Windows 11’s Recall feature is already running on unsupported CPUs – and it shows why this is a bad idea

Windows 11 enthusiasts are already playing with the new – and controversialRecall feature the OS now has in preview (for 24H2), and have got it running on current Arm-based CPUs by fudging things.

While Recall is present in the recently released preview of the Windows 11 24H2 update, Microsoft makes it clear that the feature won’t work on current PCs, as it requires a Copilot+ PC (the new name for the ‘AI PC’).

In other words, Recall needs a device with a powerful enough NPU to run it (and other new AI features in 24H2), which is currently only the new Snapdragon X chips (and AMD plus Intel CPUs further down the line).

Even those Snapdragon laptops aren’t available just yet (they will be next month), but leaker Albacore has still managed to tinker under the hood of Windows 11 24H2 and get Recall working on a current Arm processor.

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You can see a video of Recall being summoned on a standard (non-Copilot+) Windows 11 PC in the above post on X (formerly Twitter). As Albacore says, it shows ‘screenray’ in action which refers to the context-sensitive mode entered when you find something using Recall and select it.

As you can see, if the search result you want is a text file, screenray presents options pertaining to what you’ll need to do – copy and paste text. Or if it’s an image, you’ll get choices to copy the picture or open it for editing in an app.


Analysis: Working as not intended

It’s pretty cool to see this feature working on a processor without the necessary strength in terms of a powerful NPU (like the new Snapdragon X silicon sports), but at the same time, it illustrates why that NPU is needed. As you probably noticed, the interaction with Recall and screenray therein looks a bit laggy here – what the NPU does is provide specific AI acceleration to ensure this process runs more smoothly.

Furthermore, the feature is still in testing within a preview build here, and that won’t help either.

Albacore even sounds hopeful about getting Recall working not just on current ARM chips, but also on existing AMD and Intel (x86) CPUs, which also can’t officially run the feature. (Again, even current-gen processors from Teams Red and Blue lack an NPU with enough raw grunt).

If that happens, we can expect a similar experience to what we see here – but it’s not possible yet anyway, as Microsoft has only provided the machine learning model bundles for Arm to laptop makers. These don’t exist for AMD or Intel CPUs yet (as there’s no need for them – Lunar Lake and Strix Point, which will drive Copilot+ PCs, are still some way off launching, but they are fully expected to debut before 2024 is out).

Ultimately, this is an interesting fudge for now, but it’s likely a bad idea to be trying to get Recall up and running on a PC it’s not intended for. Simply because there may well be scenarios where it truly bogs down – such as when you have a larger, sprawling library of snapshots piled up – and there are doubtless good reasons why Microsoft has the mentioned NPU requirement in place.

Mind you, not everyone wants Recall, anyhow: certainly not those more privacy-conscious Windows 11 users out there who have already made their feelings clear. Indeed, a privacy watchdog in the UK is already investigating Recall before Microsoft even has the functionality officially live. The result of that enquiry will certainly be interesting, and Microsoft may be worried about another scenario where a big Windows 11 feature is blocked in Europe due to more stringent data regulations.

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Microsoft’s new Copilot app arrives in Windows 11, and some people are already accusing it of copying ChatGPT

Microsoft revealed the revamped standalone Copilot app for Windows 11 at this year’s Build 2024 event, and it’s now rolling out to testers – and some of those testers have noticed striking similarities between the app and AI rival ChatGPT.

The Copilot app (which was previously rumored, and even (kind of) spotted in one version of Windows) is present in build 26100 in the Release Preview channel, which is the last step before hitting the final version of Windows 11. In fact, this is the preview version of the Windows 11 24H2 update which lands later this year.

The new app is no longer an anchored side panel on the desktop, but a full app in a window, allowing you to move and resize the AI assistant as needed, just like any other app. The Copilot icon is also centrally located in the Windows 11 taskbar now, rather than on the far right in the system tray.

