Apple iOS 18 Buzz: Leaps in iPhone AI Features

Apple iOS 18 Buzz: Leaps in iPhone AI Features

Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference is scheduled to take place on June 10, when the company is expected to release the next version of its iPhone software: iOS 18.

Apple’s iOS 18 could bring the “biggest” software update in iPhone history, according to the January edition of Mark Gurman’s Power On newsletter. In November, Gurman wrote that iOS 18 could bring a “quite groundbreaking” update to the iPhone complete with “major new features and design.”

The news comes as flagship smartphones play a central role in the generative AI hype cycle. Last fall, Google introduced its flagship Pixel 8 line with enhanced AI tricks, and in January, Samsung launched the Galaxy S24 series complete with Galaxy AI. It is likely that Apple will go in the same direction with the expected iPhone 16 and iOS 18. CEO Tim Cook has teased such a possibility.

“We have some things we’re really excited about that we’re going to talk about later this year,” Cook said on the earnings call in response to a question about generative AI.

To be clear, Apple already has AI features on its iPhones like its photo duplicate detection feature, but we have yet to see how AI gen will factor into iPhone and iOS in a major way. With iOS 17, Apple included many AI-powered features such as the ability to clone your own voice on the iPhone (which is a form of AI gen) and an updated keyboard with better autocorrect. But the company no longer discloses generative AI products along the lines of Gemini or Google’s OpenAI Chat GPT. Still, the rumor mill points to meaningful changes in iOS 18. Here are the most reliable.

Siri has been around since iOS 5 in 2011, but with iOS 18, Apple’s voice-activated assistant could get smarter. Generative AI technology “should improve how Siri and the Messages app can come up with questions and autocomplete sentences,” according to Gurman.

Prior to its newsletter, a September report from Information said Apple plans to use large language models, a key part of generative AI, to make Siri smarter. The examples detailed in the article explain how Siri can respond to simple voice commands for more complex tasks, such as turning a set of photos into a GIF and then sending it to one of your contacts. If the example is accurate, this represents a significant step forward in Siri’s capabilities.

Apple has said it will bring support for RCS, the cross-platform messaging standard, to the iPhone. According to a November report by 9to5Mac, an Apple spokesperson said it’s coming to iPhones “late next year” and will work alongside iMessage.

RCS support should improve the current messaging experience between iPhone and Android users by bringing iMessage-like features. Those improvements include sending high-quality photos and videos to contacts, read receipts, typing indicators and, most importantly, end-to-end encryption, something lacking in SMS messaging. In other words, if you have an Android phone and text someone with an iPhone, you can text each other via RCS instead of SMS. However, it’s important to remember that iMessage will remain exclusive to iPhones and other Apple devices. RCS will not bring iMessage to Android phones.

As mentioned earlier, details are currently sparse about Apple’s plans and we don’t yet know which iPhones will be compatible with iOS 18. We’ll update this article when we get more details, so be sure to check back. Until then, you can use iOS 17.

AI on the device
Recent rumors show how Apple’s generative AI feature could operate. According to Gurman, Apple’s own LLM is set to anchor generative AI features on the upcoming iPhone. The main benefits of AI on devices include better privacy and faster response times, as data does not need to be sent to the cloud. But this approach may also make Apple’s AI tools less suitable for certain scenarios that require deep knowledge, such as how some chatbots are less useful than others because they don’t have access to the open internet. But iPhone makers can offset these limitations by licensing technology from Google and other AI service providers.

Editor’s note: CNET used an AI engine to help create several dozen stories, labeled accordingly. The notes you are reading are attached to articles that substantively discuss the topic of AI but were created entirely by expert editors and writersi. For more information, see our AI policy.

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