Apple Siri Revamp With Generative AI May Share Little With ChatGPT

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Key Takeaways

  • Apple's rumored Siri revamp is said to use generative AI in a different way.
  • Rather than mimic ChatGPT, it would improve classic functions while adding features like text summaries.
  • Apple is expected to introduce the new Siri at WWDC in June.

Apple’s long-expected Siri overhaul with generative AI might not have much in common with systems like ChatGPT, according to New York Times sources.

The insiders claimed Siri would run on generative AI, but that Apple’s focus would be on improving functionality for conventional tasks, like creating appointments and reminders. It would provide better answers, consider context, and take a more conversational approach.

Siri will reportedly also have the power to summarize text messages and notifications. Privacy would unsurprisingly be a focus for Apple, in part because Siri would handle many requests on-device instead of in the cloud.

The revamp is believed to be the result of a major turnaround in Apple’s approach. The company didn’t give its voice assistant much attention, the sources said, but that changed when OpenAI released its ChatGPT model. Apple AI head John Giannandrea (formerly of Google) and software engineering VP Craig Federighi reportedly studied ChatGPT for weeks, and in early 2023 decided Siri needed a rethink to stay competitive.

The decision to scrap an electric car was supposedly prompted in part by the rejuvenated focus on Siri.

Apple is widely expected to introduce the revised Siri at WWDC on June 10th, where it will likely be present in iOS 18 and other updates previewed at the conference. The new software is likely to be released in the fall.

Siri was considered a breakthrough when Apple debuted it alongside the iPhone 4S in October 2011. Until then, voice assistants were extremely basic and often required very exact phrases. Apple’s technology allowed more natural commands, and could answer some questions that normally required a web search.

The AI helper didn’t improve dramatically in following years, and struggled against alternatives like Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant. That was particularly noticeable in the smart home realm, where the HomePod hasn’t been as useful in some respects due to Siri’s limited abilities.

A successful rethink based on generative AI could change the competitive landscape. Google has yet to truly supplant Assistant with Gemini, and Alexa has few generative AI features. In theory, Apple is making the technology central to how Siri works.