Siri was pretty mind blowing when Apple launched it alongside the iPhone 4S in 2011. Back then, voice assistants were brand new – but in the intervening years, thanks to the arrival of Amazon and Google's own attempts, Siri has begun to look a little, er, less intelligent than her competitors. But that could change as soon as next year – with a little help from AI.
According to various reports, Apple has been working overtime on a new on-device AI-powered assistant for the iPhone. Rumour has it Apple has created a large language model (LLM) designed to turn Siri into the ultimate AI assistant. And about time too.
According to a prolific Apple leaker on Twitter (sorry, X), Apple is "using LLM to completely revamp Siri into the ultimate virtual assistant and is preparing to develop it into Apple's most powerful killer AI app." It could be revealed as soon as WWDC 2024, and become standard on the iPhone 16 and beyond.
This isn't the first time Apple has shown an interest in on-device AI (or as the company prefers to call it, machine learning). The upcoming Journal app use the tech to create "personalised suggestions of moments for you to remember and write about based on your photos, music, workouts and more." But the idea of turning Siri, a system-wide feature, into an AI powerhouse, suggests perhaps a greater commitment to AI from Apple than we'd anticipated.
And while AI might be a touchy subject right now, particularly in the world of art and design, I'm all for anything that could make Siri a little more useful. In its current iteration, the digital assistant is less responsive than its rivals – and the incredible abilities of AI chatbots such as ChatGPT have only emphasised Siri's shortcomings. Perhaps next year, it'll finally become a little less common to have Siri respond, "I'm sorry, I don't understand."