Siri in iOS 18 rumored to be 'more conversational and versatile' thanks to AI

 An iPhone on a blue background showing the Siri logo.
An iPhone on a blue background showing the Siri logo.

With Apple's WWDC 2024 event and the accompanying iOS 18 reveal fast approaching, speculation is mounting about what kind of AI features Apple might introduce – and a new report gives us a few more major clues.

This report comes from the New York Times (via MacRumors), and says that an upgraded version of Siri is going to be central to iOS 18. Efforts to make Siri a more competent competitor to ChatGPT have apparently been underway for more than a year.

The new and improved Siri is going to be "more conversational and versatile", according to the NYT – and it'll be better at keeping chats going, rather than replying to one question at a time. It's said that Apple has shifted extra resources to Siri development, which was part of the reason the Apple Car was abandoned.

However, the report says Siri won't compete with the ChatGPT chatbot directly: instead, it'll get better at what it already does, including timers, calendar appointments, and lists. The digital assistant will also be able to summarize text messages (which we've heard hints about before).

AI ins and outs

It's getting a little tricky to pick through all the different AI-related Apple rumors we're hearing in the run up to the Worldwide Developers Conference. All we know for sure is that Apple is keen on AI, and has some significant announcements in store.

Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, one of the more reliable Apple tipsters, has posted on social media about how these upgrades will work: Apple is developing its own in-house LLMs (Large Language Models) for local, on-device work, and for cloud processing, Gurman says.

It'll then integrate a third-party chatbot into its software: either ChatGPT from OpenAI or Google Gemini, as we've already heard. Gurman says "it's the same playbook as search" – so while Siri can search the web, Apple has a partnership with Google for doing the actual searching work. Expect something similar with AI.

There's quite a bit of overlap there, because if Apple is developing its own LLMs, it doesn't necessarily need extra help from OpenAI or Google – so it's not exactly certain where one service will start and another will end. Hopefully all will become clear at WWDC 2024, which gets underway on June 10.

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