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Apple extends its privacy leadership with new updates across its platforms

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Apple has announced new updates aimed at enhancing user privacy across its platforms, including the innovative Private Cloud Compute feature. This feature extends the security of iPhone to the cloud, allowing processing of complex AI requests while protecting user data. Apple has also introduced new privacy features like locked and hidden apps, improved contact permissions, and a refreshed Passwords app for secure password management. Additionally, the new iOS 18, iPadOS 18, and macOS Sequoia include features like Mail categorization, satellite messaging, and presenter preview. These updates aim to give users greater control over their data and privacy.

Positive
  • Private Cloud Compute extends iPhone's security to the cloud, enhancing user data protection.
  • New locked and hidden app features add an extra layer of privacy for sensitive information.
  • Enhanced Contacts permission in iOS 18 allows users to share specific contacts with apps, improving control over personal data.
  • The refreshed Passwords app offers secure management of passwords and two-factor authentication codes.
  • Mail categorization in iOS 18 helps users focus on important messages.
  • Messages via satellite extend connectivity options for iPhone 14 and later models.
  • Presenter preview in macOS Sequoia enhances privacy during video conferencing.
Negative
  • Availability of some features is to certain regions, languages, and device models.
  • Potential dependency on carrier support for satellite messaging, which might incur additional fees.

Apple's introduction of Private Cloud Compute represents a significant step in addressing the evolving needs for user privacy and data security amid the growing use of artificial intelligence (AI) on personal devices. Traditionally, AI processing could either happen locally on the device or offloaded to cloud servers, each with its own advantages and drawbacks. Local processing ensures data privacy but is limited by hardware capabilities, while cloud-based processing leverages more powerful servers but risks data exposure. Apple's approach tries to combine the best of both worlds by offloading complex tasks to the cloud while maintaining stringent privacy safeguards, ensuring that user data is neither stored nor accessible beyond the immediate processing task.

From a technical standpoint, the integration of Apple's Secure Enclave and Trusted Execution Monitor within the server infrastructure is crucial. These features ensure that only authorized code runs on the servers, enhancing the security framework similar to the security architecture already trusted in iPhones. This positions Apple ahead in the tech industry by addressing major privacy concerns associated with cloud-based AI.

For investors, this move could help Apple maintain its competitive edge in the market by appealing to privacy-conscious consumers and enterprises. Companies are becoming increasingly aware of privacy implications and Apple's commitment to verifying these protections through independent audits further strengthens their position.

Rating: 1

The announcement of new privacy features signals Apple's ongoing commitment to user privacy, which is a core part of their brand value. Introducing locked and hidden apps enhances user control over personal data, appealing to those concerned about accidental data exposure. This aligns with the broader consumer shift towards valuing privacy and security, which has been gaining momentum in recent years.

The expansion of the Photos picker feature and new Contacts permission improvements reflect Apple's proactive approach in giving users granular control over their data. This is particularly pertinent as regulatory frameworks around data privacy become stricter globally. Apple's enhancements here could serve as a differentiator in markets with stringent data protection laws, potentially attracting more users to their ecosystem.

Additionally, the Messages via satellite feature offers a unique value proposition, particularly for users in remote areas or those frequently off the grid. This feature not only enhances the brand's innovative image but also opens new segments of consumers who prioritize connectivity in challenging environments.

For retail investors, the emphasis on privacy and security translates into strong consumer trust and brand loyalty, which can drive sustained revenue growth.

Rating: 1

Private Cloud Compute sets a new standard for privacy in artificial intelligence

CUPERTINO, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Apple® today announced new updates across its platforms that help empower users and keep them in control of their data. Private Cloud Compute extends the industry-leading protections of iPhone® to the cloud, so that users don’t have to choose between powerful intelligence grounded in their personal context and strong privacy protections. Apple also raised the bar for privacy with new features, such as locked and hidden apps, aimed at helping users protect sensitive areas of their phones. Apple introduced additional features designed with privacy and security in mind, including categorization in Mail, Messages via satellite, and presenter preview.

