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iPhone AI Evolution: What the Rumors Say About iOS 18

Here are all the major rumors surrounding the next major version of Apple's software.

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.
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Sareena Dayaram
3 min read
An iPhone's screen showing a messaging bubble and keyboard

It's rumored AI will play a significant role in iOS 18. In iOS 17, Apple has already added Personal Voice: a new accessibility setting that uses AI to store a replica of your voice on your phone. 

Nelson Aguilar/CNET

Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference is scheduled to take place on June 10, when the the company is expected to release the next version of iPhone software: iOS 18

Apple's iOS 18 could bring the "biggest" software update in the 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 2024

The news comes amid the generative AI hype cycle. Last fall, Google debuted its flagship Pixel 8 lineup with souped-up AI tricks and in January, Samsung launched the Galaxy S24 series with Galaxy AI. In light of this, it's likely Apple will go in the same direction with the rumored iPhone 16 and iOS 18.

To be clear, Apple already has AI features on its iPhones like its photo duplication detection feature, but we've yet to see how generative AI will factor into the iPhone and iOS. With iOS 17, Apple included a slew of AI-powered features like 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 Gemini or OpenAI's Chat GPT. Still, the rumor mill points to meaningful changes in iOS 18. Here are the most credible ones.

Read more: Hidden AI Features Available on Your iPhone Right Now

Smarter Siri

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

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

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

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 iOS 17

Watch this: What Google Gemini AI on the iPhone Could Look Like
Watch this: 10 Must-Try Hidden iOS 17 Features on Your iPhone

Editors' note: CNET is using an AI engine to help create some stories. For more, see this post.