iPhone 14 release in Manhattan
The next-generation iPhones could support smarter photo editing thanks to Apple collaboration with Shutterstock. Reuters

Apple has hinted at significant AI advancements coming in 2024. The American tech giant is training its AI on millions of licensed Shutterstock images – here's what it could mean for the iPhone.

If rumours making the rounds online are anything to go by, the much-awaited iPhone 15 series successor will boast an impressive array of AI-powered functionalities. However, an AI's effectiveness hinges on its training data.

It is no secret that finding suitable content for AI training can be an arduous task. Publicly available online content is a common training ground for AI, but it can lead to bias and data quality issues.

AI trained on copyrighted material risks legal issues. Moreover, it can absorb and amplify misinformation present in its training data. Thankfully, Apple appears to have secured a valuable partner in Shutterstock, a leading stock image library (via Reuters).

Stock content providers like Shutterstock have massive images, audio, and video libraries. As an example of this vastness, the company showcased its video collection 2014 with a stunning reel of 4K clips from around the world, highlighting just a fraction of the 80 million+ assets available.

Unsurprisingly, Shutterstock is cashing in on the skyrocketing demand for AI training data by offering its resources to tech giants for a fee. Reuters reports Apple isn't alone. Meta, Amazon, and Google have reportedly made similar deals with Shutterstock, though specifics remain unclear.

In deals reportedly worth (£19.75 - £39.51) $25-$50 million each, tech giants like Apple are securing access to millions of high-quality images and metadata from Shutterstock's vast library (as evidenced by their 2014 video showcasing a fraction of their 80 million+ asset)].

Teaming up with Shutterstock opens doors for exciting advancements, as AI models will have a much richer learning environment to fuel their development.

The focus on iPhone AI advancements

Apple's reported partnership with Shutterstock could significantly enhance the iPhone's AI image recognition capabilities. In other words, the next generation iPhones could come with more innovative features for your photo library, including a more accurate search by object or scene and even automatic organisation based on content.

In addition to photo organisation, Apple's access to Shutterstock's vast library could unlock exciting possibilities for generative AI on the iPhone. Imagine an Apple equivalent of Google's Magic Editor that intelligently fills in the gaps during photo editing.

For instance, if you erase someone partially obscuring the Eiffel Tower, the AI, armed with its knowledge of landmarks from Shutterstock, could seamlessly reconstruct the missing portion.

Moreover, Shutterstock's rich audio and video library could fuel advancements in voice recognition, automatic transcription, and potentially even features like Personal Voice.

Regrettably, the full scope of Apple's AI plans remains under wraps. Nevertheless, Apple might shed some light on the upcoming advancements in iPhones, iOS 18, iPadOS 18, and macOS 15 during the WWDC 2024 keynote on June 10.

While nothing is set in stone, the iPhone 16 series has been floating around the rumour mill. In line with this, tech tipster Sonny Dickson recently released three images of dummy units representing the iPhone 16, iPhone 16 Plus, iPhone 16 Pro, and iPhone 16 Pro Max.