Apple and AI? Just check what is in iOS 18 for iPhones
Apple virtually never uses the term artificial intelligence (AI). And now, it is rumoured to bring generative AI to iPhones in iOS 18, and aims to enhance Siri and other automation features.
Apple is reportedly gearing up to introduce generative AI capabilities to its iPhone and iPad lineup, with expectations of seeing these features as early as iOS 18. Jeff Pu, an analyst covering Apple's supply chain for Hong Kong-based investment firm Haitong International Securities, speculates that this development could occur no earlier than late 2024.
Based on his supply chain investigations, Pu suggests that Apple will set up several hundred AI servers in 2023, with more to follow in the subsequent year. The tech giant is planning to utilise a blend of cloud-based and "edge AI," which emphasises on-device data processing. However, the rollout of generative AI will be marked by a careful consideration of how personal data is handled, aligning with Apple's commitment to customer privacy.
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What's in Store for iOS 18?
Should Apple meet its late 2024 target, the generative AI features might find their way into iOS 18 and iPadOS 18. Specific use cases for this technology remain a mystery, but there's been speculation that Apple intends to incorporate large language models into Siri. This would empower users to automate complex tasks, likely through deeper integration with the Shortcuts app. The feature could potentially be included in an iPhone software update next year, potentially becoming a part of iOS 18, MacRumors reported.
Challenges and Competition in the Generative AI Space
Notably, supply chain analyst Ming-Chi Kuo expressed doubts about Apple's generative AI readiness, noting that it lagged behind competitors. This leaves the possibility that the technology may not be available until 2025 or beyond.
Generative AI has seen a significant surge in popularity, particularly since OpenAI unveiled ChatGPT, a chatbot capable of human-like responses and much, much more quickly at that. Competitors like Google and Microsoft have followed suit with similar chatbots. In Apple's case, Mark Gurman of Bloomberg mentioned internal testing of a "ChatGPT-like" chatbot, but a clear public release strategy has yet to be devised.
Apple has openly acknowledged its interest in generative AI, as seen in recent job listings on its website. Apple CEO Tim Cook emphasised the company's commitment to handling this technology thoughtfully due to concerns about misuse, bias, and hallucination.
So, exciting AI features might be coming to your iPhone, but you might need to wait until 2024, or maybe even later. Apple wants to make sure it's safe for everyone. And notably, Apple never rolls out anything new without substantial R&D and that is the reason why it has not launched a foldable smartphone even though arch rival Samsung has been rolling out one for years. However, now it is being reported that Apple is working on a foldable iPad that can be folded into an iPhone-like size.