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Rumor: AI-enhanced Siri upgrade expected to launch at WWDC 2024

Looking to play catch up with Google, Apple is expected to unveil some new AI-based features in iOS 18. “X” tipster @Tech_Reve (via Forbes) recently posted a tweet in which he said that Apple will use an LLM (Large Language Model) to make Siri “the ultimate virtual assistant and is preparing to develop it into Apple’s most powerful killer AI app.” LLM, used on chatbots like ChatGPT, is a language model with a huge amount of data allowing it to understand a broad range of conversations and respond correctly to them.

Adding AI capabilities, Apple hopes iOS 18 will help it sell more iPhone 16 series handsets

We said yesterday that based on the weekly Power On newsletter written by Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, Apple plans on adding new features and designs to iOS 18hoping that the software can help sell the iPhone 16 series which will feature very small hardware changes compared to this year’s models. This dovetails perfectly with @Tech_Reve’s tweet in which he says that the new Siri, using Apple’s own in-house LLM, will debut at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) next June and will be available on the iPhone 16 series and future models.

This might be how Apple plans on selling uninspired hardware using iOS 18. The new version of Siri should be able to better understand natural language and patterns of speech. Whether the virtual assistant will become more of a challenger to the Google Assistant in terms of giving correct answers is not known.

Siri has been a disappointment for many Apple device users since the virtual assistant was first introduced with the iPhone 4s in 2011. If I may digress, personally I find that using the iOS Google Assistant app (which you can install by tapping on this link) will give you more direct answers to your queries instead of making you read a paragraph from Wikipedia. You can also set alarms and timers using the ios Google Assistant app.

Gurman says that other areas where Apple could introduce AI functionality include the Pages app by helping users write letters, the Keynote app helps users construct their presentation decks, and Apple Music by creating AI-generated playlists. To make this happen, Apple will need to beef up the AI capabilities of the A18 Pro chipset. When you think about it, this could explain why Apple is rumored to be packing all four 2024 iPhone models with the latest A18 Pro application processor (AP) next year.

One big question is whether Apple plans on offering new AI features to older models that will be compatible with iOS 18. Apple is in a tough situation here since it wants to include as much on-device processing as possible. And adding new AI features only for the iPhone 16 line and up might improve hardware sales. But it also could leave a large number of angry iPhone users who can’t easily upgrade next year or even the year after.

Will Apple allow older iPhone models to be compatible with its new AI features?

Apple might have to allow some of the new features to be processed off-device although it might wait for a few months after the 2024 iPhones are released to give iPhone 15 Pro and other older Pro units some of the same AI functionality that we could see with the iPhone 16 series. This is what Google does with its Pixel phones. The Magic Eraser is a good example.

For those wondering how Apple would use a game-changing upgrade in iOS 18 to help sell the iPhone 16 line with its uninspiring changes, improving Siri and adding new AI capabilities to the new phones is the answer.

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