Apple’s GenAI version of Siri rumored to land this year

But if it lands, will it be worth it, or just another glass of Apple-flavored Kool-AId?
17 January 2024

“Apple Orchard” by Kelsie DiPerna is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

  • Is Siri AI coming in 2024?
  • Cupertino keeps cards close to chest.
  • Speculation and rumor-mills in frenzy.

Rumors and speculation have been swirling that Apple is set to introduce Siri’s first major generative AI upgrade. There has been a buzz (bordering on wasp swarm-levels of irritation) around generative AI in recent times, driven by its simplicity to use and the average-quality text, images, videos, and graphics it can create in just a few seconds. Up to now, Siri has primarily relied on natural language processing (NLP) to understand and respond to user voice commands. But according to a leak on Naver, a Korean blog, Apple is set to offer AI advancements to Siri with new software features in an upcoming iOS release.

According to the leak’s author, Yeux1122, the upgraded generative AI version of Siri will be announced at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June 2024. Although Apple has not published concrete plans as of now, is Siri AI just around the corner? If we expect a significant AI announcement soon, the WWDC seems like the opportune event.

Bloomberg and The Information previously reported that the new upgrade will be an Ajax-based Large Language Model (LLM), which has apparently been in development at Apple since 2022. There are also claims that it is already superior to ChatGPT 3.5, with some dubbing it “Apple GPT.”

According to Yeux1122, new Siri will add “more personalization and natural conversation capabilities to Siri.” It’s expected that AI integration will be available across the Apple hardware range, optimizing the ways that devices in the Apple stable work together. Apple GPT may also provide connections to external services, Apple-specific media services, and reference subscription-based features.

Is Siri AI already in testing at Apple?

It is believed that Apple is currently using its LLM tool internally. We already know that Apple has had two teams developing language and image models, but speculation continues as to what each team is working on. At least one team is thought to be engaged in long-term research associated with multimodal AI, a technology that can recognize and generate videos and/or images in addition to text.

There were reports in 2023 that LLMs may be used to interact with AppleCare holders (AppleCare is the company’s range of extended warranties and technical support plans) in place of human support staff, at least for level I support,

Is Siri AI hype? Illustration of DJ Hype

Should we believe the hype? “dj hype @ movement festival 5.29.10 -10” by cree_sto is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.

Should we be excited, or will this be another promising Siri upgrade that falls short? Recent updates have showcased no significant improvements and the Apple virtual assistant is the subject of dozens of memes ridiculing its apparent ineptitude.

We also need to address poster Yeux1122’s track record. They were wrong about the RAM in the iPhone 14 Pro and storage tiers in the iPad Air. Then again, they were half right about storage with the iPhone 15, predicting it would offer a larger storage option. This all seems to point to guesswork on their part, albeit guesswork that’s well-versed in Apple lore and the rumor mill that operates around Cupertino.

Yeux1122 stated that Apple was preparing to utilize a LLM with a view to revamp Siri in its entirety, making it into the “ultimate virtual assistant.” The poster stated such updates could help Siri become the “killer AI app for accessibility across Apple’s vast array of devices.

Accessibility for differently-abled hardware users is a fine goal, but a more cynical observer might expect to see immediate monetization of any LLM-powered features, plus ML-powered cross-selling of subscriptions to Apple TV, Apple Fitness+. Arcade, iCloud, and News, etc., or only equipping the very latest hardware with Siri’s new AI powers.

Currently, this is all speculation, but all eyes will be on the WWDC 2024 where, if things go as expected, Apple will release Siri’s first generative AI alongside iPhone 16 models. If no official announcements are made, it would be a true surprise.