What to expect at Apple’s WWDC: iOS 18, Siri, and lots of AI updates

Even though Apple isn't expected to unveil hardware at this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), significant changes are coming to iOS 18.

Apple is hosting its annual developer event on Monday, during which it will announce major updates for its software platforms.

Last year, the company unveiled its much-anticipated augmented reality device, the Apple Vision Pro, along with the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. This time, according to multiple leaks and rumors, there shouldn't be any significant hardware announcements.

However, software platforms, especially iOS 18, are getting big updates, and there’s no doubt that there’ll be plenty of new AI features.

Even though the conference will last from June 10th to 14th, the major announcements should be delivered during the keynote address by Apple's CEO Tim Cook and several other executives on June 10th at 1 p.m. ET.

Here are some of the most important announcements that we’re likely to see at WWDC 2024.

Partnership with OpenAI

According to several reports, Apple has partnered with the creator of ChatGPT OpenAI to bring the most popular chatbot’s capabilities to the iPhone.

For the last couple of years, Apple's competitors have heavily invested in creating the large language models that form the backbone of chatbots.

While Apple has also been working on creating its own AI, it has definitely fallen behind its competitors. According to Bloomberg, the company established early on that Google and Open AI were far ahead in the game.

Apple was reportedly in talks with both of the companies and decided to go with Open AI, but the details of Apple's and OpenAI's agreement remain unclear.

According to some sources, Google's Gemini integrations into iPhones aren't off the table.

Siri to take center stage

Apart from integrating Open AI's chatbot, Apple will also show off its own AI capabilities. The company is believed to use a mixed approach, with some AI computations being processed on the device and some sent to the cloud.

Apple's virtual assistant Siri is expected to be at the center of its announcements. Even though the company introduced its virtual assistant in 2011, ahead of its competitors, its functionality now lags behind competitors, not to mention chatbots.

Among the most significant updates coming to Siri would be the ability to control individual app functions with voice. However, Apple is expected to announce the feature only next year with an iOS 18 update, Bloomberg reports.

With iOS 18, Apple's virtual assistant should be able to answer queries more accurately and do more tasks with the help of AI. For example, Siri should be able to edit photos by voice commands or summarize a recording meeting and send a person in one request.

Voice transcripts and AI summaries

Several important changes are coming to the Notes app. The new in-app audio recording feature will enable users to record, save, and play audio recordings directly from the Notes app, according to Appleinsider.

The Notes app and Voice memos should also get transcription features. Apple is rumoured to include AI-based summaries of audio recordings in Voice memos across all platforms that support them.

Another AI-enabled feature would be custom emojis. Users would be able to create them and use them in text messages and on the fly.

Safari is also expected to get an update, with users soon able to use advanced blocking content features and Intelligent Search. Appleinsider's sources say that the latter feature will identify topics and key phrases within a webpage on which to base its summarization.

RCS messages

Even though AI will steal the spotlight at Apple's event, several other updates will be unveiled.

Last year, Apple publicly announced that it would implement Rich Communication Protocol (RCS) into its messages – the protocol Android users have been using for nearly four years.

RCS allows for multimedia messages, group chats, read receipts, typing indicators, and more interactive functionalities.

RCS messages are believed to be introduced with the latest iOS update. Integration to iPhones would also mean that all the new features would be available via iMessages when communicating with Android users.

Several minor updates coming to iOS are rumored to include the ability to freely place app icons and widgets on the iPhone's Home screen and the redesigned Control Centre.

Other updates

Other Apple software platforms, including iPad OS 18, TV OS 18, and WatchOS 11, will also be updated.

Most macOS improvements, for example, are rumored to provide feature parity to what Apple launches on the iPhone in iOS 18, such as updates to system apps and a new and improved Siri, 9to5 Mac reports.

Vision OS, Apple's software for the Apple Vision Pro, should be refreshed with more Apple-native apps and live captions for everything users say.