Apple is reportedly planning to add multiple generative AI-based features to its next version of the iOS operating system, iOS 18, in 2024.
In his latest installment of the weekly “Power On” newsletter, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman says Apple’s executives were “caught off guard” by the industry’s sudden interest in AI and have been anxiously “scrambling since late last year to make up for lost time” by working diligently on AI (artificial intelligence) since late 2022.
Apple Likely To Add Generative AI Features In iOS 18
Describing the situation as a significant internal oversight, a person with knowledge of the matter told Power On, “There’s a lot of anxiety about this and it’s considered a pretty big miss internally.”
As a result, Apple is making a substantial investment in generative AI to bridge the gap and stay competitive in the fast-paced AI market so that it can take on the likes of OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Microsoft and Google’s AI version of search engines.
The Cupertino giant is building its own large language model called Ajax and has even rolled out an internal chatbot dubbed “Apple GPT” to explore the AI technology in their products.
Senior Vice Presidents John Giannandrea (AI) and Craig Federighi (software engineering) spearhead the project, which is expected to cost approximately $1 billion annually. Even Eddy Cue, the head of services, is involved in the AI project.
Giannandrea, Gurman said, is overseeing the development of the underlying technology for a new AI system, while his team is working on a “smarter” version of Siri that will be deeply integrated with AI and could be ready as soon as next year.
On the other hand, Federighi’s software engineering group is adding AI to the next version of iOS. He expects the new features to improve how both Siri and the Messages app can field questions and auto-complete sentences.
“Apple’s software engineering teams are also looking at integrating generative AI into development tools like Xcode, a move that could help app developers write new applications more quickly,” Gurman wrote.
Meanwhile, Cue’s team is pushing to add AI to as many apps as possible, such as Pages or auto-create slide decks in Keynote, and exploring new features for Apple Music, including auto-generated playlists and the company’s productivity apps. As previously reported by Gurman, Apple is also testing generative AI for internal customer service apps within its AppleCare group.
However, the Apple team is debating whether to deploy generative AI as a completely on-device experience, a cloud-based setup, or something in between, Gurman added.
“An on-device approach would work faster and help safeguard privacy, but deploying Apple’s LLMs via the cloud would allow for more advanced operations,” he concluded.
“When it comes to getting this right, the stakes are high. Generative AI has quickly become much more than a buzzword and will be central to the next several decades of computing. Apple knows it can’t afford to take a back seat.”