Apple’s updates are all usually exciting, but some are much larger than others. iOS 17, for example, introduced Contact Posters; a feature that turns your iPhone into a smart display; as well as the ability to turn any photo into a sticker. Come June, Apple will officially announce iOS 18, which could very well be a game-changing update for the iPhone.
It’s all about AI
Look, this update is going to be about AI. Everything in the tech world is about AI now, so why shouldn’t iOS updates follow suit? iOS 17 was the first update Apple released post-ChatGPT, and while the company steered clear of using the phrase AI, they didn’t shy away from adding new features powered by artificial intelligence.
However, the tech world is expecting iOS 18 to be the AI update Apple fans have been waiting for. Apple has been playing internal catch-up on generative AI since ChatGPT’s unexpected success, and we could see the end results of those efforts in iOS 18. According to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, Apple’s development team has been exploring how to utilize its LLMs (large language models) with iOS, as well as the rest of its Apple software.
Siri, for example, could launch in iOS 18 with similar chatbot features to ChatGPT or Google Bard. You may find AI tools to help generate text in Pages, slides in Keynote, and playlists in Apple Music. It all depends on what Apple actually deems is ready for primetime once WWDC rolls around in June. Plus, it’s possible AI features they announce for iOS 18 never make it out of beta testing. The company is quick to pull features that aren’t ready yet—like collaborative playlists in Apple Music, which—even when they announced them as part of a major update, and I’m sure that will be the case with something as complex as AI.
Wherever Apple is at internally by June, however, rest assured at least some of their AI exploits will make it to iOS 18.
Will we finally get RCS support?
The question is not “if” but “when” Apple will add RCS support to iOS. We learned back in November that Apple was officially working to move past the SMS/iMessage dichotomy by adding RCS to the mix, so us iPhone users can text Android friends without it being a miserable experience.
Here’s a quick summary of the situation if you aren’t up to speed: Unlike Android developers like Google and Samsung, Apple has refused to adopt the more modern RCS messaging protocol for iOS. On the flip side, they also keep iMessage closed to Apple devices only. That means that unless you’re iMessaging another Apple user, you’ll need to text the contact via SMS, an old, outdated, and insecure form of messaging. It’s the reason why group chats are miserable, images are low quality, and texts are—gasp—green.
Apple is definitely adopting RCS sometime this year, which means iPhones and Androids will finally get along better. (RCS will likely keep the green bubble, though.) Whether it drops with iOS 18 remains to be seen, but it would make sense for Apple to do.
More to come
It’s still early days, with plenty of time for the rumor mill to churn out speculation and intrigue. Will Apple bring any of its EU-specific features, like third-party app stores and true third-party browsers, to the rest of the world? Will iOS 18 introduce a new UI to the iPhone? Which iPhones will be dropped from the compatibility list? The closer we get to WWDC, the more we’ll likely hear about what iOS 18 could hold in store for our iPhones.
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