iOS 18 could bring smarter Siri and more, based on generative AI

Apple has been working on generative AI for years, which could result in a smarter version of ‌Siri‌ next year and enhancements to Apple Music and more.

iOS 17 Siri Orb

Aside from a more intelligent Siri assistant that could arrive with iOS 18, Apple will reportedly use generative AI to boost other products. For Apple Music, for example, the company is reportedly trying to implement automatically generated playlists.

Moreover, the iPhone maker has also considered enhancing its productivity apps such as Pages and Keynote with AI-assisted improvements like a writing assistant or the ability to automatically create slide decks in Keynote from prompts. All this rumored work on generative AI reportedly costs Apple about $1 billion per year.

Smarter Siri and other generative AI improvements coming to Apple products next year

The Cupertino tech giant may also be working on testing generative AI for internal customer service apps used by AppleCare. In addition to the above AI perks in Siri, Apple Music and iWork, the company might bring generative AI to Xcode to enable helpful auto-complete suggestions when writing code.

Mark Gurman, Bloomberg:

One debate going on internally is how to deploy generative AI: as a completely on-device experience, a cloud-based setup or something in between. An on-device approach would work faster and help safeguard privacy, but deploying Apple’s large language models via the cloud would allow for more advanced operations.

Apple’s approach has been on-device whenever possible. Although some features still can’t run entirely off the cloud, like Siri, I’ll be surprised if Apple suddenly makes a U-turn and starts using the cloud for all generative AI features.

“The new features should improve how both Siri and the Messages app can field questions and auto-complete sentences,” reads the Bloomberg piece.

Gurman isn’t the first to report on a smarter Siri based on generative AI. In March 2023, the New York Times ran an article claiming Apple was testing ChatGPT-like capabilities for its struggling digital assistant.

When OpenAI shocked the world with its chatbot, Apple didn’t see it coming. “I can tell you in no uncertain terms that Apple executives were caught off guard by the industry’s sudden AI fever and have been scrambling since late last year to make up for lost time,” writes Gurman.

The push to infuse Apple’s products with generative AI perks is allegedly led by the company’s machine learning and AI strategy boss, John Giannandrea, software engineering head Craig Federighi and services chief Eddy Cue.

Gurman previously reported Apple had been working on large language models and an internal tool called Apple GPT, similar to OpenAI’s ChatGPT chatbot.

Apple GPT

Apple’s executives are careful to avoid publicly mentioning “artificial intelligence” or even “AI,” preferring to use the term “machine learning” instead. While Apple may never offer a chatbot of its own as a user feature, its work on large language models and generative AI should pay off by improving existing products with smarts.

iOS 17, iPadOS 17 and macOS Sonoma alread use on-device language models to improve autocorrect accuracy across languages. iOS 17 also brought in-line predictions that can be completed by pressing the Space bar key.

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