Believe it or not, Apple didn’t always have Siri. Siri originally belonged to SRI International, which acquired Siri, Inc. in 2007. created. Then in April 2010, Apple acquired Siri, which became a key component of the iPhone 4S, launched in 2011.
Since then, Siri has continued to evolve at Apple, for better or worse. While Siri aims to make your life easier with hands-free use of your iPhone or Apple Watch, it’s not perfect. Siri often misunderstands you and makes ridiculous requests as a result, or is unable to do what you need it to do, sometimes due to a poor connection.
But that may change in the future, as Apple is investing “quite a bit” in generative AI, which is becoming increasingly popular, according to comments made by Tim Cook during the company’s fourth fiscal quarter earnings call.
Apple is definitely lagging a bit in the current AI race, as Google is currently in the lead with the Google Pixel 8 lineup. But Apple already uses AI for some features on iOS, like the Personal Voice Accessibility tool. Here are some AI features I’d love to see in an iPhone one day.
Ever since Google introduced the Magic Eraser tool with the Pixel 6 lineup, I’ve been in awe of it. This is the kind of functionality I always need when editing photos. But on my iPhone and iPad, I have to use a third-party app with that function because the built-in editor in the Photos app lacks it.
If Apple is really investing in generative AI, more photo editing tools need to be included in the list. I would love to have the ability to easily erase unwanted objects and people from the background of my photos in the native Photos app. It’s such a basic editing tool that it’s shocking Apple hasn’t implemented it already.
This year, Google has gone a step further with AI photo editing tools and now has Magic Editor and Best Tech features. The Magic Editor is like a souped-up version of the Magic Eraser, and you can manipulate objects even further, such as moving them to a different location in an image. Best Tech lets you swap faces from a series of similar photos so you can get a “perfect” shot.
Although I don’t want to rely too much on AI, Apple needs to step up its photo editing game in the native Photos app.
Make automated phone calls bearable
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Although I use a smartphone every day, there’s one thing I hate using it for: phone calls. I know; Ironic isn’t it?
One of the features Google has made possible on Pixel phones thanks to its Tensor chips are all the AI-powered features when you make actual phone calls. These Pixel Call Assist features include Wait Times, Hold for Me, Direct My Call, Hold for Me, and Call Screen.
Wait Times works on automated calling systems and will give you an estimate of how long you will be on hold based on the average length of a call with that business. There is even an option to have Google Assistant waiting for you while you go about your day and not waste your precious time.
Direct My Call can show call menu options directly on your screen, making it easier for you to reach the department you need. Call Screens uses AI to ask callers for their name and reason for calling, and calls can be automatically declined if the call is determined to be spam.
These are all incredibly useful features, especially if you don’t normally like to deal with phone calls. I hope that if Apple is taking AI seriously, it can consider adding some AI features to make the automated calling system tolerable.
a better siri
Right now, Siri is the digital assistant on all of Apple’s hardware. However, it is often easy to make fun of it because it rarely seems to understand or perform tasks properly. Personally, I only use Siri to set timers when cooking.
If Apple is going to take generative AI seriously, it really needs to consider making Siri far better than it currently is. One of the biggest problems with Siri is multi-language support. With iOS 17, Apple has made bilingual Siri a thing, but only with English and select Indic languages: Hindi, Telugu, Punjabi, Kannada, and Marathi.
Although it works for Indians, it is still just one group. There are a lot of people who speak Spanish, or German, or French, or Italian, or… well, you get the idea, along with English. This is currently frustrating if you don’t use one of the supported Indic languages as Siri will only be able to handle one language at a time. If it’s reading a message or speaking a street name that’s not in your primary language, the result is mixed gibberish.
But multiple language support isn’t the only thing Siri (mostly) fails at. Siri also has difficulty understanding people who suffer from speech and voice disorders like stuttering. Or it will put your reminders on the wrong list or just tell you, “I can’t do that,” even if you did the same thing the day before.
Siri is a big hit or miss, depending on what you use it for. Siri is a bit embarrassing compared to the competition. Hopefully, if Apple is truly investing in generative AI, we can keep our fingers crossed for a Siri that can actually do what it’s supposed to do and make our lives easier, not harder.
More intelligent communications and apps
Another useful thing that AI can help with is communication. In iOS 17, Apple introduced a new keyboard that uses a Transformer language learning model that learns from what you type to improve the accuracy of AutoCorrect.
The language learning model Apple is currently using for better autocorrect could have even bigger uses. For example, it can help generate or predict message responses based on what you typically send. As we already mentioned, it can also help improve Siri. And there’s even the possibility of AI-assist features in native Apple apps, like Pages and Keynote, or auto-generated playlists in Apple Music.
This is just the beginning
Whether you love it or hate it, AI is here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future. Although AI can potentially be misused by bad actors, it also has the potential to be incredibly useful and make life easier for the average person. And while it seems like a lot of smartphone designs and features have stagnated over the past few years, AI could be the next exciting thing.
Apple is already behind in the AI race on mobile, with Google having a clear lead so far. But if Apple is taking the generative AI thing seriously, there are a lot of fun possibilities for the future of iOS as a whole.