Apple’s iOS 18 Will Bring AI to Emoji, Photo Editing and Messages, Report Says

Apple has sent out invitations for its Worldwide Developers Conference, and will likely announce its plans around artificial intelligence technology at the event on June 10. One report suggests Apple is playing catchup more than breaking new ground this year. While the new software features will likely include adding AI to emoji, photo editing, messages and emails, the Cupertino company probably won’t attempt to announce anything truly revolutionary.

Apple’s AI plans will reportedly touch many parts of its software, including transcription for voice memos, faster search and a more conversational approach to the Siri voice assistant, according to a report in Bloomberg on Sunday. Many of these improvements, under the internal name of Project Greymatter, will reportedly rely on Apple’s version of a mini AI that works on device, independent of an internet connection.

The new AI capabilities will be arriving in the upcoming iOS 18 and MacOS 15, and the Apple Watch also will reflect the Siri upgrades, Bloomberg reported.

The report noted that, among other things, Apple’s AI will “create custom emojis on the fly, based on what users are texting.”  

Apple representatives didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

The new reports about Apple’s AI plans add details to what’s likely to be a year of the company racing to make up ground on the competition. In the year and a half since the startup OpenAI launched its ChatGPT service, hundreds of millions of people have flocked to it and similar technologies. Though AI hallucinations have made the technology unpredictably untrustworthy, many people have found it helpful for everything from helping to write emails at work to coding and even imagining recipes based on ingredients nearby.

Watch this: Apple to Talk AI in June: This WWDC Is a Big Deal

The resulting boom has led to billions of dollars of aggregated investment in startups and new AI technologies, including at Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook parent company Meta and Google parent Alphabet. (For hands-on CNET reviews of generative AI products including Gemini, Claude, ChatGPT and Microsoft Copilot, along with AI news, tips and explainers, see our AI Atlas resource page.)

Apple so far has been tight-lipped about its AI plans, but previous rumors have suggested the company intends to lean on its history of prioritizing privacy and security. Bloomberg said in its report that one way Apple will use these features to its benefit is by offering users a “smart recap” summary of what they’ve missed in notifications and text messages, as well as easily digestible breakdowns of webpages, news stories and documents.

Editors’ note: CNET used an AI engine to help create several dozen stories, which are labeled accordingly. The note you’re reading is attached to articles that deal substantively with the topic of AI but are created entirely by our expert editors and writers. For more, see our AI policy.

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Ian Sherr