Apple today announced new updates across its platforms that help empower users and keep them in control of their data. (Photo: Business Wire)

Apple today announced new updates across its platforms that help empower users and keep them in control of their data. (Photo: Business Wire)

“Private Cloud Compute allows Apple Intelligence to process complex user requests with groundbreaking privacy,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering. “We’ve extended iPhone’s industry-leading security to the cloud, with what we believe is the most advanced security architecture ever deployed for cloud AI at scale. Private Cloud Compute uses your data only to fulfill your request, and never stores it, making sure it’s never accessible to anyone, including Apple. And we’ve designed the system so that independent experts can verify these protections.”

Superior Privacy for AI Capabilities

Apple Intelligence™, the personal intelligence system that puts powerful generative models right at the core of iPhone, iPad®, and Mac®, makes a user’s most personal devices even more useful and delightful.

A cornerstone of Apple Intelligence is on-device processing, which delivers personal intelligence without collecting users’ data. In those times when a user needs models that are larger than what can fit in their pocket today, Private Cloud Compute allows Apple Intelligence to flex and scale its computational capacity, drawing on larger, server-based models to handle more complex requests, all while protecting user privacy.

When a user makes a request, Apple Intelligence analyzes whether it can be processed on device. If it needs greater computational capacity, it can draw on Private Cloud Compute, which will send only the data that is relevant to the task to be processed on Apple silicon servers. When requests are routed to Private Cloud Compute, data is not stored or made accessible to Apple, and is only used to fulfill the user’s requests.

The Apple silicon servers that form the foundation of Private Cloud Compute provide unprecedented cloud security. This starts with the Secure Enclave, which protects critical encryption keys on the server just as it does on a user’s iPhone, while Secure Boot ensures the OS running on the server is signed and verified, just like in iOS. Trusted Execution Monitor makes sure only signed and verified code runs, and attestation enables a user’s device to securely verify the identity and configuration of a Private Cloud Compute cluster before sending a request. And to verify Apple’s privacy promise, independent experts can inspect the code that runs on Private Cloud Compute servers.

More details on Private Cloud Compute can be found at security.apple.com/blog/private-cloud-compute.

More Privacy Features Designed to Empower Users

Locked and hidden apps give users peace of mind that others won’t inadvertently see something unintended when showing their screen to someone else, or handing them their device. Users can lock an app to protect its contents from view, or hide an app to help prevent others from seeing it. When a user locks an app, if someone tries to tap it, they will be required to authenticate using Face ID®, Touch ID®, or a passcode. For additional privacy, a user can also hide an app, moving it to a locked, hidden apps folder that requires Face ID, Touch ID, or a passcode to open.

“We relentlessly deliver on our commitment to give users the strongest and most innovative privacy protections,” said Erik Neuenschwander, Apple’s director of User Privacy. “This year is no exception, and the ability to lock and hide apps is just one example of Apple helping users remain in control of their information, even when they are sharing their devices with others.”

For years, Apple has worked to ensure that a user can share exactly what they want to, and with whom. In 2020, Apple introduced the Photos picker, which lets a user select photos and videos to use in an app, without requiring full Photo Library access. This year, Apple has two new features that expand on this protection. With Contacts permission improvements in iOS 18, Apple is putting users in control by letting them choose which contacts to share with an app, rather than give an app access to all their contacts. Accessory Setup Kit also allows developers to provide an intuitive new way to pair a user’s accessories without letting an app see all the other devices on their network, keeping their devices private and making pairing seamless.

Other new updates across Apple’s platforms make it easier than ever for users to take advantage of privacy and security features.

Building on the foundation of Keychain®, which Apple first introduced more than 25 years ago, the new Passwords app makes it easy for users to access account passwords, passkeys, Wi-Fi passwords, and two-factor authentication codes stored securely in Keychain. The app also includes alerts for users regarding common weaknesses, such as passwords that can be easily guessed, have been used multiple times, or have appeared in known data leaks.

Additionally, the refreshed Privacy & Security section in Settings surfaces glanceable information, so users can more easily understand the level of access each app has.