That certainly represents a good deal more flexibility for Copilot, and for how you might want to use the AI, but some users testing the new app are noticing something else – that the revamped Copilot interface resembles ChatGPT in a few respects.

As Windows Latest notes, the similarities include the left-hand side menu that displays previous chats, alongside the general ‘vibe’ of the new Copilot app. 

Familiar territory

Aside from Copilot having the chat bar in the center of the app panel, and maybe a splash of color, there really isn’t a lot of difference between the two AI-powered chatbots. Microsoft can’t be entirely blamed for imitating the iconic ChatGPT’s layout, though, as many other ChatGPT alternatives have adopted the same style of layout to allow users to easily familiarize themselves with the newer apps.

Think about how easy it is for you to navigate most of the social media apps on your phone – they all have a similar layout, so even if you’ve only just joined a new one, you can find your way around before learning the more intricate details. That said, I do think Microsoft could have done a little better here in trying to come up with its own style, but the app is still in testing within the Windows Insider program, so perhaps the design will be tweaked further ahead of its public release. 

If you’d like to try out the new Copilot app, you’ll need to be part of that Windows Insider testing program. Joining is pretty straightforward, and once you’re all signed up you’ll have access not just to the Copilot app, but to other updates and features Microsoft tries out in preview versions. 

Do bear in mind a couple of things, though: test versions of Windows 11 aren’t something you want to be running on your main PC (as things are more likely to go wrong, so don’t run any risks in that regard). Also, remember that just because a feature has appeared in testing, that doesn’t mean it’ll make the cut for release in the final version of Windows 11 used by everyone.

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Microsoft’s controversial Recall feature for Windows 11 could already be in legal hot water

Microsoft’s announcements around Build 2024 have certainly grabbed some attention, but none more so on the controversy front than the AI-powered ‘Recall’ feature in Windows 11

Recall has been stirring up strong opinions left, right and center since its revelation, and now it appears to be under the microscope of the ICO, a UK-based privacy watchdog.

The worries expressed widely online are focused on how this feature may affect privacy for those who have it, which won’t be all Windows 11 users, we should note – just Copilot+ PC owners who have the necessary hardware goods in terms of a powerful NPU.

For those who missed it, what Recall does is record your PC usage, very literally in terms of taking screenshots of your active windows every couple of seconds. This then allow you to exercise powerful natural language-based search capabilities to rifle through your past PC usage, not just in terms of text but also visual search – with AI locating what you need by going through that huge library of screen grabs.

You can doubtless see the kind of privacy concerns that might be sparked by this constant stream of screenshots going on in the background, but the pushback and reaction has got serious very quickly.

Sky News spotted that in the UK, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), which oversees data privacy and related regulations, is already cautious about the Recall capability.

Indeed, following all the uproar around Recall, the ICO is investigating the feature, and told Sky: “We are making enquiries with Microsoft to understand the safeguards in place to protect user privacy.”

A laptop with a security lock displayed

(Image credit: iStock)

Safety first

It’s a good question, of course – so what safeguards are in place here to protect Windows 11 users?

For starters, Recall happens locally, so everything is stored on the PC, and nothing is sent online to the cloud or Microsoft’s servers – so there’s no risk of having data intercepted (or a third-party data breach leaking the private details of how you use your Windows 11 machine).

Microsoft has underlined that it doesn’t have access to any of this data, and it won’t be used to train its AI.

Furthermore, the company pointed out that you can manually delete snapshots, or adjust the timeframe they’re kept for – or pause, or turn off Recall entirely if you don’t want it. It’s also possible to block certain apps or websites from being used by Recall, so effectively there’s a lot of fine-grained control here.

However, will Windows 11 users be bothered to exercise that control and properly set up Recall? Well, that’s one worry, and another is that while it’s all well and good to say everything stays on the device, we have to firstly trust that’s the case – and it’s all watertight – and secondly, what if your PC is compromised by malware, or stolen. Then what?

