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What AI features will iOS 18 bring to the iPhone?

Published Jan 8th, 2024 1:14PM EST
iPhone 15 Plus Display
Image: Christian de Looper for BGR

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When the iPhone gets native generative AI features like ChatGPT, Apple will be trailing OpenAI, Microsoft, and Google by almost two years. That’s what Mark Gurman said in his newest Power On newsletter on Bloomberg. That’s because iOS 18 will officially be released next September. That’s when most people will get to experience these AI features. 

But Apple will unveil iOS 18 this summer at WWDC. Moreover, iPhone users will be able to test some of the AI features in iOS 18 via the beta releases that will precede the final rollout by several months. 

What new AI features does Apple have planned? It’s too early to have any confirmations, and Apple never discusses unreleased products, whether it’s hardware or software. But you can expect “Apple GPT,” the informal name we use for Apple’s ChatGPT rival, to match competitors. And Gurman offered a few examples of what Apple’s AI will supposedly be able to do.

Apple reportedly plans to unveil its AI solutions at WWDC this summer. Apple has been working on its GPT since early last year, in the form of a large language model called Ajax internally. We’ve heard of this codename in previous reports, including a recent one that indicated Siri will get advanced AI features via iOS 18.

If Gurman’s information is correct, Apple has been working on the following AI features for the iPhone: 

  • auto-summarizing and auto-complete features for core apps and productivity software (Pages, Keynote)
  • better playlist creation in Apple Music
  • Siri (a big overall overhaul with a focus on AI)
  • code completion in a new version of Xcode for developers
  • AppleCare tools to assist employees in helping customers with troubleshooting

That might not be specific enough. But it aligns with what you can expect from ChatGPT, Microsoft Copilot, Google Bard/Gemini, and others. Generative AI can help you summarize and generate text, and it can help you code. Products like ChatGPT and Copilot can act as assistants, albeit not very personal ones. Google is working on making a smarter Assistant of its own. 

A previous report from the same Gurman detailed all the Apple teams working on these generative AI features for the iPhone.

OpenAI's official ChatGPT app is now out on iOS.
OpenAI’s official ChatGPT app is now out on iOS. Image source: OpenAI

What about the iPhone camera?

If there’s one thing missing from Gurman’s newest report, it’s generative AI features for iOS 18’s Camera experience. I’d say it’s very likely that Apple will try to match what’s available from rivals when it comes to using AI to edit images, or even create new content. That’s just speculation, but Apple has to show it can compete on all AI fronts. 

I’ll also remind you of a recent report focused on upcoming iOS generative AI features that said Apple is testing software related to generating images, videos, and 3D scenes.

Separately, I wouldn’t be surprised if some of Apple’s AI features won’t be ready by September. Or if they will be considered as beta software even after September. As a reminder, generative AI software still has flaws, including hallucinations. It’s unlikely Apple’s Ajax will get rid of those. 

Gurman hints that Apple might take its time to deploy generative AI features via iOS 18. He says, “the totality of Apple’s generative AI vision will take at least into 2025 to fully scale.” The reporter notes that Apple’s delay might be a competitive disadvantage for the iPhone, especially when Samsung will put generative AI in phones front and center, starting with next week’s Galaxy S24 announcement. 

Gurman doesn’t mention generative AI support for other Apple products. I’d expect Apple to bring its GPT to iPad, Mac, and Vision Pro alongside the iPhone. WWDC 2024 should clarify all that, but we’ve got a few months of waiting before we see any of it in action.

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.