Additional Features Built with Privacy by Design

Apple has been building privacy and security protections into its apps and services for many years, and iOS 18, iPadOS® 18, and macOS® Sequoia are no exception.

With iOS 18, categorization in Mail occurs entirely on a user’s iPhone, and automatically sorts messages into Primary, Promotions, Transactions, and Updates, letting users focus on the messages that matter to them most.

Messages via satellite in iOS 18 enables users to message their friends and family directly from their existing iMessage® and SMS conversations when they are without access to cellular connectivity or Wi-Fi.1 When going off the grid, users can message over satellite right from the Messages app, while maintaining end-to-end encryption for iMessage.

Presenter preview in macOS Sequoia helps ensure users no longer have to worry about oversharing when they’re video conferencing, using AirPlay®, or plugging in with a cable. With apps like FaceTime® and Zoom, users can share their whole screen, or just an app, and presenter preview appears automatically.

Availability

The developer betas of iOS 18, iPad OS 18, and macOS Sequoia are available to Apple Developer Program members at developer.apple.com starting today, and public betas will be available next month at beta.apple.com. New software features will be available this fall as a free software update. Features are subject to change. Some features may not be available in all regions, all languages, or on all devices. For more information about availability, visit apple.com.

Apple Intelligence will be available in beta on iPhone 15 Pro, iPhone 15 Pro Max, and iPad and Mac with M1 and later, with Siri and device language set to U.S. English, as part of iOS 18, iPadOS 18, and macOS Sequoia this fall. For more information, visit apple.com/apple-intelligence.

Apple revolutionized personal technology with the introduction of the Macintosh in 1984. Today, Apple leads the world in innovation with iPhone, iPad, Mac, AirPods, Apple Watch, and Apple Vision Pro. Apple’s six software platforms — iOS, iPadOS, macOS, watchOS, visionOS, and tvOS — provide seamless experiences across all Apple devices and empower people with breakthrough services including the App Store, Apple Music, Apple Pay, iCloud, and Apple TV+. Apple’s more than 150,000 employees are dedicated to making the best products on earth and to leaving the world better than we found it.

1. Messages via satellite will be available in iOS 18 along with Apple’s existing satellite features in the U.S. on iPhone 14 and later. SMS availability will depend on carrier. Carrier fees may apply. Users should check with their carrier for details.

NOTE TO EDITORS: For additional information visit Apple Newsroom (www.apple.com/newsroom), or email Apple’s Media Helpline at media.help@apple.com.

© 2024 Apple Inc. All rights reserved. Apple, the Apple logo, iPhone, Apple Intelligence, iPad, Mac, Face ID, Touch ID, Keychain, iPadOS, macOS, iMessage, AirPlay, and FaceTime are trademarks of Apple. Other company and product names may be trademarks of their respective owners.

Shane Bauer

Apple

Shanebauer@apple.com

Source: Apple Inc.

FAQ

What is Private Cloud Compute in the new Apple update?

Private Cloud Compute is a feature that enhances user privacy by extending iPhone's security to the cloud, allowing AI request processing without storing user data.

What new privacy features are included in the iOS 18 update?

iOS 18 includes features like Mail categorization, improved Contacts permissions, locked and hidden apps, and a refreshed Passwords app.

How does Apple ensure the privacy of AI requests?

Apple uses Private Cloud Compute to process AI requests without storing data, ensuring that data is not accessible to anyone, including Apple.

What devices will support Apple Intelligence with the new updates?

Apple Intelligence will be available in beta on iPhone 15 Pro, iPhone 15 Pro Max, and iPad and Mac with M1 and later.

When will the new Apple software updates be available?

The new software features will be available this fall as a free update, with public betas available next month.

What improvements does the new Passwords app offer?

The new Passwords app helps securely manage account passwords, passkeys, Wi-Fi passwords, and two-factor authentication codes.

What is the satellite messaging feature in iOS 18?

Satellite messaging in iOS 18 allows users to send messages from the Messages app without cellular or Wi-Fi connectivity, available on iPhone 14 and later.

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