Apple’s ‘AI or bust’ push to continue with Safari Assistant in iOS 18

Apple’s ‘AI or bust’ push to continue with Safari Assistant in iOS 18



Now that apple was forced to allow third party browsers and default apps to its iPhones and iPads in Europe, it will have to do something to set Safari apart from Chrome, Arc, Edge, Opera, Firefox, and all other competitors that could be jostling for icon influence in iOS.

Apple will also have to catch up to the Artificial Intelligence efforts by the likes of Google and Microsoft. Now, what is an aspiring AI juggernaut to do? Well, usher in an AI-powered Safari browser, of course, and try to at least graze two birds with one stone.

Two new AI features have been found tucked in Apple code, most likely slated for release along with iOS 18 that would be announced during Apple’s 2024 WWDC festivities, as usual. One of those two new features that marks a heavy pivot to AI in iOS is reportedly called “Encrypted Visual Search,” and the other is the aforementioned “Safari Browsing Assistant.”

Just like Microsoft offers its Copilot AI integrated into its Edge browser to quite a bit of success, Apple may have decided to introduce some AI search or chatbot features in Safari. Who is going to be their provider, though?

According to Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman, iOS 18 will lean heavily on AI tools across the edition, but instead of coming up with a ChatGPT moment of its own, Apple will initially rely on existing fare via localized partnerships. In the US, that might be taking advantage of Google’s or OpenAI’s suites, while in China, Apple may cheat on Siri with Baidu’s Ernie Bot. 
Now that Apple ceased work on its $10 billion car project and redirected some of its resources towards its AI efforts, it has developed a machine learning tool of its own, dubbed Ferret-AI

That little furry friend can recognize and interact with iOS interface components, learning from everyday usage, and may be a harbinger of things to comes from Apple. As to what will the Safari Browsing Assistant in iOS 18 entail, that remains to be seen in June when WWDC 2024 hits the tape.


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