Apple could collaborate with Google to build iPhone 16's best features

Google Gemini could power AI in Apple's next iPhone models

Apple iPhone 15 Pro
(Image credit: Future)
Quick summary

There are rumours that Apple might collaborate with Google to bring Google's AI technology, Gemini, to the iPhone 16.

This could add features like improved photo editing and boost Siri's performance.

Over the past couple of years, the greatest steps forward in smartphones have come from AI – artificial intelligence. Google has very much been in the spotlight, automating features on its devices, adding superpowers to photo editing, and a whole lot more. Apple might be turning to Google to help give the iPhone its own AI powers.

According to Mark Gurman, writing in Bloomberg, Apple is in talks with Google to license Gemini and bring its powers to the iPhone. Apple is understood to have been looking into AI for some time, but hasn't dived into offering AI features quite as fast as some other brands.

This deal might sound unusual, but Apple and Google have had a long-running arrangement for search – Google is the default search engine in Safari – while Google has already put its AI position to good use, powering some of the features on Samsung's phones, such as the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra.

There's nothing out of the ordinary in this arrangement and it would potentially give Apple the time to continue to develop its own solution while rolling out some AI features in iOS 18 – expected to debut on the iPhone 16.

Apple has previously confirmed that AI plans would be revealed in 2024, but exactly what it will be used for remains a mystery.

What will AI do on the iPhone 16?

Currently AI is used in a number of ways on smartphones. It's used to automate things like translation, allow call screening services and boost conversational responses through voice assistants.

But beyond that, it's the generative features that have really resonated with customers. The ability to edit photos and have the background generated by AI, or to create contextual content based on a simple prompt. Samsung uses this to summarise notes, to provide transcribing and bullet points on voice recordings and so on.

AI has the potential to simplify on-device controls, to better learn user routines or simplify tasks that are currently complicated – like setting up Siri Shortcuts. Certainly, Siri could do with an AI boost, as it's generally considered to be in third place behind Google Assistant and Alexa.

Google has demonstrated some really useful aspects of AI. Being able to run AI models on devices, as well as powering generative elements from cloud-based connections are some of the highlights of Google's Pixel phones – and the iPhone could offer similar come launch day.

There's no confirmation coming from Apple or Google, however, and Apple could just as easily develop a solution using Open AI's ChatGPT instead. We'd expect something AI-related to be mentioned at WWDC in June, and appear on devices in October 2024.

Chris Hall

Chris has been writing about consumer tech for over 15 years. Formerly the Editor-in-Chief of Pocket-lint, he's covered just about every product launched, witnessed the birth of Android, the evolution of 5G, and the drive towards electric cars. You name it and Chris has written about it, driven it or reviewed it. Now working as a freelance technology expert, Chris' experience sees him covering all aspects of smartphones, smart homes and anything else connected. Chris has been published in titles as diverse as Computer Active and Autocar, and regularly appears on BBC News, BBC Radio, Sky, Monocle and Times Radio. He was once even on The Apprentice... but we don't talk about that.