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Apple's iOS 18 Rumors: A Possible Big Leap Into AI

Will Apple make its move in the next software update?

Sareena Dayaram
Sareena Dayaram
Sareena Dayaram Senior Editor
Sareena is a senior editor for CNET covering the mobile beat including device reviews. She is a seasoned multimedia journalist with more than a decade's worth of experience producing stories for television and digital publications across Asia's financial capitals including Singapore, Hong Kong, and Mumbai. Prior to CNET, Sareena worked at CNN as a news writer and Reuters as a producer.
Expertise Huawei, Oppo, smartphones, smartwatches Credentials
  • More than a decade of journalism experience
Sareena Dayaram
3 min read
Siri on iOS 17

Siri had a slight makeover in iOS 17, including two new features that will change how you interact with the voice assistant. iOS 18 could bring even more changes.

Nelson Aguilar/CNET

Amid the AI hype cycle, Google debuted its flagship Pixel 8 lineup and its souped-up AI tips and tricks. Soon after, Samsung announced its Galaxy S24 series, bringing what the company calls Galaxy AI into the mix, which is packed with some nifty AI features of its own.

In light of this, it wouldn't be a major surprise if Apple went in the same direction with the rumored iPhone 16 (unofficial name). Although Apple already has AI features baked into its iPhones -- it's used in the photo duplication detection feature and when the device improves photos -- the iPhone maker is likely playing catch-up to its rivals on generative AI, as far as the public is concerned. 

But Apple could make significant progress with its next major software update. iOS 18, which is expected to be unveiled in the coming months, could bring the "biggest" software update in iPhone's history, according to the January edition of Mark Gurman's Power On newsletter. In the November edition, Gurman wrote that iOS 18 could bring "relatively groundbreaking" updates to the iPhone complete with "major new features and designs." 

Read more: Best iPhone of 2023

While details are currently limited on iOS 18 (as expected), Apple typically previews its major software releases for the iPhone and other products at WWDC, its annual software development conference, in June.

With iOS 17 this year, Apple announced a slew of AI-powered features including the ability to clone your own voice on the iPhone and an updated keyboard with better autocorrect. But the company stopped short of unveiling generative AI products along the lines of Google's Bard or Open AI's Chat GPT. However, the rumor mill points to meaningful changes in iOS 18 next year. Here's what to expect.

An illustration portraying the mix of blue and green bubbles on iPhone's iMessage service, with a sick-face emoji.

Google's launched a website dedicated to advocating for Apple to adopt the RCS text messaging standard, filled with links to tweet notes to the company.

CNET

Smarter Siri

Siri has been around since iOS 5 in 2011, but with iOS 18 Apple's voice-activated assistant could get a lot smarter.Generative AI technology "should improve how both Siri and the Messages app can field questions and auto-complete sentences," according to Gurman.

Before his newsletter, a September report from the Information, said Apple plans to use large language models, a crucial part of generative AI, to make Siri smarter. An example detailed in that article explained how Siri can respond to simple voice commands for more complex tasks, such as turning a set of photos into a GIF and then sending them to one of your contacts. If that example is accurate, this represents a significant step forward in the capabilities of Siri.

Read More: Apple Just Teased Its AI Plans. You Really Should Take Notice.

Improved texting with Android Apple has said it will bring RCS support, the cross-platform messaging standard, to the iPhone. According to a November report by 9to5Mac, an Apple spokesperson said it'll be coming to the iPhone "later next year" and will work alongside iMessage.

RCS support should improve the current messaging experience between iPhone and Android users by bringing iMessage-like features. Those upgrades include sending high-quality photos and videos to contacts, read receipt, typing indicators and, most importantly, end-to-end encryption, something SMS messaging lacks. In other words, if you have an Android phone and are texting someone with an iPhone, you'll be able to text each other over RCS instead of SMS. However, it's important to remember that iMessage will remain exclusive to the iPhone and other Apple devices. RCS will not bring iMessage to Android phones.

Read More: Apple's iMessage Will Probably Never Come to Android. And That's OK.


As mentioned earlier, details are currently sparse on Apple's plans and we don't yet know which iPhones will be compatible with iOS 18. We'll be updating this article as and when we get more details, so make sure to check back. Until then, you can get up to speed with Apple's latest publicly available mobile software, iOS 17, with the help of our cheat sheet. 

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Watch this: 10 Must-Try Hidden iOS 17 Features on Your iPhone