Apple iOS 18 Will Reportedly Make Siri Less of a Nincompoop

Siri is dumb. It’s a sad fact, but the little assistant has long been a butt of jokes for its propensity to misunderstand even the most simple of requests. As Gizmodo predicted at the start of the year, Siri is getting an AI upgrade that hopefully makes it far less of a nincompoop. It’s part of a wave of new AI enhancements that should be announced for iPhones and iPads once WWDC 2024 rolls around on June 10.

Siri will be able to control Apple’s apps and features far better than it currently can, according to Bloomberg’s Apple guru Mark Gurman’s anonymous sources. The on-device assistant should be able to handle any of the users’ tasks in apps or control parts of the iPhone entirely.

This will allow Siri to move documents from one folder to another, send emails, and summarize articles akin to a few Gemini Nano features available on Pixel phones. According to Bloomberg, the new Siri is being built on top of an LLM designed in-house.

Other AI enhancements are coming to iPhones, such as voice memo transcriptions, webpage summaries, automatic replies, and even “AI-generated emojis.” Some of these capabilities are handled on-device, while others will necessarily need to be handled in the cloud. Other features might be restricted to the latest and greatest Apple devices, like the iPhone 15 Pro and the iPad Pro with M4.

Unfortunately, there will be plenty of restrictions to start. Siri won’t be able to control third-party apps. It won’t be able to comprehend multiple commands at once, so if you want the phone to transcribe a voice memo and then email it to somebody, you’ll need to issue a separate command after it completes its initial task.

The Cupertino, California company is reportedly working on giving Siri more control over the phone. Still, we’ll need to see exactly what Apple promises in a little more than a week. Bloomberg reports those broader capabilities won’t be available until early next year.

We have it on pretty good authority that Apple is in cahoots with OpenAI. The Sam Altman-led company has reportedly signed a deal with Apple to bring ChatGPT directly onto iPhone, as both Gurman and The Information reported on the deal based on anonymous sources with knowledge of the companies’ dealings. The deal could be a big money maker for OpenAI, though Bloomberg mentioned Apple is still keeping its doors open for Google should they strike a deal to bring Gemini onto the iPhone.

In the end, some users’ information will need to be sent to the cloud if they want to use the more complicated AI tasks. Apple will reportedly store this information in a “Secure Enclave” in the company’s data centers and then offer users an “intelligence report” explaining what Apple’s doing with their data.

The speed at which it performs may make or break these new Siri features. Large language models and chatbots aren’t known for being quick on the draw. If a user asks Siri to copy and paste some text into an email, they definitely don’t want to sit there for several seconds watching Siri spin its wheels. The NPU capabilities on the latest iPhones and iPads are strong for the devices’ footprint, but we’ve yet to see any program that can truly push the devices’ neural capabilities to the limit.

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