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Apple iOS 18 expected to be a big software update, iPhone could be getting AI features

Rumor mill: Microsoft, Google, among others have introduced numerous products and services leveraging generative AI since OpenAI’s breakthroughs popularized the technology in 2022. However, chief rival Apple, taking a cautious approach, has yet to unveil anything incorporating generative AI. That could change starting this year, as reports indicate iOS 18 could be one of the company’s largest-ever software releases.

Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reports that iOS 18, expected to launch in 2024, could be Apple’s most significant OS update ever. It could mark the Cupertino giant’s entrance into the generative AI arena that Microsoft, Google, Nvidia, and OpenAI have dominated.

Writing in the subscriber-only Q&A section of Bloomberg’s Power On newsletter, Gurman promised to share more at a later date. However, the lofty description of iOS 18 strengthens prior reports regarding Apple’s planned feature updates for this year.

The spearhead of Apple’s initial AI push could be an improved version of Siri that leverages the company’s large language model, internally codenamed “Ajax GPT.” The new Siri would likely include functionality similar to generative AI-based chatbots like ChatGTP or Google Bard.

Although Apple spends millions on AI development, CEO Tim Cook admits that it prioritizes being better over being first. The Cupertino giant has no desire to stumble into the controversies other generative AI systems have encountered regarding accuracy and copyright.

Aside from Siri, Apple is also considering incorporating AI into other applications like Apple Music, Pages, and Keynote. It could also apply the technology to its Xcode platform to facilitate writing code and spotting errors.

Prior reports indicate that Apple’s LLM will run on built-in chips, unlike other widely-used models that rely on cloud servers. The AI would leverage the neural engines featured in the last few generations of Apple devices.

Apple might also introduce Rich Communication Services (RCS) support into its messaging platform with iOS 18. Last year, the company confirmed plans to add the protocol sometime in late 2024. Implementing RCS would allow non-iPhone users to send text messages to iPhones with advanced features like high-resolution media, read receipts, end-to-end encryption, and more.

Morgan Stanley analysts expect Apple to introduce iOS 18 with a developer beta release at the Worldwide Developers Conference in June, which will primarily center on AI. As usual, the new firmware will likely receive a public release in September.

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