We’ve repeated this many times here before, but there are a few truisms that can be said for any future iPhone: it will have the fastest processor, the best camera and at least one unique feature you can’t get on any other iPhone.
That’s as true now as it will be in 2020. But it’s time to add one more item to the list: intelligence.
As important as processing power and superior optics are now, machine learning, artificial intelligence and personalization will also be paramount to future iPhones and iOS.
So much so that Apple is reportedly designing a new iPhone chip specifically for AI. This would not only help drive future advancements, it would do so while staying in line with Apple’s preference to keep Ai-powered personalization features on-device in the interest of protecting user privacy,
The smartest Siri ever
One obvious outlet for all this extra AI-processing power is Siri, which has long been the heart of Apple’s AI efforts. By iOS 14, Siri will not only be smarter and powerful than ever, the assistant will play a pivotal role across Apple’s entire operating system.
The advent of “Type to Siri” in iOS 11 — for now an accessibility setting — suggests Apple is laying the groundwork for even more text-based Siri interactions. This could be implemented through a dedicated channel in Messages (a la Google Assistant) or (less likely) via a dedicated Siri app. Either way, this opens up interesting possibilities for Siri’s assistant capabilities.
Instead of just asking Siri to remind you about something, you could send the assistant photos or text notes of things you want to keep track of. SIri could even use this channel to proactively send you information you need to know, based on what it already knows about you and information from Apple’s native apps like Maps, Mail and Calendar.
Just as Google can send reminders on when to leave for work based on current traffic conditions, Siri will be able to surface reminders about your day based on data from Apple’s apps. Besides calendar reminders, this could extend to Mail (reminding you to respond to messages from VIP contacts), Photos (don’t forget to share last weekend’s party photos with your friends!), and daily alarms (Siri could automatically turn alarms on or off based on your calendar).
In this way, it’s easy to see how Siri shifts from the capable, if only sometimes helpful, “assistant” we have today to a super intelligent force that subtly manages nearly every aspect of how you use your phone.
Everything is personalized
Siri isn’t the only way future versions of iOS will be smarter. Artificial intelligence will permeate the entire system in so many ways that even simple tasks will reach new levels of personalization.
There are small signs of this even now. Spotlight Search recommends four or eight “Siri App Suggestions” based on your recent habits (again, the fact that this feature, even now, bears Siri’s name is telling). But this feature is just a warmup for what Apple really has planned.
By iOS 14, instead of merely recommending apps in Spotlight Search, iOS will be able to take a much more active role in determining what apps and actions are put in front of you at any given moment.
This could change large portions of your entire home screen. Instead of a grid of apps you’ve manually selected for that area, iOS will automatically put certain apps in front of you, based on what you’re most likely to want to use in that moment.