your Mac and Safari upgrades that include page summaries.
  • watchOS 11: Apple's smartwatch software is gaining several new fitness-focused features. Highlights include Training Load, which measures workout intensity, and the ability to pause ring progress for rest days and injuries without losing your streaks. A Vitals app collects your health metrics and warns you if something is out of whack, while interface changes improve smart stacks and Photos watch feaces.
  • visionOS 2: The Vision Pro software lets you turn 2D photos into spatial photos and support for new gestures. Apple is also launching its headset in additional countries outside the U.S.
  • tvOS 18: The software that powers Apple TV devices will gain a feature called InSight that lists info on actors appearing in the shows you're watching. (Any similarity to Prime Video's X-Ray feature is purely coincidental.) Subtitles can kick in automatically when you mute a show or jump back a few seconds, and dialogue audio will be enhanced.

Watch the WWDC keynote replay

The WWDC keynote is over, but you can watch the replay via the embedded video above or on YouTube. Meanwhile, we'll continue to update our blog with more details about today's announcements.


What will macOS be called this year?

MacBook Air M3

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

An annual tradition just ahead of each year’s WWDC keynote that’s beloved by all — well, beloved by me, anyhow — is trying to guess what name the new version of macOS will be released under. As you may well remember, since macOS 10.9, Apple has named its Mac software after various locations around California, the home state of the Mac maker. If you’ll excuse this stroll down memory lane, those nicknames since macOS 11 have included

  • macOS Big Sur;
  • macOS Monterey;
  • macOS Ventura; and the current version,
  • macOS Sonoma

So what’s it going to be this year? Coastlines (Mavericks), mountains (Sierra), deserts (Mojave) and national parks (Yosemite and El Capitan) are already well-represented. My guess is that the name will reflect the arrival of AI features in macOS, with a revamped Siri as the star of the show.

Ladies and gentlemen, I suggest that macOS 15 is going to be unveiled as macOS Hollywood. The good people of Hollywood, Fla., will just have to live with it.

iOS 18 may offer some iPhone 16 clues

iPhone 16 render front and back

(Image credit: Future)

As exciting a time as WWDC is, it usually takes a back seat on the Apple events calendar to the fall iPhone launch. (Apple hasn’t announced a date for that yet, obviously, but if we were to make an educated guess, we’d suggest September 10 as the ideal iPhone 16 release date.) But this year might be different.

That’s coming straight from Tom’s Guide editorial director Mark Spoonauer, who thinks that iOS 18 may overshadow the iPhone 16 this year. The reason? While the iPhones are going to see some changes this year — the most notable might be larger screen sizes for the iPhone 16 Pro models — we’re not expecting anything dramatic, at least not along the lines of the AI features Apple has planned for the iPhone at least. 

So if you’re eager to see what the highlights of the next batch of iPhones will be, today’s iOS 18 preview may give you a pretty good clue.

Which iPhones will get Apple AI?

iOS 18 logo on iPhone in person's lap

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

I have some big questions about iOS 18 heading into WWDC, and chief among them is exactly which AI features will run on what iPhones.

We’ve heard that the best experience for AI on the iPhone will require an iPhone 15 Pro or later. That would essentially mean you’d need either an iPhone 15 Pro or an iPhone 15 Pro Max — or you’ll need to upgrade to one of the new iPhones coming out this fall. The idea is that only a phone powered by an A17 chipset or later will have the processing power and neural engine to handle iOS 18’s new AI features.

Here’s what’s not clear about that, though: does that suggest only those phones will be able to handle on-device AI and that older iPhones will need to off-load things to the cloud? Or will older iPhones be shut out of AI entirely? A comment in a recent Mark Gurman column at Bloomberg seemingly suggests the latter:

The processing requirements of AI will mean that users need an iPhone 15 Pro or one of the models coming out this year.

I choose to believe that we’re talking about on-device AI here, and that older iPhones will be able to turn to cloud-based servers to assist with AI. We’ll find out for certain later today.

Apple Vision Pro could go international

Apple Vision Pro on table

(Image credit: Future)

While we’re not expecting Apple to announce a successor to the Apple Vision Pro at WWDC 2024, that doesn’t mean the keynote will ignore the headset entirely. Rumor has it that Apple is gearing up to release the Vision Pro outside the U.S., meaning international buyers may not have to resort to buying from scalpers for much longer.

It’s been reported that Apple has flown “hundreds of employees from its international stores” to its headquarters in Cupertino, all to train them on all things Vision Pro. That way they can be ready to demo the headset to prospective buyers around the world, and hopefully pick things up after the Vision Pro’s sales slump.

The countries expecting to get the Vision Pro next include Germany, France, Australia, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and China