Hackers or thieves could potentially have access to your Recall library of screenshots, which may contain confidential information, openly available to see, such as your bank or card details, or visible passwords, or, well, anything that has happened on your PC (that you haven’t marked out of bounds using Windows 11’s settings for Recall).

As Muhammad Yahya Patel, who is lead security engineer at Check Point, put it: “It is a one-shot attack for criminals, like a grab and go, but with Recall they will essentially have everything in a single location [your screenshot database] … Imagine the goldmine of information that will be stored on a machine, and what threat actors can do with it.”

Unhappy laptop user

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

More questions than answers?

So, there are definitely still some major concerns and question marks here, and it’s going to be pretty interesting to see what the ICO makes of Microsoft’s big AI play for Windows 11 to supercharge search.

We’ve already discussed other thorny areas around Recall – such as Windows 11 Home users apparently not benefiting from encryption for the data used by the feature, and what type of encryption is in place for Windows 11 Pro (or business) users anyway?

In that article, we also go over the precautions you can take to make Recall as secure as possible, but really, the best bet for the paranoid might be – simply turn it off and don’t use it. And maybe Microsoft wonders what all the fuss is about from naysayers, and why they don’t just take that approach.

But for the less tech-savvy, who might not even realize what Recall is, or that it’s turned on by default, it could be a risky feature – particularly considering these are the people who are most prone to getting hit by malware or hacked.

With that in mind, shouldn’t the first sensible security step be to have Recall off by default? So that it’s only turned on by those who know what it’s for, and want it? Let’s see what the ICO makes of Microsoft’s ‘default on’ approach, too.

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Windows 11 24H2 isn’t even here yet but Microsoft is already working on its follow-up that could pave the way for Windows 12

Microsoft is already working away at what could be the first Moment update to follow the big Windows 11 24H2 update.

Currently, work is ongoing with finishing the 24H2 update which lands later this year – most likely it’ll roll out from September – but Microsoft is already looking past that upgrade to the first Moment update it’ll deliver for that release, likely early in 2025. (Assuming the Moment name is kept, and we’ll come back to that).

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This is according to a respected Microsoft leaker, Albacore on X (formerly Twitter), who as noted in the above post stumbled upon an internal flight – a preview version just being tested within Microsoft currently – which is the first Moment for 24H2. (Add your own scattering of seasoning here, naturally).

As probably hasn’t escaped your attention if you’re a Windows 11 user, Microsoft just released the fifth Moment update for Windows 11 23H2, which comes with some handy new features.


Analysis: The bigger update picture – and potential road to Windows 12

As a quick refresher, Moment updates are sizeable feature drops, though not nearly as big as the annual upgrades for Windows 11 (23H2, 24H2 and so on). Essentially, Moments offer a way for Microsoft to continue to drip feed features between the major ‘H2’ annual versions of Windows 11.

With the first Moment update for 24H2 seemingly already under development, this seems a strong indication that Microsoft will continue with this scheme of things for Windows 11 updates going forward.

As Albacore discusses in the thread of the above post on X, it is possible that Microsoft might change the name ‘Moment’ to something else, but the underlying principle of these small-to-medium sized upgrades – outside the cadence of the big annual updates – should remain in place for Windows 11 as we progress down the road with the OS.

Before too long, though, that road will lead to Windows 12 – or whatever next-gen Windows ends up being called, with it quite possibly turning up in 2025, when Windows 10 exits stage left – and after that, the update delivery philosophy could change again.

Perhaps there’s a heightened chance of this, too, when you consider that Windows is under a new chief – Pavan Davuluri has taken the reins of the OS, as Mikhail Parakhin (who was heading up Windows previously) is off doing other things at Microsoft as of last month.

Traditionally, Microsoft has operated under this kind of scheme of smaller drip-fed updates outside of large feature drops – though not always. Before Windows 11 arrived, you may recall that Microsoft used a twice-yearly update scheme with Windows 10, so no new features were introduced between those upgrades. That left some pretty sizeable gaps of six months or so where nothing happened with the desktop OS feature-wise (except minor tweaks here and there).

