Forget DALL-E: Apple's new AI image generator runs on-device and works like magic

Tapping into the AI-based Apple Intelligence, Image Playground will let you cook up your own animated, illustrated, and sketched images to use and share across Messages, Notes, and more.
Written by Lance Whitney, Contributor
Apple's new AI-powered Image Playground tool

Apple users who want to spice up their text messages, notes, and other items with cool, custom images will be able to do just that via a new feature called Image Playground. Unveiled on Monday at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference 2024, Image Playground will be available as one of the many Apple Intelligence tools built into iOS 18, iPadOS 18, and MacOS Sequoia.

Also: Everything Apple announced at WWDC 2024, including iOS 18, Siri, AI, and more

With Image Playground, you'll be able to design your own images by choosing among three different styles: Animation, Illustration, and Sketch. You'll also be given a few different ways to define and refine your image. You can pick a specific category, such as themes, costumes, accessories, or places. You can type a description of the image you want. You can even grab a person from your photo library to include in your image.

Image Playground will be accessible in several apps, including Messages, Notes, Keynote, Freeform, and Pages, as well as third-party apps that take advantage of the Image Playground API. Plus, it has its own dedicated app where you can play around with different images to use and share.

In Messages, you'll be able to see suggested image ideas related to your conversations and create the right images to share with other people. As one example offered by Apple, maybe you're involved in a group chat discussing a hiking adventure. Image Playground will toss out potential images related to your friends, your destination, and your activity.

Also: iOS 18: All the iPhone changes Apple announced at WWDC 2024

In Notes, you can use Image Playground through the new Image Wand in the Apple Pencil tool palette. Here, you'll be able to turn a rough sketch into a full-blown image. You can even make use of an empty space in a note to create an image based on text and other content from the surrounding area.

With Image Playground popping up in iOS 18, iPadOS 18, and MacOS Sequoia, you'll be able to test it in beta mode in US English this coming fall. However, you'll need the right type of device to handle the AI processing. That means an iPhone 15 Pro or iPhone 15 Pro Max or an iPad and Mac with an M1 chip or higher.

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