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iOS 18 isn’t just about AI: These core iPhone apps are also getting overhauled

Published Apr 29th, 2024 10:21AM EDT
iPhone 15 Pro Display
Image: Christian de Looper for BGR

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Generative artificial intelligence (GenAI) is the biggest upgrade Apple has planned for iOS 18. That’s what all rumors say, and they can’t be wrong. That is, Apple can’t wait another year to bring native GenAI features to the iPhone, considering that AI is the biggest trend in tech.

Some of the AI features out there right now are just gimmicks, sure. But AI can be quite useful in apps, which I’ve discovered since ChatGPT rolled out. That’s why Apple has to bring its own version of GenAI features to its devices this year, starting with iOS 18, iPadOS 18, and macOS 15.

AI will surely be the most important topic and buzzword at WWDC 2024 in June. But you should also expect other new features from Apple’s upcoming software release. After all, that’s what Apple has been doing every year. On that note, well-known Apple reporter Mark Gurman says that Apple plans to overhaul many iPhone apps in iOS 18.

Gurman tackled various Apple-related topics in a wide-ranging Power On newsletter edition on Bloomberg over the weekend. For example, he said that the OLED iPad Pro will feature a big specs upgrade related to AI, and it’ll get a new Apple M4 chip.

Answering questions from subscribers, Gurman said (via MacRumors) that Apple will overhaul many of its iPhone apps in the iOS 18 upgrade. He mentioned Notes, Mail, Photos, and Fitness among the apps Apple will reportedly overhaul, though he didn’t offer any specifics.

Rumors a few days ago claimed that the Notes app will get new features, like the ability to record voice memos. At the time, I said that I’d love the Notes app to get AI features in iOS 18 connected to support for voice recordings. I want to be able to transcribe voice notes automatically and then chat with the AI about the contents.

As a longtime iPhone user, I wouldn’t mind upgrades to other Apple default apps for iOS. The Fitness app is one such example.

I sometimes struggle to find information about my previous workouts. I’d love it if Apple made it easier to get that information and allowed me to ask questions about my form. This would involve an overhaul of the app as well as built-in AI functionality. That’s all speculation at the moment, but Google is already giving its Fitbit app the AI treatment on Pixel phones.

More recently, Gurman corroborated a report from MacRumors that Apple is finally ready to bring a Calculator app to iPadOS. You can count that as an overhaul of the iPadOS experience.

Beyond that, recent discoveries in Safari code indicate that Apple might be working on a Safari Browsing Assistant for the iPhone’s default internet browser. This implies AI integration into Safari, but it would also qualify as a big overhaul.

None of this can be confirmed for the time being, but we don’t have too long to wait for Apple to start confirming some of these rumors. WWDC 2024 will kick off in June, and the first iOS 18 beta will drop soon after that. Gurman’s tidbit is exciting nonetheless. There’s no question some of Apple’s iPhone apps need refreshing beyond the addition of GenAI features.

While you wait, check out our iOS 18 guide, which covers all the rumors about Apple’s 2024 iPhone software update.

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.