Tim Cook, chief executive officer of Apple Inc., listens during a Bloomberg Technology television interview at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Jose, California, U.S., on Monday, June 5, 2017

Amid rumors that OpenAI has its own voice assistant in the works, Apple is reportedly planning a significant update for Siri. The tech giant plans to integrate advanced generative AI technology akin to ChatGPT into its oft-forgotten digital assistant, according to reporting by The New York Times. This shift from Apple’s top executives came about, the Times says, after they were wowed by ChatGPT. The information in the Times article is from “people familiar with the company’s work, who didn’t have permission to speak publicly.”

Around the same time the Times‘ story was published, a related report saying that Apple is close to finalizing a deal with OpenAI itself came to light.

Historically, Siri has struggled with maintaining conversations and understanding context in queries — limitations that newer AI like ChatGPT and Google’s Gemini seem to have overcome. Siri was first introduced in 2011 and has not received a major update since. The revamp of Siri is part of a broader initiative within Apple to advance its AI capabilities, as we saw at Apple’s iPad announcement event earlier this week.

This update is expected to be unveiled at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June. Expected upgrades include an enhanced Siri that can be more conversational, and the ability to use context from one request to make it easier to understand another (i.e., understanding, according to the Times, that “if someone asked for the weather in San Francisco and then said, ‘What about New York?’ that user wanted another forecast”).

Additionally, Apple also plans to process a portion of AI-related data on-device rather than in cloud-based servers, which reduces costs.

To bolster its AI efforts, Apple has redirected resources, notably halting a $10 billion autonomous car project. It also helps that Apple has an extensive device network and advanced semiconductor technology which will no doubt enhance Siri’s functionality compared to the likes of ChatGPT and Gemini.

As noted in the Times’ piece, this would be Apple’s most ambitious reorganization in almost a decade. A major fear of Apple’s top execs is reportedly that the AI competitors of iOS could eventually come to dominate in the smartphone software market. Thus, the company’s success will largely depend on its ability to seamlessly integrate these generative AI systems without compromising the core experiences Apple users rely on.

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