iOS 18 could bring generative AI to your iPhone in the most Apple way possible

iOS 18 could bring generative AI to your iPhone in the most Apple way possible

It’s no secret that Apple has been biding its time on the AI front, and the latest intelligence surrounding iOS 18 suggests that the company’s upcoming generative AI features could differ from those already available on Samsung and Google Pixel devices in one key way.

According to Bloomberg’s resident Apple expert Mark Gurman (via MacRumors), Apple’s generative AI features will be underpinned by a proprietary large language model (LLM) that runs entirely on-device, rather than via the cloud. This approach would prioritize speed and privacy, since an on-device LLM doesn’t require an internet connection to function, though Apple’s AI tools may be slightly less powerful than those available from cloud-based rivals (like Galaxy AI) as a result.

To combat the latter point, Gurman hints that Apple could “fill in the gaps” by licensing technology from Google and other AI service providers. The tipster has previously reported that Apple is in “active negotiations” with Google to license Google Gemini for certain iOS 18 features, so a Google-assisted Apple LLM is looking increasingly likely, despite our initial skepticism.

As above, on-device processing delivers quicker response times and superior privacy over cloud-based solutions, which fits with Apple’s traditional commitment to style, simplicity and security. Indeed, according to Gurman, this is how Apple will market its AI features – as reliable, usable tools that enhance users’ daily lives, rather than all-powerful creative ones.

Superior Siri

(Image credit: Apple)

There’s still no word on what Apple’s AI features will be, exactly, but the likes of Siri, Messages, Apple Music and Pages are expected to receive significant AI-based improvements in iOS 18, with the former reportedly in line for a ChatGPT-style makeover.

Rumors suggest that Siri, specifically, will also harness generative AI to understand not just your vocal requests, but also the context behind them, which will presumably make the once-pioneering voice assistant a much more useful feature of the best iPhones, iPads and MacBooks, as well as, we hope, Apple’s long-awaited HomePod with a touchscreen.

In any case, Apple’s suite of AI features are reportedly on track for a grand unveiling at WWDC 2024, so we don’t have too long to wait before we find out how the iPhone 16, iPhone 16 Pro Max and other iOS 18-compatible devices will challenge the current best phones on the market in the AI department.

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