We were never keen on that idea, but we don’t think Microsoft will return to that way of working – we’re taking this as a positive sign that Moments, or their equivalent, will be around for a good time yet, and hopefully with Windows 12 going forward, when it eventually rolls into town.

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Not spending enough on Amazon already? Its new AI chatbot is here to help

If there's one tech innovation that our bank accounts didn't need in 2024, it's an Amazon chatbot with infinite knowledge of the site's array of potential impulse buys. But unfortunately for our savings, that's exactly what we've just been given in the form of Rufus.

Amazon says its Rufus chatbot has now launched in the US in beta form to “a small subset of customers” who use its mobile app, but that it'll “progressively roll out to additional US customers in the coming weeks”. Rufus is apparently “an expert shopping assistant” who's been trained on Amazon's product catalog and will help answer your questions in a conversational way.

Rather than Googling for extra advice on the differences between trail and road running shoes, the idea is that you can instead search for pointers in the Amazon app and Rufus will pop up with the answers. 

Quite how good those answers are remains to be seen, as Amazon says they come from “a combination of extensive product catalog, customer reviews, community Q&As, and information from across the web”. Considering the variable quality of Amazon's reviews, and the tendency of AI chatbots to hallucinate, you may still want to cross-reference your research with some external sources. 

Still, it's an early glimpse at the future of shopping, with retailers looking to arm you with all of the information you need so you can, well, spend more money with them. Amazon says that the questions can be as broad as “what are good gifts for Valentine’s Day?”, but also as specific as “is this cordless drill easy to hold?” if you're on a product page.

How to find and use Rufus

Right now, Rufus is only being made available to “select customers when they next update their Amazon Shopping app”. But if you live in the US and are keen to take it for a spin, it's worth updating your iOS or Android app to see if you're one of the early chosen ones.

If you are, the bar at the top of the app should now say “search or ask a question”. That's where you can fire conversational questions at Rufus, like “what to consider when buying headphones?”, or prompts like “best dinosaur toys for a 5-year-old“ or “I want to start an indoor garden”.

The ability to ask specific questions about products on their product pages also sounds handy, although this will effectively only be a summary of the page's Q&As and reviews. Given our experience with AI shopping chatbots so far, we'd be reluctant to take everything at face value without double-checking with another source.

Still, with Rufus getting a wider US rollout in “the coming weeks”, it is a pretty major change to the Amazon app – and could change how we shop with the retail giant. Amazon will no doubt be hoping it convinces us to spend more – maybe we need two chatbots, with the other one warning us about our overdraft.

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Apple Vision Pro won’t have Netflix, Spotify, or YouTube at launch – is the headset already doomed as a media player?

Although excitement is building for the release of the Apple Vision Pro mixed-reality headset (pre-orders are now live), potential users will have to do without not just YouTube or Spotify, but Netflix as well. While Disney Plus and Apple TV Plus (obviously) are guaranteed to be available right out of the box, we do have to question if you’ll be able to take advantage of the headset's cinematic qualities without these three media giants.

While some streaming competitors are rushing to embrace the Apple Vision Pro (including Peacock, ESPN, and Paramount Plus), Netflix and YouTube seem to be playing the waiting game, and when the headset launches Apple Vision Pro users will have to access their respective services through the Safari browser (which has it's own Vision Pro version) rather than via dedicated apps. According to a report from Bloomberg, Netflix is the latest to confirm that it won’t be offering a visionOS app.

YouTube in particular is quite the omission considering that it is probably the best place to find immersive content, especially videos tailored to the VR experience capabilities of the Vision Pro. The videos available on the platform may not be as refined and curated as the content you can find on Netflix or Disney Plus, but it’s a media platform used by many people almost daily and leaves the headset feeling somewhat empty without it – more so now that Netflix is joining in abstaining from visionOS.

