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Apple to Bring Siri Into the AI Age at WWDC 24

Apple to Bring Siri Into the AI Age at WWDC 24

Apple is preparing for an unveiling of a major update to Siri at WWDC 24 in June, according to a report by The New York Times today.

The report says the revamped version Siri will be powered by generative AI, allowing it to understand more types of requests and to be more conversational. (Personally, I’d settle for Siri reliably turning my lights on and off.) Siri won’t focus on open-ended requests like ChatGPT. Apple is instead using the new AI foundations to make Siri better at handling tasks like setting timers, creating reminders, and more. (And turning lights on and off?)

The New York Times says that generative AI has been labeled as a tentpole project inside Apple and the company made the decision to give Siri “a brain transplant” in early 2023.

Apple executives Craig Federighi and John Giannandrea have extensively tested ChatGPT, spurring the decision to act and overhaul how Siri works.

While Siri currently operates as an ask-a-question-and-receive-an-answer system, often misunderstanding the user’s intent, the new Siri will be able to understand context and be more conversational.

It remains to be seen whether the new Siri will work with all of Apple’s devices or whether it will require more recent devices with more powerful Systems on a Chip, like the iPhone 15 range or the recently unveiled M4 iPad Pro. However, if it does require more powerful devices, where does that leave the Apple Watch or the HomePod lineup?

The New York Times report says Apple is increasing the RAM in the chips that will power the upcoming iPhone 16 lineup to offer better support for Siri and related LLM functions.

Apple is reportedly building data centers with servers powered by M2 Ultra (and some M4) chips to expand its AI capabilities. Apple has also reportedly been negotiating with Google to license its Gemini backend for some AI features.

The revamped Siri will be one of the flagship changes of iOS 18, which is believed to incorporate new AI-powered features across the system. Apple will unveil iOS 18, as well as updated versions of all of its other operating systems, at its annual WWDC developer conference in June.