iOS 18 biggest AI upgrades tipped in extensive new report

 IOS 18 logo on iPhone in person's lap.
IOS 18 logo on iPhone in person's lap.

More details have emerged about Apple's plans for artificial intelligence features with iOS 18. A new AppleInsider report claims the update will let iPhone and iPad users summarize long text messages using AI, similar to the Humane AI Pin's "Catch me up" command, as well as generate simple text responses.

It's one of a swath of improvements and upgrades tipped for iOS 18, ranging from generative AIa super-powered Siribetter accessibility and more. Citing sources familiar with Apple's upcoming software update, AppleInsider reports that Apple's generative AI can give you the TLDR version for long text messages. To do this, Apple's on-device AI (more on that in a bit) will reportedly scan a text and choose certain keywords and phrases within it to designate as text topics. "For instance, if a name appears at the top of a text, the software will likely recognize the name as belonging to the text’s author,” the outlet explained.

Then, the software detects "all available relevant information" such as companies, people, and locations to write up a rudimentary text summary, which Apple's on-device response generation software then uses to form a more coherent answer. The feature will apparently be able to summarize information from both Safari and Messages, though it could also potentially work with any text fields or digital documents. With the release of Safari 18's new Intelligent Search feature, users will also have the option to generate a brief summary of any webpage they're looking at.

Apple's on-device AI can even respond to texts

We got another peek at Apple's AI plans back in January with the iOS 17.4 beta, which included references to a private framework called “SiriSummarization” that makes calls to the ChatGPT API. Last summer, Bloomberg revealed that Apple started testing its own AI chatbot that staff were internally referring to as “Apple GPT”. The company also started building its own framework called “Ajax” to create large language models (LLMs).

These AI features, including the summarization tool, will reportedly use on-device processing and a large language model running locally rather than in the cloud like its competitors. Not only does that translate to faster response and more privacy, since no data is being sent off to third-party servers, but it also has the added benefit of being able to work completely offline.

"As the company's text analysis software is capable of functioning entirely on-device, this could give Apple an advantage against the competition in the area of privacy protection," AppleInsider reports.

Apple has also been exploring using Ajax to generate sentence-long responses to text input within milliseconds. To that end, it'll be able to communicate with the Calendar app and take into account events when drafting a response. But while Ajax can generate simple text-based responses on-device, more advanced replies or summaries will still need server-side processing, according to AppleInsider.

We still have several weeks to go before we can get our hands on iOS 18 and try out Apple's AI features for ourselves, assuming Apple previews this year's iPhone software update at WWDC 2024 on June 10. But if the rumors are true, it's shaping up to be one of the most significant iPhone updates in a long time.

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