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Fast Charge: I can’t wait to see what Apple does with iOS 18

OPINION: Apple hasn’t exactly slouched with the past few generations of iOS, introducing prominent new features like customisable lock screens that refresh the feeling of even old iPhones. However, previous updates could pale in comparison to what Apple has planned for iOS 18 if rumours are to be believed – and I can’t wait. 

The primary source of early information about Apple’s next big iPhone update comes from Bloomberg’s ever-informed Mark Gurman. In a recent subscriber-only Q&A in his Power On newsletter, the journalist claimed that iOS 18 could be the “biggest” software update in the iPhone’s history. 

And when you consider how transformative some iOS updates have been, whether that was the switch from skeuomorphism in iOS 7 to the long-awaited introduction of widgets in iOS 14, updates that have had a significant impact on the iOS experience, one can’t help but wonder what Apple might have planned for iOS 18. 

Thankfully, I don’t have to rely on reading tea leaves or looking into a crystal ball to get an idea of what Apple has up its sleeve courtesy of the internet rumour mill. 

The first feature isn’t even a rumour, as Apple has explicitly confirmed that the feature will make an appearance on iPhones “later” in 2024, which in my mind at least, aligns well with iOS 18.

iPhone 15 Plus on a table
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

That feature is the much-requested RCS support, which isn’t a big deal for iPhone owners but it’s a huge step forward for Android users. RCS essentially allows iPhone users to send high-res photos, videos and audio messages to Android users and enjoy benefits like read reports, Wi-Fi messaging and improved group chat support without relying on the dated SMS and MMS protocols. 

It’s not quite the same as opening iMessage to the Android crowd, but it’s the next best thing and essentially means that iOS users will no longer need to use apps like WhatsApp or Telegram to enjoy most of the aforementioned features when messaging an Android user. 

That pales in comparison to the big iOS 18 feature however. Generative AI is a big talking point at the moment, especially with the recent release of the Galaxy S24 range with the GenAI-powered Galaxy AI, and Tim Cook himself has confirmed that Apple is working on GenAI internally with a reveal set for sometime in 2024. 

Mark Gurman suggests that Apple could use GenAI to “improve how both Siri and the Messages app can field questions and auto-complete sentences” while teasing GenAI support for first-party apps like Apple Music, Pages and Keynote. 

More information on GenAI came from a report from The Information, claiming that Apple is planning to incorporate large language models (LLMs) into Siri to provide not only a more ChatGPT-style conversational experience but one that can automate complex tasks. 

If you’ve yet to use ChatGPT, Gemini, Microsoft CoPilot or any other GenAI-powered chat assistant, you might not understand just how transformative this could be to the iOS experience. 

Galaxy AI on Galaxy S24 Ultra
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

Even if we go by what Samsung’s Galaxy AI brings to the S24 range – real-time translation in phone calls, rewriting texts and emails, transcribing and summarising voice recordings and even using generative fill to edit photos, all without the need for an internet connection – it could completely change the way you use your iPhone. 

Of course, with Apple being Apple, I have no doubt that it’s working on entirely new ways to utilise GenAI that we’ve not seen until now.

Apple tends to reveal its big yearly updates at its developer-focused WWDC event which usually takes place in early June, so we don’t have that long to see what Apple has been working on for iOS 18 for ourselves. I just hope it’s as exciting as it’s rumoured to be. 

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