Apple’s “biggest ever iPhone upgrade” won’t include an AI bot

Apple's very excited about AI, but don't expect a ChatGPT-style AI in the iPhone 16

WWDC 2024
(Image credit: Apple)

Apple's WWDC 2024 conference is where the firm will show off the next generation of its iPhone software, but don't expect to see a ChatGPT-style AI in the iPhone 16: despite Apple's focus on and hyping of AI tech – such as Apple exec Greg Joswiak capitalising "Absolutely Incredible" in his WWDC announcement post – and reports suggesting that iOS 18 will be the biggest iPhone upgrade ever, chatbots aren't part of Apple's current iPhone plan.

That's quite the contrast to previous reports that suggested that iOS 18 will be an AI extravaganza. But the devil is in the detail: Apple's still going big on AI, but not in the way some observers expect.

According to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, while Apple is indeed planning to unveil some AI features, a chatbot isn't one of them. We'll see AI features for the iPhone 16 and for existing compatible iPhones too, but don't expect an equivalent to Google Gemini or ChatGPT.

What AI features is Apple expected to unveil at WWDC?

Gurman says that "Apple’s artificial intelligence strategy will include a slew of new proactive features to assist users in their daily lives" but that it remains in discussions with the likes of Google and OpenAI over possibly licensing some of their tech; while Apple had previously considered licensing chatbots that's apparently no longer on the table.

The most likely features, other than improved photo features, are probably best thought of as turbo-charged autocorrect: autocompletion in Messages and in other core apps, and AI playlists in Apple Music. Gurman has previously reported that Siri would be getting better and would be able to answer more complex questions, which would be a very welcome upgrade: even before the rise of the chatbots Siri was feeling increasingly dated compared to more capable and flexible rivals.

The new features are expected to be shown off at WWDC, which is where Apple lets app developers see the new tools and toys they can integrate into their own apps. This year's WWDC runs from the 10th of June to the 14th and we will of course be keeping you up to date with everything Apple announces and unveils, AI and otherwise.

Carrie Marshall

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written more than a dozen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote seven more books and a Radio 2 documentary series; her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, was shortlisted for the British Book Awards. When she’s not scribbling, Carrie is the singer in Glaswegian rock band Unquiet Mind (unquietmindmusic).