iOS 18 could finally make Siri useful again thanks to rumored ChatGPT deal

An iPhone on an orange background showing Siri
(Image credit: Apple)

Rumors of a partnership between Apple and OpenAI have been swirling for some time now, but it looks like the two companies have finally inked a deal to bring ChatGPT functionality to iOS 18 and other Apple operating systems.

According to a recent The Information report (via AppleInsider), OpenAI has agreed to help the iPhone maker bring AI features to its various platforms, and although details of the deal are still under wraps, we’re willing to bet that Apple’s Siri voice assistant could soon be overhauled with OpenAI’s ChatGPT-powering large language model (LLM).

What does that mean, exactly? It’s hard to say for sure right now – Apple will likely tell us more at WWDC 2024 in June – but it seems safe to expect that a new-and-improved Siri will use the power of ChatGPT to answer voice-based queries in a more responsive, accurate and nuanced manner than it’s currently capable of offering.

This isn’t to say that Siri is about to become ChatGPT in all but name. Apple has always seen – and, we suspect, still sees – Siri as an assistant rather than a chatbot, and the company will surely continue to prioritize privacy over do-it-all functionality.

But the on-device processing behind Siri in its current guise just isn’t up to scratch in 2024. As such, this reported deal could see Apple harness OpenAI’s ChatGPT LLM to boost Siri’s question-answering ability in a way that doesn’t compromise user privacy.

Siri and ChatGPT

(Image credit: Apple / OpenAI / Future)

Think of it like this: right now, Siri is a fairly useless middle-man between the user and Google. You ask Siri a question, and it presents you with a list of popular Google search results that may or may not give you the answer you’re looking for. Crucially, though, Siri doesn’t tell Google that it’s you who asked the question. 

A ChatGPT-powered Siri could work in much the same way, but instead of returning a list of Google search results for you to manually sift through, it could anonymously ask ChatGPT for a simple, succinct answer to your query, which it then passes along to you.

But wait! “How is this solution different from the voice-compatible ChatGPT app, which is already available on iPhones?” I hear you ask. Well, as good as ChatGPT's baked-in Voice function is, it’s not embedded into your iPhone in the same way that Siri is. This reported deal between OpenAI and Apple could rectify that hiccup, combining the benefits of assistant and chatbot in a way that maintains Apple’s signature style and simplicity.

The deal would seemingly benefit OpenAI too. A recent study revealed that only a tiny proportion of people with access to ChatGPT use it on a daily basis, and while that lack of uptake is likely down to questions over accuracy rather than accessibility, there’s no denying that baking generative AI tools into consumer products would encourage more users to adopt them in their daily lives.

As mentioned, we’re likely to hear Apple shed more light on its reported OpenAI partnership at WWDC 2024, which is due to kick off on June 10. For info on how to tune into the hotly-anticipated developer conference, check out our how to watch WWDC 2024 guide.

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Axel Metz
Phones Editor

Axel is TechRadar's UK-based Phones Editor, reporting on everything from the latest Apple developments to newest AI breakthroughs as part of the site's Mobile Computing vertical. Having previously written for publications including Esquire and FourFourTwo, Axel is well-versed in the applications of technology beyond the desktop, and his coverage extends from general reporting and analysis to in-depth interviews and opinion.  Axel studied for a degree in English Literature at the University of Warwick before joining TechRadar in 2020, where he then earned an NCTJ qualification as part of the company’s inaugural digital training scheme.