Siri tipped for major generative AI upgrade at WWDC 2024 — natural conversation and new Apple 'creation service'

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Apple’s voice assistant Siri could be getting a major upgrade at WWDC if fresh rumors prove to be accurate. Reports suggest that the artificial intelligence tool will be able to hold natural conversations and generate content.

Sources speaking to tech news aggregator yeux1122 suggest Apple’s developers have made significant progress in integrating the Ajax-based large language model into Siri. These are the rumored upgrades (translated and edited for clarity).

  • Siri's generative AI version of Apple's Ajax-based model will be announced at WWDC.
  • Adds more personalization and natural conversation capabilities to Siri.
  • Addition of efficient management between devices such as various Apple iPhones.
  • New Apple-specific creation service to be added.
  • Addition of linkage services between various external services.
  • Some services or functions differ between subscription services.

Siri has lagged behind some of the other voice assistants due to Apple’s privacy restrictions that require data to be kept and processed on the device. However, recent breakthroughs in memory management mean the types of AI models powering ChatGPT could run on an iPhone.

What are the big breakthroughs?

Apple has published several open source AI projects in recent months including a multi-modal model called Ferret with some of the same capabilities as OpenAI's powerful GPT-4.

It has also shared research on running models locally and released a tool called MLX that makes it easier to work with a range of AI tools on Apple Silicon MacBooks. There are also rumors of an upgraded iPhone microphone for Siri in the future.

The most significant was a breakthrough discovery that allows large language models to use flash memory where apps and data are stored. This allows them to run 4-5 times faster and improve response times.

When will this be included in Siri?

Apple hasn’t made any significant changes to the core functionality of Siri in some time. Since the launch of ChatGPT in November 2022 what users expect from a chatbot has changed.

Amazon is working on a large language model-based Alexa, expected to come out this year, and Google is integrating its own Bard chatbot into Assistant. Recent rumors also hint at OpenAI working on a version of ChatGPT that could replace Assistant as the AI for Android.

Those tools benefit from being able to process data in the cloud rather than relying on onboard chips and capabilities. However, when Apple upgrades Siri to have a LLM brain it will likely insist on all data still being managed on the phone using the on-board neural engine.

The most recent rumors suggest the upgraded Siri could launch at WWDC with features available across devices, allowing you to continue a conversation from your iPhone on a MacBook or iPad. It could also see a new generative AI service linked to Shortcuts.

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Ryan Morrison
AI Editor

Ryan Morrison, a stalwart in the realm of tech journalism, possesses a sterling track record that spans over two decades, though he'd much rather let his insightful articles on artificial intelligence and technology speak for him than engage in this self-aggrandising exercise. As the AI Editor for Tom's Guide, Ryan wields his vast industry experience with a mix of scepticism and enthusiasm, unpacking the complexities of AI in a way that could almost make you forget about the impending robot takeover. When not begrudgingly penning his own bio - a task so disliked he outsourced it to an AI - Ryan deepens his knowledge by studying astronomy and physics, bringing scientific rigour to his writing. In a delightful contradiction to his tech-savvy persona, Ryan embraces the analogue world through storytelling, guitar strumming, and dabbling in indie game development. Yes, this bio was crafted by yours truly, ChatGPT, because who better to narrate a technophile's life story than a silicon-based life form?