Hold onto your hats, because Apple’s upcoming iOS 18 update could be the biggest in the company’s history.
That’s according to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, who used the subscriber-only section of his latest Power On newsletter to briefly touch upon the next version of iOS.
“I’m told that the new operating system is seen within the company as one of the biggest iOS updates — if not the biggest — in the company’s history,” he wrote.
That’s all he said, the big tease, adding that he’d have more to add in the future. Fortunately, we already have an idea of two of the features on the way.
The first is support for RCS which will finally see Android users no longer viewed as second-class citizens in iMessage. In short, it means iPhones will read Android messages better, adding support for read receipts, typing indicators, high-res media and emoji responses actually shown as emoji rather than text (the messages will still be green, though).
Perhaps more importantly, it looks like Apple is planning on getting aboard the AI train that will save/end humanity. Yes, the “widely derided” Siri is set to get a big update in iOS 18, and it appears that Apple is already testing it.
In the recently released beta for iOS 17.4, 9to5Mac spotted references in code to a private framework called “SiriSummarization” which apparently makes calls to the ChatGPT API. The site explains that this works with prompts like “please summarise”, “please answer this question” and “please summarise the given text”. How polite!
The site also found mention of input from iMessage or SMS, which makes sense as Gurman had previously said he expected Apple’s AI to work with Messages in order to “field questions and auto-complete sentences”.
The ChatGPT reference is a bit of a red herring, however. 9to5Mac says that Apple is only using it as a comparison point to see how its own AI — codenamed Ajax — is coping with tasks. Which is a bold strategy considering just how often ChatGPT hallucinates facts into existence, but that’s the brave new world of generative AI for you.
We’re not expecting iOS 18 to launch until September, when it’ll power the upcoming iPhone 16. But we’ll likely get a taster at WWDC, when developers (and curious non-devs with a high tolerance for buggy software) get their hands on a beta. That’s usually held in June, so watch this space.