At WWDC in June, Apple will as ever announce new versions of its operating systems for iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch. (There might also be an update for Vision Pro, but that’s another story.) This is all very important for software developers, who will be learning about the new system features they can use for their apps, but it can be a little dry for device owners. Except that this year, the whole thing looks like being altogether more exciting.
In the Q&A section of his latest newsletter, Bloomberg reporter Mark Gurman describes the imminent iOS 18 software update for the iPhone as potentially that device’s biggest ever.
“I’m told that the new operating system is seen within the company as one of the biggest iOS updates–if not the biggest–in the company’s history,” he said.
What that bigness will actually entail is less clear at this point. Gurman pledged to reveal more in due course but kept things brief in this exchange. Fortunately, however, we already know quite a lot about the ways in which iOS 18 will be a Very Big Deal, or as Gurman phrased it back in November, “ambitious and compelling.” The support of RCS cross-platform messaging is expected to arrive in iOS 18 and will make a huge difference in interactions between iPhone and Android owners. Apple is only doing this reluctantly, but as we’ve explained elsewhere, this is a win for pretty much everyone else, including Apple fans.
As for the hapless Siri, which we’ve criticized again and again and again, the launch of iOS 18 could be the moment it finally starts punching its weight. The company may appear to have been neglecting Siri for years, but behind the scenes, it has been working on a major AI strategy push which is expected to bear fruit in improved Siri performance, among other things. Generative AI in particular could be a game-changer for the beleaguered voice assistant.
There are still more than four months until June, and pre-launch software products can change at much shorter notice than hardware because of the lack of a supply chain. In other words, Apple’s plans could yet change. But most pundits expect WWDC in June to be a big deal for iPhone owners. The “if” seems settled, and we are fascinated to learn more about the “how.”