All work and no play? 

It’s a troubling start for Apple’s big foray into mixed reality. After all, if you’re sitting down to use a headset that cost you $ 3,499 but you have to pull up Safari and start typing away on your connected MacBook just to watch a video or an episode of your favourite Netflix show, is it really worth the money? Using Safari is a clunky workaround at best.

There are almost certainly multiple factors at play behind the scenes here. Netflix and Apple do have a rather strained relationship at the best of times. Netflix has historically had issues with Apple’s App Store revenue sharing, with this contention definitely not helped by the arrival of Apple TV. Another likely reason we aren’t seeing Netflix jump at the opportunity to produce a visionOS app is simply that it has little faith in Apple’s headset. 

In fact, you could argue that the streaming service has so little faith in the Vision Pro that it’s not even willing to modify a version of the Netflix iPadOS app to work on the new platform (not unlike how Instagram on iPadOS is just a scaled-up version of the iOS app). Netflix, YouTube, and Spotify are likely waiting to see how the headset is received before they any dedicate time and money to developing apps for it.  As someone who’s been skeptical of the headset since it was announced, I can’t help but feel more than a little vindicated by this – it’s not just me observing from the sidelines with very little confidence in Apple’s big plans. 

I mean, the Nintendo Switch came out in 2017 and that has a dedicated YouTube app (the Nintendo 3DS had one as well!) so if a nearly seven-year-old console can have a dedicated app for the world’s biggest video-streaming platform but this futuristic headset can’t, that really doesn’t look good for Apple. 

Ultimately, we can only speculate as to why exactly these big media companies are so hesitant, but one reason may be the way the headset has been marketed. Apple has from the jump advertised the Vision Pro as this incredibly immersive media experience device that will put you right in the middle of the action, but the fact that it’s called a Vision Pro – and the sky-high price tag – does give off the impression it's more for enterprise users. Could this case of confused identity be the reason behind this very visible display of hesitancy? 

As of yet, there’s no sign of when, if ever, we could expect a dedicated visionOS app to come from Netflix, YouTube, or Spotify. It’s likely we’ll have to wait and see how well the Vision Pro sells when it launches to have an idea of whether or not we actually will get these apps – if it does prove successful, they won’t have a choice but to commit.

If this hasn’t completely dampened your excitement for the Apple Vision Pro, there’s still quite a lot to look forward to regardless. While it’s mostly still on the more business-focused side of things, we now have a clear list of apps confirmed for the Vision Pro – including Slack, Display Plus, Zoom, Microsoft 365, Safari, and many more to come. And after all, if it truly is meant to be an enterprise device, would it even need a Netflix app?

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Fed up with Windows 11’s Copilot already? Then you won’t like this leak which suggests the AI could be inserted into File Explorer

Windows 11 might soon witness Copilot coming to File Explorer, or in other words, the folders on your desktop that you use to interact with files on a daily basis.

The theory is that Microsoft could be planning to bring the Copilot AI to these folders based on a line of code uncovered by a leaker on X (formerly Twitter).

PhantomOfEarth made the revelation in a tweet that noted there’s a new feature called ‘CopilotFEContextMenu’ present in test builds of Windows 11 which can be enabled using a special configuration tool. (Not that there’s any point in doing so, as the feature doesn’t do anything yet – it’s just a signal of Microsoft’s potential intentions here).

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As the name suggests, this would appear to hint at a context menu option. In other words, when you right click a file in a folder, a choice relating to Copilot will be present in the menu that pops up.

As theorized, it might be a ‘Send to Copilot’ option that passes the file to the AI, whereupon you’ll presumably get the assistant popping up offering further choices (summarizing a document, for example).


Analysis: No surprises, but maybe alarms for some

All of this is mere speculation, of course, at this point, and lines of code in the background are the very earliest of signs that something is happening around a potential feature.

