What to expect from Apple’s AI-powered iOS 18 at WWDC 2024

Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference next week promises to be a pivotal moment in the iPhone maker’s history. Though the Vision Pro debuted at last year’s event, don’t expect hardware to be the main attraction at WWDC 2024, which kicks off Monday at 10 a.m. PT.

WWDC is for developers, and much of the focus will be on iOS 18. The Cupertino tech giant will showcase how it’s chosen to integrate AI technology into its devices and software, including through a historic partnership with OpenAI. As the big event nears, all sorts of leaks have emerged about what iOS 18 and its rumored AI-powered apps and features have in store.

Among the changes, Apple is said to be powering some of its new AI features with its Ajax LLM, including suggested email replies. Other reports indicate that Apple plans to process data from AI in a way that even employees won’t be able to access, which would help Apple continue to deliver on its promise of data privacy for its users.

Below, we’ll take a look at how Apple is said to be adding AI to its apps and services in the next big update for the iPhone, alongside other improvements and changes coming to iOS 18.

Siri’s AI-enabled future

  • Apple’s digital assistant is prepared to get an AI revamp. The digital assistant will leverage Apple’s own large language models and will allow Siri to control individual features inside applications. This will work without any necessary setup by developers or users, like App Intents or Siri Shortcuts currently require. Instead, users will be able to ask Siri to do things like delete an email or edit a photo.
  • Some of Siri’s upgraded AI capabilities won’t be ready until next year. For example, the ability for Siri to handle tasks with multiple steps is likely delayed.
  • A more advanced Siri will also come to Apple Watch for on-the-go use. You could use Siri on your Watch to play music on another device, one report said.
  • Siri will receive more natural-sounding voices.
  • Siri will be able to summarize notifications that include people, companies, calendar events, locations, dates and more.
  • Could Siri’s new look be hinted at in the animations below?

Apple Photos’ new look

  • A new interface is being teased.
  • People will have the ability to retouch photos with AI, perhaps challenging Google Photos in this area.
  • A “Clean Up” feature would, for instance, let you remove objects from your photos using generative AI technology, similar to Google’s Magic Eraser.
  • One report noted that Apple made an internal-only application called Generative Playground that uses GenAI to create and edit images. It’s unclear how this functionality will be presented to end users, though iMessage integration was spotted in the form of an app extension.

Safari with more AI

  • AI recaps of Safari web pages and news articles will be available through a new Intelligent Search feature. (Watch out, Arc?)

Notes injected with AI

  • Users will be able to ask for AI recaps of Notes.
  • GenAI will also help to transcribe audio in Notes.
  • In-app audio recording will be supported alongside audio transcription and AI summarization.
  • Math Notes will help users create graphs and solve equations through AI by recognizing the text of mathematical equations and then helping you to solve them.
  • Notes users may also have the option to auto-complete their mathematical equations when typing.
  • Project Greymatter is the code name for a set of AI tools that are being integrated into core like Safari, Photos and Notes, Bloomberg reported.

Voice Memos transcriptions

  • Real-time transcription for voice memos is also coming.

iMessages’ gets an AI makeover

  • Generative AI emojis will be supported, letting users create their own emojis with technology.
  • AI recaps of missed texts will also be available.
  • Overall deeper Siri integration is expected.
  • Tapbacks will get new icons.
  • Message effects for individual words will be supported in addition to effects for the message itself.
  • Messages will offer suggested replies generated by Apple’s on-device Ajax LLM to make texting back easier.
  • RCS support is also expected to arrive this year to bring read recipes, typing indicators and high-quality video and images when texting with Android users via iMessage.

Calendar refresh

  • Apple’s LLM will be able to communicate with the Calendar app to check for events when composing responses to messages.

Mail with support for AI

  • Mail will also get suggested email replies generated by Ajax.
  • Project BlackPearl is the code name for the AI upgrade that’s enhancing Apple Mail.
  • Search within Apple Mail will include information from Contacts, locations, and locally stored documents.
  • Users may be able to ask Siri to make their emails “sound more professional” among other things.

New Settings interface

  • Settings will hopefully get less confusing with a revamped interface and updates that include better organization and improved search.

Control Center updates

  • A new Music widget will be available — possibly to feature larger artwork?
  • Improvements to HomeKit for smart home integrations.

Notifications

  • AI recaps of missed notifications will be available.
  • Apple is working on something called “Enhanced” notifications.

Spotlight

  • Spotlight is expected to get faster, more reliable search.

Home Screen updates

  • iOS 18 will bring the ability to place app icons wherever you want, instead of having to align them to the grid without spaces in between them.
  • Users will also be able to change the color of app icons, perhaps as Apple’s answer to Google’s Material You.

Maps with route creation

Music with AI-powered playlists

More improvements

Other apps with planned updates include Freeform, Xcode and Apple’s productivity apps, like Keynote and Pages, which may get GenAI features.


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