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Apple reportedly eyeing generative AI push and Siri overhaul for the iPhone

Siri on iPhone

Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images

Trying to play catch up in the race to integrate AI, Apple is planning some major generative AI features for its next version of iOS, according to noted tech reporter and Apple watcher Mark Gurman. In his latest Power On newsletter for Bloomberg, Gurman teased a number of initiatives that Apple reportedly will unveil at its 2024 Worldwide Developers Conference, which is expected to take place in June.

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First, the company is looking to add such AI features as auto-summarizing and auto-complete to its core apps and productivity programs such as Pages and Keynote. Next, Apple is striving to integrate AI into services like Apple Music. In this instance, the company wants to use AI to automate the creation of playlists. And last, but certainly not least, Apple is planning a major overhaul for Siri, Gurman said.

For developers, Apple is cooking up new versions of Xcode and other programming tools that will use generative AI to help its users complete code. And on the support front, the company is designing a new AI-powered system for AppleCare employees to better help customers troubleshoot technical problems, Gurman added.

With major players such as OpenAI, Microsoft, and Google already capitalizing on generative AI, Apple seems to be lagging far behind. Though the company has been working on integrating AI into some of its products and services, so far it has nothing to show for it. As Gurman pointed out, that’s a big risk for a tech firm that typically portrays itself as an innovator in consumer technology.

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And now there are more competitors chomping at the AI bit. Due to be unveiled later this month, Samsung’s new Galaxy S24 will reportedly pack in a bunch of AI features. Reports say the new phone will use built-in AI to generate images, compose emails and messages, translate text, and recognize voices.

Mixed in with Apple’s slow uptake of AI have been long-standing complaints about Siri. As an iPhone user, I’ve been frustrated with Siri’s lack of reliability and lack of any real development. And it’s not just me. Based on interviews with more than three dozen former Apple employees, a story published last April by The Information claimed that Siri has been widely derided by staff within the company for the tool’s lack of functionality and improvements.

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And even if Apple does outfit this year’s iOS and iPhones with major new AI innovations and a better Siri, the company will likely take until 2025 to fully transform its generative AI vision into reality, according to Gurman.

“Starting with generative AI, Apple’s tools — when they launch — will come nearly two years after ChatGPT began to take the world by storm, about a year after Amazon announced its revamped Alexa and about a year and a half after Microsoft and Google debuted their new services,” Gurman said. “Even for Apple, that’s quite a miss.”

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