The new operating system will employ deep neural networks, capable of learning from and analyzing massive quantities of data. Apple’s AI will use “long short-term memory” to remember information from earlier inputs which may add context too its analysis. This AI will be better able to interpret and learn from the user’s inputs. Apple’s developments will improve a feature they call “Quicktype”. Quicktype will now use context garnered using these deep neural networks to predict text for responding to messages. For instance, Siri can now offer to auto respond to a message asking “where are you” with the appropriate information.
Last month, Apple also announced on its website an upcoming application programming interface which will allow third-party app designers and coders to use this advanced type of neural network in a wide variety of apps. This “Basic Neural NetworkSubroutines” tool will allow apps to be constructed to use this technology on iOS and OS X, as well as operating systems for Apple TV and Apple Watch.
Use of such neural networks normally requires internet access allowing computer servers to deliver AI results to a portable device, but Apple wants app designers to build neural nets into apps which would function without a connection to the internet. Technical obstacles may remain before such offline AI functionality is useful, and it is uncertain how well these neural nets will work on small devices such as watches and phones, as they require a significant amount of processing power and battery life. Attempting to give their devices such abilities puts Apple ahead of companies such as Google and IBM who have researched such AI technology, but have not yet attempted to make it available in their products.
Apple also announced improved assistive keyboard features including multilingual typing and improved scheduling features. These features will be available in iOS 10, which will be released in the fall. A public beta version will debut in July. IOS 10 is available now for app developers to start employing these new features. This means we should expect a wide range of apps showing off these new capabilities by the time iOS 10 debuts later this year.