What is Apple’s Intelligent Search and Should You be Prepared for it?

Jun 14, 2024 by
What is Apple’s Intelligent Search and Should You be Prepared for it?

Apple are often seen as trailblazers in the tech world, with their incredible (but overpriced and underperforming) Apple Vision Pro testament to their forward-thinking ideals. When it comes to AI, however, they have thus far been lagging behind their immediate competitors Google and Microsoft.

That, however, is all set to change with the introduction of “Intelligent Search” in iOS 18 and macOS 15. According to the California tech giant, IS represents a “significant leap in web browsing technology.”

It uses a combination of advanced AI and on-device processing to provide concise summaries of web content directly within the search results, reducing the need for users to navigate multiple web pages. For Apple users, many of whom swear by the immediacy of the interface, it’s good news because Windows users have been enjoying similar functionality for months already. But what does it bring to the already crowded AI table that its competitors lack?

Key Features of Intelligent Search

AI-Powered Summarisation

Intelligent Search uses Apple’s proprietary on-device AI technology to analyse and summarise web pages. This technology, known as “Ajax,” scans the content of web pages, identifying key topics and phrases, and then generates brief, informative summaries. This means users can quickly grasp the essential information without having to click through to the full article​.

Privacy and Security

A standout feature of Apple’s Intelligent Search is its emphasis on user privacy. By processing data on-device rather than in the cloud, Apple ensures that user information remains secure. This aligns with Apple’s broader commitment to privacy, exemplified by features such as iCloud Private Relay, which further enhances secure browsing​.

Web Eraser

This tool allows users to remove unwanted elements from web pages, such as ads, images, or text, and have these changes persist across sessions. This personalised browsing experience not only enhances privacy but also provides a cleaner, more focused web environment​.

Implications for Users and the Industry

Enhanced User Experience

Intelligent Search aims to streamline the browsing experience by delivering key information more efficiently. Users benefit from faster access to relevant content without the clutter of unnecessary details. This is particularly useful for mobile users who may prefer quick summaries over lengthy articles.

Impact on SEO and Content Creation

The introduction of Intelligent Search could disrupt traditional SEO and digital marketing practices. Since users might rely more on the summarised content provided by Intelligent Search, websites could see a decline in direct traffic from search engines. This shift necessitates a revaluation of how content is optimised and presented online. SEO strategies may need to adapt to ensure that summarised content still drives user engagement and conversions​.

Privacy-First Browsing

By focusing on on-device processing, Apple sets a new standard for privacy in web browsing. This approach not only protects user data but also challenges other tech companies to enhance their privacy measures. The Web Eraser tool, in particular, empowers users to control their browsing environment, potentially diminishing the influence of ad-driven content and increasing the demand for more user-centric advertising models​.

Future Developments

Apple’s commitment to AI integration doesn’t stop with Intelligent Search. The company is also developing a visual search feature, expected to launch in 2025, which will allow users to obtain information from images directly within Safari. This feature will build on the existing Visual Lookup capabilities, further enhancing the search and browsing experience by integrating more intuitive, context-aware AI tools​.

Whatever the future may hold, IS could either prove a transformative step in web browsing or just another drop in the ocean. It’s the summarisation feature that holds the most promise and while this innovation undoubtedly poses certain challenges for SEO, it also opens new avenues for creating user-focused, high-quality content. And quality is what Apple is all about.