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The turbocharged Siri assistant I want isn’t coming until 2025

Published Jun 17th, 2024 6:50AM EDT
Siri gets an AI-powered upgrade in iOS 18.
Image: Apple Inc.

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I upgraded my iPhone 14 Pro when iOS 18 beta 1 came out, and I did it for the non-AI features coming to the iPhone via iOS 18. My handset isn’t good enough to support Apple Intelligence, so I’ll certainly upgrade to an iPhone 16 model this fall. AI, especially the Siri experience that Apple demoed at WWDC 2024, will be the main deciding factor for the upgrade. But, thanks to a brand new report, I have no real reason to hurry.

Apple is taking a different approach for the rollout of its first suite of AI features, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman has learned. Apple Intelligence features will take a while to arrive on compatible devices. Some of them will be available when iOS 18 rolls out. Others will be available later this year. As for the Siri experience I want, it’s not coming until sometime next year.

Gurman has provided many accurate details about Apple’s AI plans for the iPhone ahead of WWDC 2024. His latest Power On newsletter now features Apple’s tentative rollout plan for Apple Intelligence.

Apple reportedly has to manage various key resources of Apple Intelligence, hence the staggered release. First, Apple won’t pressure staff to develop multiple AI features at the same time to ensure they work perfectly. Second, Apple is gradually expanding its cloud infrastructure to support a larger influx of users.

By gradually releasing AI features and initially only supporting American English, Apple gives itself time to get everything right.

AI features in iOS 18 beta 1

As I said, iOS 18 beta 1 lacks Apple Intelligence features, even if you pack compatible hardware. But Gurman reports the new operating system packs a few AI tricks. That’s voice recording transcription, improved voicemail transcription, and automatic calculation for math equations.

Everything else is pretty much on par with the iOS 17 experience. What you get in the beta are plenty of non-AI features worth trying out as soon as possible.

AI features coming this fall

Smarter Siri is coming to
Apple Intelligence unveiled at WWDC 2024. Image source: Apple Inc.

When the final version of iOS 18 rolls out, users will have various additional features at their disposal. Again, that’s assuming you rock an iPhone 15 Pro/Max or a later model. Here’s what will be available this fall:

  • notification prioritization via AI
  • recap of alerts and text messages
  • summarization of web pages, voice memos, meeting notes, and emails
  • the new writing tools
  • image generation
  • the Genmoji custom emoji
  • new Siri interface
  • Siri support for natural conversation, including the ability to follow users when they misspeak
  • Type to Siri functionality
  • Siri knowledge of Apple products

Some of the Mail app’s new features aren’t coming until later in 2024. The same goes for Swift Assist, a new programming companion for Xcode.

Finally, ChatGPT support in Siri will come to iOS 18 at some point later in 2024 rather than this fall. Apple is also working on supporting additional chatbots, like Google Gemini and Anthropic’s Claud in the US. Baidu and Alibaba chatbots might be coming to China.

The Siri AI rollout

The real Apple Intelligence upgrade I want concerns Siri. The iPhone assistant will get powers unlike other devices. It won’t just be able to understand your natural language better than before. It’ll help you control the iPhone in ways that weren’t possible before AI. These Siri features won’t be ready until next year – here’s a quick rundown:

  • Siri will be able to do things on the iPhone based on context and performing an action
  • the assistant will perform a perpetual semantic index of the iPhone, which will let it understand the context of your content and data
  • Siri will control the iPhone and apps following the user’s instructions
  • Siri will be aware of the content of your screen to offer real-time assistance based on the context

While the new Siri will support only US English initially, support for more languages should roll out in 2025

Why I’m willing to wait

Type to Siri feature in iOS 18.
Type to Siri feature in iOS 18. Image source: Apple Inc.

As a longtime iPhone user who has closely followed the nascent AI industry, I’m ready to wait until next year for Apple to get things right, especially with Siri.

We’ve seen a few spectacular AI fumbles this year alone. The most notable are the Google Search AI Overviews, the Windows 11 Recall feature, and even ChatGPT’s Scarlett Johansson fiasco. This gives Apple a good excuse to delay the release of some AI features until it gets them right.

Let’s not forget that while Apple is late in the AI game, rivals have yet to develop AI features that can match Apple’s plans for Siri.

Google will surely have a similar assistance experience for Android, with Gemini likely at the center. The Pixel 9 phones might be the first to introduce it, but I’m only speculating. Google will only get such an experience in late 2024 at the earliest. It’ll be interesting to see what other devices besides the Pixel 9 would get it.

Samsung doesn’t really have an alternative to Siri. Any upgrades to Bixby that can match Siri in iOS 18 will not be ready until the Galaxy S25 launches in early 2025. Again, I’m speculating.

The point is that Apple doesn’t have a real reason to hurry. A staggered release for iOS 18’s Apple Intelligence will “just work.”

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.