Apple iOS 18 Update Will Be AI-Infused

Published on November 14, 2023

Apple’s upcoming updates for iOS 18, macOS 15, watchOS 11, and tvOS 18 are being internally touted as “ambitious and compelling.”

Apple iOS 18 Mockup. Credit: Apple

These updates, covering a range of devices, including the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Apple TV, and Mac, are set to introduce significant new software features and designs. Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman has provided the latest insights into these developments.

Details are still scarce, but it’s believed that these changes will heavily feature generative AI. This includes an enhanced Siri, which is expected to elevate the virtual assistant’s functionality within Apple’s operating systems. According to the informant @Tech_Reve, Apple plans to transform Siri into the “ultimate virtual assistant” and “Apple’s most powerful killer AI app” by leveraging large-language models (LLMs).

Reportedly, Apple is also enhancing the interaction between Siri and the Messages app. This upgrade would enable users to handle intricate queries and improve sentence auto-completion capabilities, as noted by Gurman. Expectations also include AI-generated Apple Music playlists and synergies with productivity applications like Pages and Keynote, enabling AI-powered writing assistance and slide deck creation.

The company is believed to be investing heavily in AI research, allocating around $1 billion annually. This initiative, spearheaded by some of Apple’s top executives, is part of an effort to match strides with Google and OpenAI in the generative AI arena. With limited anticipated hardware advancements for the iPhone 16 next year, these software upgrades are especially crucial. Gurman predicts that iOS 18 and iPadOS 18 could represent a significant shift compared to updates in recent years.

However, Apple is reportedly adopting a cautious stance in its software development process. Recent reports indicate a temporary halt in developing new features, allowing engineers to focus exclusively on refining existing software.

Gurman mentions that Apple completed the initial “M1” versions of iOS 18, iPadOS 18, and macOS 15 last month. However, the software engineering management team identified numerous overlooked bugs, prompting a dedicated week for addressing these issues. While development has resumed, there’s ongoing deliberation within Apple about implementing its new generative AI technology via the cloud, as an on-device experience, or a combination of both.

Apple is expected to unveil its LLM-enhanced Siri at WWDC 2024 during the iOS 18 developer preview. Other generative AI features in development might be exclusive to the iPhone 16 models and potentially unveiled alongside Apple’s next-generation flagship smartphones in September 2024.

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