BY Fast Company 3 MINUTE READ

After a long delay, Apple is gearing up, finally, to embrace artificial intelligence in a big way on the iPhone. The company is expected to show off new AI-powered features for the iPhone’s upcoming operating system, iOS 18, next month at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference.

The most prominent AI feature iOS 18 is likely to introduce is an Apple-built large language model (LLM)—the software that powers AI chatbots like ChatGPT. Many are speculating that Apple’s LLM will be integrated with the iPhone’s current digital assistant, Siri.

An LLM-powered Siri would make Apple’s assistant more intelligent than it’s ever been and also more versatile. For example, an LLM-powered Siri will likely be able to process commands based on past context and previous queries, meaning a user could have more natural conversations with Siri because it could remember what you had spoken about before.

And Apple’s LLM may have one big benefit over current LLM chatbots like OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google’s Gemini: privacy. Current chatbots need to send your queries off to a cloud server to process—and who knows what those tech companies do with your data then? But as I speculated in March, it’s likely that Apple’s LLM will run directly on the iPhone. I thought this because Apple researchers had recently published a paper detailing a way to run LLMs on relatively low-powered devices like phones. If Apple has found a way to implement such technology commercially, it would allow iPhone users to keep their queries private from even Apple itself. And indeed, in April Bloomberg reported that Apple’s LLM will run on-device. If my speculation and Bloomberg’s reporting are accurate, it will be a game-changer for the AI chatbot industry.


Other AI features Apple is reportedly working on for iOS include baking AI technology directly into existing apps. For example, AI could power the automation and creation of playlists in Apple Music—helping users find new tunes to listen to or assemble a list of their favorite songs based on their current mood. Apple’s presentation software, Keynote, may also gain AI-powered capabilities to help users generate slide decks. The iPhone’s search tool, Spotlight, which lets users quickly find answers from the apps on their phone, may also receive an AI-powered infusion, making search results more comprehensive and accurate.

That’s where the firm reporting on Apple’s iOS 18 AI plans end. But it’s likely iOS 18’s AI features will go well beyond what has been reported. So, while the rest of these are just speculation, they also seem likely, given what we already know about the technology and how Apple’s competitors in the industry are utilizing it.

If Keynote is gaining AI deck creation, it’s likely that Apple will add similar AI tools to Pages and Numbers, the remainder of its office productivity suite. Specifically with Pages, I expect that we will see new abilities to generate text in documents to help us get our ideas across more succinctly. Such AI-generated text features are likely bound for anywhere you can enter text in iOS 18 including in emails and messaging apps.


Another area ripe for AI enhancements is Apple Maps, which has made great strides in recent years to become a terrific navigation app. However, the place Apple Maps still pales in comparison to industry-leader Google Maps is with its point-of-interest (POI) data. Google Maps’s POI data is robust and primarily generated by hundreds of millions of users across the globe contributing reviews and information to millions of listings. Apple Maps doesn’t have that kind of avid community of users. That’s where AI could come in. The company could use artificial intelligence to summarize public reviews and other publicly available information about a POI to give users more contextual information about the place.

It’s also hard to believe Apple won’t bring AI editing tools to the Photos app considering the tools are now common in many competing photo editing apps. Such tools could include the ability to expand an image beyond its original borders and quickly remove and reposition objects and people in a photograph.

Apple could also use AI to bolster the iPhone’s Accessibility offerings, the tools built into the operating system to make it more usable to those with various physical or cognitive impairments. For example, AI-powered speech could give the iPhone’s current Spoken Content feature, which reads text on a screen aloud to users, a much-needed update. AI-powered speech could make the voice reading the text back to you sound more natural. And since the iPhone can even clone your voice, perhaps Apple will let Spoken Content read text back to you in your own words—or those of someone you know.

For now, only Apple knows the complete lineup of iOS 18’s AI-powered features. But it won’t be long until the rest of us know, too. Apple is scheduled to preview iOS 18 during the keynote of the 2024 Worldwide Developers Conference, which takes place on Monday, June 10, 2024.