Apple is reportedly planning a significant enhancement to its Siri voice assistant in iOS 18 that will enable more complex, multi-step tasks using advanced AI. According to a recent report, Siri will gain the ability to handle chained commands that span multiple apps and actions, akin to Shortcuts automation workflows.
Currently, Siri is limited to basic commands like setting reminders or answering queries. But with iOS 18, users may be able to invoke Siri to execute sophisticated routines involving third-party apps. For example, one could ask Siri to grab the last 5 photos, create a GIF, and text it to a friend – all via voice.
This leap in capability is powered by conversational AI and language models developed by Apple’s machine learning teams. Led by AI chief John Giannandrea, Apple is said to be spending millions per day on AI research and development. One key project is Ajax GPT, an internal large language model that can converse naturally.
Integration with the Shortcuts app also appears likely, allowing users to build custom voice-activated macros. Since acquiring Workflow in 2017, Apple has been expanding Shortcuts’ functionality as a way to automate iOS. Deep ties with Siri could make Shortcuts even more powerful.
The upcoming enhancements reflect Apple’s renewed focus on AI to boost Siri’s capabilities while maintaining strict privacy standards. Unlike rivals Google Assistant and Alexa, Siri processes most user interactions on-device without sending data to Apple servers. This limits wider learning potential but aligns with Apple’s commitment to privacy.
With iOS 18 likely arriving in 2024, users can expect a taste of Siri’s evolution in the iOS 17 update this fall. iOS 17 will eliminate Siri’s “Hey” wakeup phrase and add support for back-to-back requests without repeat activation. But the big leap forward in Siri’s utility and intelligence is slated for iOS 18 next year.