iPhone 16 AI Features May Be Powered by Google

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There’s little doubt that generative AI features are all the rage these days. From chatbots like ChatGPT to Adobe’s Firefly image generation, artificial intelligence seems to be baked in nearly everywhere.

Naturally, Apple is also spending billions to get into the game, and there’s reason to believe that iOS 18 will pack in some new AI features, and the iPhone 16 may even feature an AI-powered Siri.

However, while Apple has been investing heavily in research and development for generative AI and has reportedly even begun shifting resources over from its canceled Apple Car project, it’s still behind the curve when it comes to many of the most popular AI-powered features that other tech giants have been building into their smartphones for several years now.

Even Samsung has gotten a jump on Apple with the Galaxy AI suite in its new Galaxy S24 lineup, thanks to Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chip. The jury is still out on how many of those features are helpful versus gimmicky, but they’re still there, letting Android users do things many iPhone users can still only dream of.

Then there’s Google, which introduced its Magic Eraser AI photo editing tool on the 2021 Pixel 6. Its capabilities grew even more magical when the Pixel 8 lineup debuted last year, moving from something that could simply erase unwanted objects to a new Magic Editor that can actually let you move things around.

While Apple also has its share of machine-learning features integrated into the iPhone and iOS, most of these work more quietly behind the scenes to provide less flashy but more practical features like iOS 17’s Live Voicemail Transcription and Visual Lookup.

Still, Apple knows it needs to do more to get into the generative AI game. Rumors of an Apple GPT chatbot in the works make us hopeful for some much-needed Siri improvements, and Apple has reportedly been training its AI from news sources.

However, it also appears that Apple may realize it’s not ready to go it alone in the generative AI game — at least not yet.

iPhone AI by Google?

A new report from Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reveals that the next iPhone could be powered by Google’s Gemini artificial intelligence engine.

According to Gurman’s sources, Apple and Google have been in talks to build Gemini into the iPhone, “setting the stage for a blockbuster agreement that would shake up the AI industry.”

The proposed arrangement would build on the multi-billion dollar search partnership between the two companies, seeing Apple license Google’s generative AI models to power at least some of this year’s iPhone AI features.

Related: The 2024 Complete ChatGPT & Gemini AI Advanced E-Degree

Apple has also reportedly been in talks with OpenAI. Either way, it seems clear that Apple doesn’t consider its model ready for prime time, forcing it to shop around for alternatives if it wants to have something ready to launch this year.

Some of the capabilities Apple is planning for iOS 18 will still be based on its own AI models, but these will apparently be limited to those that run on the iPhone’s A-series chips. They’ll likely be similar to the ones we’re already familiar with, from the face and object recognition introduced in iOS 10 years ago to the new Journal Suggestions in iOS 17.2.

However, Apple also hopes to implement more powerful generative AI features, such as “creating images and writing essays based on simple prompts.” For those, it’s hoping to find a partner to handle the heavy lifting.

The good news is that it appears Apple will draw a clear line in the sand for those features powered by a third party like Google, clearly differentiating them from AI capabilities that are “woven into the operating system,” which Gurman says will still be “based on Apple’s homegrown models.” This will ensure that Apple can confidently ensure its customers’ privacy and security for tasks that run in the background.

Google’s Gemini already powers Samsung’s new Galaxy AI features, and some of these even carry the Google branding, such as Circle to Search by Google. How prominently Apple would allow Google’s brand to appear on the iPhone is an open question and undoubtedly one of the things the two companies are discussing as part of a potential deal, but getting Gemini onto two billion new active devices would be a major coup for Google either way.

[The information provided in this article has NOT been confirmed by Apple and may be speculation. Provided details may not be factual. Take all rumors, tech or otherwise, with a grain of salt.]

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