After Google announced it would be adding a contextual prediction and search feature called Now on Tap to the next version of the Android operating system, it looked like the search giant had just lapped Apple. At Monday’s Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple responded with Intelligence. It’s a predictive assistant built on top of the iOS’s Spotlight search and Siri voice assistant. Intelligence plugs into your contacts, calendar, maps, and even third-party apps. The goal is to give users more accurate search results and to deliver important information before you even know you need it.
There are two main components of Intelligence that function hand in hand: search and predictions. Searches can now look inside apps in much more detail than they could previously. Intelligence can understand search phrases, like “show me karaoke photos of Eddy,” and return a gallery of the photos you’re looking for. The predictive assistant can bring up reminders based on geolocation, automatically add appointments to your calendar from e-mails, and remind you when to leave to arrive at an appointment on time.
Apple says it has taken steps with Intelligence designed to accommodate privacy. The company says Intelligence will be entirely anonymous and won’t be linked to a user’s Apple ID. Apple’s services are different for another reason. Many of them work only on Apple devices, while Google tends to make its stuff available on the iPhone and the Web, in addition to its own platforms. That facilitates Google to collect even more data to improve its services.
Until now, the biggest question in the smartphone war has been whether users can do more with Android or with iOS. With Now on Tap and Intelligence, it looks like the next big question is which platform can do more for you, all on its own.