Bloomberg's Mark Gurman reports that Apple has big plans for the iOS 18 update this year.
Apple and tech fans worldwide are excited about iOS 18 being the biggest iPhone software update ever. Gurman wrote in his newsletter, "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.” Nevertheless, the information provided does not include any further specifics, except for the statement that iOS 18 is expected to be a significant upgrade. In this in-depth look, we will look at those key insights.
Back in November 2023, Gurman reported that Apple had halted the development of iOS 18 temporarily. This was due to a decision to prioritize bug resolution, highlighting Apple's commitment to delivering a polished and stable update. With the impending release, there is palpable excitement among users and developers as they await the announcement at Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June.
One of the key elements that sets iOS 18 apart is its laser focus on generative artificial intelligence (AI). Generative AI, which gained prominence with OpenAI's ChatGPT, is a technology that enables machines to respond and generate content in a manner similar to human-like conversation. Gurman's insights suggest that this technology will be at the heart of iOS 18, revolutionizing how Siri, the Messages app, and various other applications operate. Gurman predicts that iOS 18 will introduce a new version of Siri powered by a Large Language Model (LLM). This enhancement aims to make Siri smarter and more adept at handling intricate tasks, possibly allowing users to automate complex tasks with deeper integration into the Shortcuts app. The integration of generative AI in Siri aligns with the broader industry trend of leveraging AI to enhance virtual assistant capabilities.
Another significant revelation is Apple's plan to support the Rich Communication Services (RCS) standard in the Messages app. This update, announced in November 2023, indicates a major step towards improving messaging experiences between iPhones and Android devices. RCS support promises features like higher-resolution photos and videos, audio messages, typing indicators, read receipts, and enhanced group chats.
The developments surrounding iOS 18 align with Apple's vision for an improved iPhone ecosystem. The incorporation of generative AI across various applications, including Apple Music, Pages, Keynote, and Xcode, underscores Apple's commitment to providing users and developers with cutting-edge tools and functionalities. The rumoured enhancements in auto-completion for Siri and the Messages app further emphasize Apple's dedication to refining user experiences.
Apple's decision to embrace RCS is not just a technical upgrade; it signifies a move towards better cross-platform connectivity. With features like Wi-Fi messaging, improved encryption, and seamless communication between iPhones and Android devices, Apple is addressing a long-standing demand from users for a more versatile and feature-rich messaging experience. For developers, the integration of generative AI into tools like Xcode holds the promise of accelerating application development. By leveraging generative AI, developers may find themselves equipped with powerful tools that streamline the coding process, potentially leading to more innovative and efficient app development on the iOS platform.
It was also suggested that the integration of AI-driven features might catalyze an upgrade cycle, potentially leading to increased iPhone shipments in 2025. While projections about shipment numbers vary, the common thread is the belief that iOS 18 could play a pivotal role in shaping the iPhone's trajectory over the coming years. Specifically with the proposed Apple's 'Edge AI' potential in 2024. Edge AI involves processing data on the device itself rather than relying solely on cloud-based services. This shift towards on-device AI processing could contribute to enhanced performance, privacy, and user experiences on the iPhone.
If iOS 18 indeed introduces transformative AI-driven features, it could influence user behaviour and engagement with the iPhone. The prospect of a smarter Siri, more intuitive messaging, and auto-generated playlists in Apple Music might not only attract new users but also deepen the connection with existing iPhone enthusiasts. To truly appreciate the potential impact of iOS 18, it's essential to place it in the context of Apple's software evolution. The company has consistently integrated machine learning and AI into iOS and various products for years. From predictive machine learning in the software keyboard to the widespread use of machine learning in Siri, FaceID, and photo searches, Apple has progressively embraced these technologies to enhance user experiences.
The impending release of iOS 18 marks a potentially transformative moment in the iPhone's history. The convergence of generative AI, RCS support, and a strategic vision for seamless connectivity positions iOS 18 as a paradigm shift in the iPhone experience. Whether it's the evolution of Siri, the messaging revolution with RCS, or the broader implications for developers and analysts, iOS 18 appears poised to redefine the boundaries of what an iPhone can do. At WWDC in June, the tech world is abuzz with anticipation, eagerly awaiting a glimpse into the future of iOS and the iPhone ecosystem. There are currently no additional details on the new features in iOS 18. Nonetheless, it appears that Apple has more than just new AI features in the works.