iOS 18: all the rumors and new features expected so far

Posted by Joe Rossignol

The iOS 18 reveal is still months away, but there are already rumors and expectations for a software update, as noted below.

iOS 18 is rumored to include new ChatGPT-like generative AI features for Siri and several built-in Apple apps. The update is expected to add RCS support to the Messages app, improving the text messaging experience for Android users. iOS 18 is also rumored to have some design changes inspired by VisionOS.

iOS 18 will be announced at Apple's annual developer conference WWDC in June, with the update rolling out to all users in September.

Generative AI and a smarter Siri

Rumor has it that iOS 18 will bring new generative AI features for Siri, Shortcuts, Messages, Apple Music, pages and more. In February 2024, Apple CEO Tim Cook said the company was working on generative AI and would share details “later this year.”

Bloomberg's Mark Gurman said generative AI “should improve how how Siri and the Messages app can ask questions and auto-complete suggestions.” Wayne Ma of The Information said Apple will include larger language models in Siri so users can automate complex tasks. This feature will require deeper integration with the Shortcuts app.

The popularity of generative AI skyrocketed in 2022 after OpenAI released ChatGPT, a chatbot that can answer questions and other prompts. Google, Microsoft and other companies have also released similar chatbots and tools, including those that can automatically generate images, answer voice queries, etc.

Some generative AI features may be exclusive for iPhone 16 models, which are rumored to have a Neural Engine with a “significantly” higher core count.

RCS support in the Messages app

In November 2023, Apple announced it would support the RCS cross-platform messaging standard in the Messages app on iPhone starting “later” in 2024, so it will likely be an iOS 18 feature during that time.

RCS support should result in the following improvements in default messaging between iPhone and Android devices:

  • Higher resolution photos and videos
  • Audio messages
  • Input indicators
  • Read receipts
  • Messages over Wi-Fi between iPhone and Android devices.
  • Improved group chats, including the ability for iPhone users to leave a conversation that Android users are participating in.
  • Improved encryption over SMS.

These modern features are already available for communication between iPhones using blue bubbles via iMessage, and many features are also available in third-party messaging apps such as WhatsApp and Telegram. RCS support on iPhone will expand the Messages app to green bubbles.

The biggest iOS update ever?

Apple believes that in iOS 18 is According to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, this could potentially be the “biggest” software update in iPhone history.

“I'm told the new operating system is being viewed by the company as one of the biggest iOS updates—if not the largest in company history,” he wrote in the January 2024 issue of his Power On newsletter.

VisionOS-inspired design changes?

iOS 18 and iPadOS 18 will feature design elements inspired by VisionOS, according to rumors published by Israeli site The Verifier.

For example, the report claims that the Apple TV app on iPadOS 18 will have the same translucent features navigation bar, which was introduced in the tvOS 17.2 app version in 2023. The design of this menu is similar to VisionOS, the operating system that runs on Apple's new Vision Pro mixed reality headset.

According to the report, Apple is also planning to redesign various other system menus and built-in apps in iOS 18, including Safari.

Verifier has had a mixed reputation with Apple rumors over the years, so this latest rumor should be taken with some skepticism.

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For more information, read our review of iOS 18.

Related review: iOS 18[ 67 comments ]

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