Here's what AI in your iPhone could do

Siri's reportedly getting smarter in iOS 18, but Apple isn't planning to turn it into ChatGPT

Render of rumoured new iPhone 16 Pro colours
(Image credit: X / Majin Bu)
Quick Summary

Apple will reportedly focus on AI during the upcoming WWDC in June, with Siri most heavily tipped to benefit.

However, it is not believed that it will gain ChatGPT-style interactions.

We know that Apple's pushing AI as the big new thing in iOS 18 this year, and more details have now emerged of what that actually means. The short version is that Siri is likely to help you be more productive, but it's claimed that Apple isn't attempting to create a rival for the likes of ChatGPT.

The details come via Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, who says that Apple has dubbed the improvements "proactive intelligence". In addition to making Siri interactions feel more conversational, Apple has been focusing on making improvements to everyday tasks. So Siri will be able to give you a synopsis of news articles or a transcription of voice memos, will be better able to control your calendar, and will be able to suggest appropriate apps.

According to Gurman there will be some generative AI features, such as "some enhancements to photos", but those features will not apparently impress anyone who's been using the AI features in apps from the likes of Adobe.

What else is AI offering in the iPhone 16?

As previously reported Apple is going to be handling most of the AI heavy lifting on your iPhone, but it will also be using its own cloud servers to deliver the more demanding features and is currently putting in high-end Apple silicon chips in anticipation of that. But one feature we're not going to see, Gurman says, is a ChatGPT-style chatbot. 

According to Gurman, while Apple is well aware that it's playing catch-up in the chatbot arena some Apple executives are "allergic" to the idea of Apple heading down that road: the well-publicised hallucinations and nonsense results from other firms' chatbots have damaged chatbots' reputation, those execs believe, and they don't want to tarnish Apple's reputation with chatbots that don't deliver.

Apple's solution in the short term at least is to buy in the tech from elsewhere. Gurman says it'll be partnering with openAI to bring its tech to the iPhone alongside Apple's own AI-powered improvements to Siri, and Apple believes that mix will be good enough for consumers.

In the long term, however, Apple knows it'll need to develop its own systems: Apple's strategy has always been to control the technologies its products rely on, and you can't control what you don't own.

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).