However, it’d be no great surprise to see Copilot integrated into File Explorer in this way, as it makes sense to have a convenient option to invoke the AI when you want it to work with a specific file.

Certainly, Microsoft has made no secret that it’s massively focusing on pushing AI across all its products, including Windows. Only yesterday we saw that Microsoft is ushering in a new key for the keyboards of Windows PCs – a move mirroring the introduction of the Windows key itself nearly 30 years ago.

Think about it for a moment: that’s how important Copilot is, in that it gets a dedicated key in the same vein as the key named after the operating system itself.

It’d be a shock if Microsoft wasn’t planning to introduce Copilot to other parts of the Windows 11 interface, frankly, and we can certainly expect further ways of invoking the AI across the desktop in the future – alongside the ability to directly summon Copilot from the keyboard as mentioned.

The best that those who aren’t so keen on Copilot can hope for is that they get ways to turn off the AI assistant across the board in Windows 11.

Via Neowin

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Good luck getting Microsoft’s ugly Christmas sweater for 2023 – it stars Windows XP and is almost sold out already

Microsoft has revealed its ugly sweater for this year’s holiday season – and it’s going to be a real crowd-pleaser for fans of Windows XP.

And there are plenty of folks who regard this operating system as one of the best versions of Windows ever – after all, it’s the operating system that refused to die – so it turns out there’s been quite some demand for the sweater.

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The cotton garment (well, 55% cotton, 45% acrylic) shows a stylized version of the Bliss (default) wallpaper for Windows XP, and it’s labeled as ‘Merry Blissmas’ in the product listing.

The design features the iconic fluffy clouds in a blue sky, with a green landscape underneath, and the addition of an oversized mouse cursor (you wouldn’t want anyone to miss the point of the sweater, now, would you?).

It’s yours via the Xbox Gear Shop for $ 70 (£56 in the UK, and around AU$ 105).

The sweater can be shipped internationally, across the globe, but if you want the bad news, it’s already sold out in the most common sizes.

Small, medium, large, and extra-large have all gone, with only the 2XL and 3XL sizes remaining. You can still request a notification for one of the sizes that’s currently out of stock, mind, so Microsoft will let you know when (or if) more inventory comes in.

Microsoft advises: “Machine wash cold, tumble dry low, and never take off.”

As an added bonus, some of the money goes to charity – namely The Nature Conservancy, which aims to protect our environment and combat climate change.

Windows XP Sweater

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Analysis: Do sweat it

Microsoft’s holiday sweaters have become pretty famous at this point. In the past we’ve had the likes of Clippy last year (maybe a retired Copilot could be on a future sweater, though Microsoft better hope not, with the amount of eggs it has in that particular basket), and a Windows 95 sweater.

Indeed, there was a Windows XP sweater back in 2019 (which was also available in 2020, when Microsoft resurrected some past designs), covered with the ‘XP’ logo, but this take is a bit more subtle – aside from the stupidly supersized mouse pointer, anyway.

If there’s one point of criticism here, it’s that Microsoft should be making more of these garments. They’re clearly popular sweaters, and to be sold out of most sizes already is obviously going to be disappointing for those keen to get a slice of ‘bliss’ for the festive period.

We’re still waiting for the BSoD, frankly (that's the 'Blue Sweater of Death').

Via Tom’s Hardware

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Getting a new M3 Mac? Apple is already pushing out a macOS Sonoma update to optimize performance

If you’re planning on being the owner of any of the new M3, M3 Pro, or M3 Max MacBook Pro or iMac models that were announced during Apple’s October Scary Fast event, you’ll need to install an update for macOS Sonoma immediately when you get your device.

All of the new devices are expected to arrive with a custom version of macOS Sonoma 14.1, build 23B2073. Once you begin to set up your new device, you should then follow that up by downloading the newer version, build 23B2077, and install it. Apple released macOS Sonoma 14.1, the very first update for macOS Sonoma, on October 25 just ahead of the Scary Fast event, and the current macOS Sonoma version that freshly-built Macs will ship with is build 23B74.

