iOS 18 is potentially the 'biggest' software update in iPhone history

by Joe Rossignol

Apple has big plans for iOS 18, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman.

In today's Q&A section of his subscriber-only newsletter Power On, Gurman said iOS 18 has the potential to be the “biggest” software update in iPhone history.

“I'm told the new operating system is being viewed internally as one of the biggest iOS updates—if not the biggest—in the company's history,” he wrote.

Gurman said he plans to share more details about specific iOS 18 features and changes are planned for the future, but we already know about two new features that will most likely be included in the update, as noted below.

iOS 18 will be released in September, and The first Developer Beta will be released during Apple's annual developer conference WWDC in June.

RCS support

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

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

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

These modern features are already available for conversations between iPhones with blue bubbles, via iMessage and many others. These 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.

Smart Siri

Gurman expects iOS 18 to feature generative AI technology intelligence. it “should improve the way Siri and the Messages app can ask questions and auto-complete suggestions.” He said Apple was also exploring generative AI capabilities for other apps on its platforms, including Apple Music, Pages, Keynote and Xcode.

The information says Apple plans to include larger language models in Siri to help users could automate complex tasks—a feature that would require deeper integration with the Shortcuts app. The report says the feature is expected to be released in an iPhone software update coming in 2024, which will most likely be iOS 18.

Generative AI surges in popularity in 2022 , when OpenAI released ChatGPT, a chatbot that can answer questions and other prompts. Google and Microsoft released similar chatbots last year as more companies move into the space. Chatbots are trained on large language models, allowing them to respond like humans.

Related Review: iOS 18 Tag: Mark Gurman [352 comments]

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