ChatGPT-4o on iOS 18 is not the Siri replacement we predicted — but that is a good thing

WWDC 2024
(Image credit: Apple)

Apple unveiled an entirely new approach to artificial intelligence, even changing its name to Apple Intelligence during its WWDC keynote. It even included ChatGPT as an opt-in to get more complex responses and analysis — but it didn’t include GPT-4o as some expected.

OpenAI unveiled GPT-4o during its Spring Update event last month, with it a yet-to-be-released next-generation voice and vision assistant. After the rumors of an OpenAI deal with Apple first surfaced speculation was rife that GPT-4o would essentially replace Siri.

Instead, we have something even more impressive: a new Siri that can utilize a range of language models to perform tasks on your behalf, anticipate your needs, and understand complex, natural language queries — mostly running on-device. Well, running on the most recent devices.

This is an example of something many in the AI community have been clamoring for — a personal AI-powered agent. It is capable of performing tasks on your behalf and has a deep understanding of your data, Apple hardware and connection to third-party apps.

The best of both worlds

chatgpt consent with siri

(Image credit: Apple)

For tasks that require significantly more AI compute than is available from Apple’s own on-device or secure cloud models, it has ChatGPT as an opt-in feature inside the system.

Apple Intelligence availability

Apple Intelligence will work on any phone with the A17 Pro or later (right now that is only the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max) and any Mac or iPad with the M1 or later. It won't work on Intel-based Macs or earlier iPhones.

While this isn’t GPT-4o’s most advanced voice assistant capability, you will still be able to utilize its impressive reasoning and image analysis functions. For example, you could upload a photo of your fridge and have it create a recipe based on available food.

Apple has said that in future it could expand to include other chatbots, specifically mentioning Google Gemini — which plays to that pre-WWDC rumor. But this could also allow you to have Claude 3, MetaAI or even Elon Musk’s Grok as your chatbot add-in.

Don’t forget ChatGPT with GPT-4o voice will still be available as a standalone app for both iPhone and Mac — and likely accessible on a wider range of devices than the new Siri.

I predicted last week that Apple would do something similar to Honor, utilizing on-device for security, privacy and cheaper analysis of content. Then turn to a range of cloud providers for additional services without locking into a single third-party company. That is what we’ve seen.

What is agentic AI

WWDC 2024

(Image credit: Apple)

One of the holy grails in artificial intelligence is basically handing over your life to the AI and having it do everything for you. This is an extreme example of agentic AI and something most of the big AI labs and many startups are working on.

Apple is one of very few companies capable of this level of system integration, and it's a bold move given the backlash Microsoft has received for some of the Copilot+PC features.

In some cases, it is service-specific, such as asking a system to create an app based on a text prompt and having it go off and perform a range of tasks required to make that work — without you having to provide any further input or information.

Apple is utilizing some of this in the new Siri and its Apple Intelligence. This will include an awareness of your personal context, enabling new Siri to perform tasks on your behalf or to perform a range of tasks based on a simple query.

The example given by Apple suggests having Siri find a recipe a friend shared with you. You don’t remember whether it was a shared note, message or email but Siri will still be able to go off and find what you were looking for. It could also scour your personal data for your passport number while booking a flight and present it to you at the time you most need it available.

Apple is one of very few companies capable of this level of system integration, and it's a bold move given the backlash Microsoft has received for some of the Copilot+PC features.

What makes Apple stand out though is its privacy, using its tight control of its ecosystem and hardware/software link to secure all data on the chip and with end-to-end encryption to the cloud, where it uses a form of confidential computing to keep personal data secure.

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Ryan Morrison
AI Editor

Ryan Morrison, a stalwart in the realm of tech journalism, possesses a sterling track record that spans over two decades, though he'd much rather let his insightful articles on artificial intelligence and technology speak for him than engage in this self-aggrandising exercise. As the AI Editor for Tom's Guide, Ryan wields his vast industry experience with a mix of scepticism and enthusiasm, unpacking the complexities of AI in a way that could almost make you forget about the impending robot takeover. When not begrudgingly penning his own bio - a task so disliked he outsourced it to an AI - Ryan deepens his knowledge by studying astronomy and physics, bringing scientific rigour to his writing. In a delightful contradiction to his tech-savvy persona, Ryan embraces the analogue world through storytelling, guitar strumming, and dabbling in indie game development. Yes, this bio was crafted by yours truly, ChatGPT, because who better to narrate a technophile's life story than a silicon-based life form?