As explained by AppleInsider, Apple has not yet put out release notes for the custom update macOS Sonoma build. However, it’s expected that it’ll include the most up to date bug fixes and performance upgrades probably to do with the M3 processor chip.

No cause for alarm, just business as usual

This isn’t a cause to panic according to MacRumors, because we see what are known as day one updates fairly often. Day one updates just mean updates that are released upon the launch of a product (on day one of users having them). This happens because as the devices are being manufactured, they have to be prepared, packaged, and shipped with what ends up being a slightly older version of macOS. 

In the future, it’s feasible that new Macs will automatically check for an update as soon as they’re booted up for the first time, or even while still in the box. Reportedly, Apple has engineered a way to do this for the very newest iPhone models, which can upgrade their software to the newest iOS versions before leaving the Apple store.

Apple opened up ordering for the new Mac M3 devices after its Scary Fast event and you can order one now. The first M3 Macs are expected to start arriving to customers on November 7, namely the MacBook Pro 14-inch (M3), MacBook Pro 16-inch (M3) and iMac (M3). However, certain configurations of MacBooks Pro laptops will be delivered later in the month. 

This was first discovered by known Apple observer and code investigator, @aaronp613, on X (formerly known as Twitter). 

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It’s good to see Apple looking out for users, and frequent updates have become an industry standard for operating systems and browsers, as well as other software – and as I mentioned earlier, a day one patch doesn’t necessarily mean a problem has been found at the last minute. Instead, it can ensure your new device has all the latest features and is fully protected as well.

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Meta AI is coming to your social media apps – and I’ve already forgotten about ChatGPT

Meta is going all out on artificial intelligence, first developing its own version of ChatGPT as well as implementing Instagram’s AI ‘personas’ to appeal to a younger audience. Now, the company has announced a new AI image generation and editing feature during Meta’s Connect event, which will be coming to Instagram soon. 

If you’re familiar with OpenAI’s ChatGPT or Google’s Bard, Meta AI will feel very familiar to you. The all-general purpose assistant can help with all sorts of planning and organizational tasks, and will now offer the ability to generate images via the prompt ‘/imagine’. 

You’ll also be able to show Meta AI on Instagram a photo you wish to post and ask it to apply a watercolour effect, make the image black and white and so on. Think of the Meta assistant as a more ‘social’ version of ChatGPT, baked right into your social media apps.

Alongside the assistant, the initial roster of 28 AI characters is beginning to roll out across the company’s messaging app. Most of these characters are based on celebrities like Kendall Jenner, Mr. Beast, Paris Hilton and my personal favourite, Snoop Dogg! You can chat with these ‘personas’ directly and finally ask Paris what lipgloss she uses. As you chat with the characters their profile image will animate based on the topic of conversation, which is pretty cool considering chatting with most AI chatbots is kind of… boring, at least from a visual standpoint.

ChatGPT may have started it, but Meta could finish it

It’s clear that Meta is taking AI integration very seriously, and I love to see it! By integrating its virtual assistant and AI tools into the apps billions of people use every day it’s guaranteed an existing user base, and in my opinion, shows that the company has taken the time to really understand why users would approach their product. 

Instead of just unleashing an assistant that will give you recipes and do your homework, it looks like Meta AI is tailored to suit everyday purposes and feels like a really clever way to implement the tool in people’s lives. The assistant is right there in the app if and when you need it, so you don’t have to leave the app to engage with the assistant.

Meta’s huge scale of potential users gives it a good chance of being the AI assistant people will use for the first time and could be the AI assistant people will end up using on a day-to-day basis. No extra app to download or account to make, and no swiping away from your conversation to get to what you need. I think Meta made a smart choice taking its time and has now come out the gate swinging – and I really do think ChatGPT creators OpenAI should be a little bit worried. 

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