The speculation comes from the well-known leaker Revegnus on X (formerly Twitter), who claims that "Apple is currently using LLM [large language model] to completely revamp Siri into the ultimate virtual assistant" and that "the first product is expected to be unveiled at WWDC 2024".
According to the leaks, Apple is preparing to develop Siri "into Apple's most powerful killer AI app" and plans "for it to be standard on the iPhone 16 models and onwards". This suggests that a next-gen Siri may need new dedicated hardware, which could leave older iPhones unable to access its most powerful features.
Current iPhones like the iPhone 15 Pro already have powerful chips like the A17 Pro, which are capable of powering some AI-powered tasks. The forthcoming Journal app, for example, is coming to iOS 17 soon and "uses on-device machine learning to create personalized suggestions to inspire a user's journal entry", according to Apple.
But the suggestion from these new rumors is that Apple is planning to give Siri a much bigger overhaul with more far-reaching powers. And this is backed up by Samsung's recent musings about Galaxy AI, which suggest that on-device AI will be the next big smartphone battleground in 2024.
Samsung just revealed an on-device LLM called Gauss, and says that a new 'AI Live Translate Call' feature will soon "give users with the latest Galaxy AI phone a personal translator whenever they need it". This will be integrated into your compatible phone's native call feature and will apparently serve up real-time audio and text translations.
That sounds pretty similar to iOS 17's Live Voicemail feature, but the wider point is that Samsung is planning to go big with on-device AI, because it means "private conversations never leave your phone". And as these new rumors suggest, a similar approach for a new Siri would chime very nicely with Apple's strong focus on privacy.
The next big smartphone battleground
Rumors that Apple is planning to reboot Siri with on-device AI may still be in their early stages, but they also make a lot of sense – and with Samsung recently going public with its new Gauss LLM, a launch for Apple's new voice assistant at WWDC 2024 doesn't sound far-fetched.
Plateauing hardware advances are one of the big reasons behind resulted in plummeting smartphone sales, which means Apple and Samsung are looking for a new differentiator. Cameras were once that feature, but now that the best camera phones are hitting peak evolution, it seems that on-device AI could be the next carrot to convince us to upgrade.
As Samsung has said, on-device AI – rather than cloud-based alternatives – offer a big privacy benefit compared to the likes of ChatGPT, as the data (in theory) never leaves your device. That means the main benefits of large language models – quickly summarizing data, understanding natural language, and generating data from prompts – can be applied to the sensitive data on our phones.
Exactly what these new powers will allow us to do on our phones is something we'll hear a lot more about in 2024. But if it makes Siri a more useful, reliable and conversational voice assistant, that would be a great start.
You might also like
Get daily insight, inspiration and deals in your inbox
Get the hottest deals available in your inbox plus news, reviews, opinion, analysis and more from the TechRadar team.
Mark is TechRadar's Senior news editor. Having worked in tech journalism for a ludicrous 17 years, Mark is now attempting to break the world record for the number of camera bags hoarded by one person. He was previously Cameras Editor at Trusted Reviews, Acting editor on Stuff.tv, as well as Features editor and Reviews editor on Stuff magazine. As a freelancer, he's contributed to titles including The Sunday Times, FourFourTwo and Arena. And in a former life, he also won The Daily Telegraph's Young Sportswriter of the Year. But that was before he discovered the strange joys of getting up at 4am for a photo shoot in London's Square Mile.