Apple testing souped-up Siri with help from ChatGPT

iPhone 15 Pro shown in hand
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

When iOS 18 rolls out with the iPhone 16 this September, it’s widely expected to be Apple’s first foray into the game-changing world of generative AI, taking on the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S24 in that field.

Yesterday, the iOS 17.4 beta arrived, and a little digging from 9to5Mac has uncovered evidence of Apple’s internal testing of artificial intelligence. The company is indeed working on its own model, codenamed Ajax as previously revealed.

As the site explains, the code includes references to a private framework called “SiriSummarization” that makes calls to the ChatGPT API. This apparently works with prompts such as “please summarize,” “please answer this question” and “please summarize the given text.”

9to5Mac is keen to point out that Apple doesn’t plan to lean on ChatGPT permanently. Rather, it seems to be testing Ajax against two more established models: ChatGPT and FLAN-T5. In short, Apple is likely using its own on-device AI and then seeing how the results compare to the cloud-based ChatGPT (although the report adds that there’s also a version of Ajax that runs off-device too).

The included system prompts also apparently mention what to do when input comes from iMessage or SMS, suggesting some integration with the Messages app. Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman had previously indicated Ajax would be able to work with Messages to “field questions and auto-complete sentences,” so that makes sense. 

In the same report, Gurman wrote of the “edict” from Craig Federighi’s software team to ensure iOS 18 is filled “with features running on the company’s large language model.” It seems that the early fruits of this are currently being tested within iOS 17, even if those outside Cupertino can’t access them.

It has previously been reported that Apple is taking a different route in training its artificial intelligence to rivals in the space, requesting access to publishers’ archives for training purposes in exchange for millions of dollars (and legal liability should anything go wrong).  

While we aren’t expecting iOS 18 to officially launch until September, we’ll likely get an early taste before then with a beta at WWDC, which is usually held in June. Both the event and the beta itself are predominantly aimed at developers, but it should still give us early indicators of how the newly enhanced Siri shapes up against its more established rivals.

Alan Martin

Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.