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Apple's Image Playground is a new system-wide AI-powered image generation tool

Image Credit: Apple

During the 2024 WWDC, Apple announced an Image Playground — an entirely new AI application that can be used to generate images and emojis across iOS 18, macOS Sequoia, and iPadOS 18.

The new app is called Image Playground, which was originally known as Generative Playground in pre-release versions of Apple's latest operating systems. AppleInsider exclusively revealed the existence of Image Playground in our reports on Apple's internal AI projects — Greymatter and BlackPearl.

Image Playground was announced during Apple's WWDC keynote, as part of the company's new generative AI software dubbed "Apple Intelligence".

The application features what Apple calls "Personal Context," meaning that it can utilize on-device AI to provide user-specific suggestions, with information from system apps such as Photos and Messages.

With Image Playground, users will be able to generate images related to concepts and people from their conversations in the Messages app, or of people from their photo library.

For instance, users will have the option to create an AI-generated image of a person they know, wearing a cape or a hat, and then send that image off via iMessage.

Users can create images either by selecting pre-defined image descriptors or by providing their own unique, text-based image descriptions.

This means that users will have the option to choose from Apple's image themes, costumes, and accessories for a character, or different places and locations such as nature or space.

With Apple's built-in descriptors, users could generate an image of a cat as an astronaut in space, for instance.

Alternatively, users can also come up with their own image descriptions. This practically means that the app can create a variety of different images on the fly.

Close-up of a phone screen showing style options for an image: Animation, Illustration, and Sketch, with Animation selected, and a Done button in the corner.
Apple's style options for Image Playground

During the event, Apple explained that the new app can generate images in the following three styles:

  • Animation
  • Illustration
  • Sketch

According to our own research, the company also developed a fourth image style called Line Art. It does not appear that Line Art made it to the final version of the app.

Image Playground features integration with system applications such as Freeform, Keynote, Messages, and Pages. With it, users can create so-called Genmojis along with other types of images.

Laptop displaying a colorful background with an open application window featuring colorful dice and various customization options at the bottom. The desktop icons are visible.
Image Playground running on a MacBook Pro

This will give users new ways of expressing themselves and their ideas across different apps, while also making message communication more fun in the process.

Apple has also created a new Image Playground API, which will give developers a way of embedding AI-powered image generation into their applications.

As mentioned earlier, Image Playground is only part of Apple's broader AI initiative. Apple Intelligence provides users with things such as AI-generated text summaries, advanced Siri functionality, and more.