iPhone users will have to wait much longer than usual for an important update

Close up of an iPhone in someone's hand with the Siri screen border activated in iOS 18
The new version of Siri will feature this colorful screen border to show you when its running on your iPhone. (Image credit: Apple)

iPhone users will have to wait a longer time than usual to see one of the phone's most important features receive a significant upgrade. Is it worth the wait?

Apple announced iOS 18 at WWDC 2024 alongside Apple Intelligence, its new AI platform. Apple Intelligence includes a mix of generative AI features and upgrades to Siri, Apple's AI assistant, which was long overdue for an update. 

Unfortunately, that update is going to be even more overdue than expected. 

Here's a look at how long the Siri update in iOS 18 is going to be delayed, why Apple is rolling out its AI features so gradually, and why iOS 18 will be worth the wait. 

A core part of iOS 18 won't launch until 2025

Screenshots from WWDC 2024 keynote

(Image credit: Apple)

On June 10, Apple announced a long-awaited overhaul to its Siri assistant during the keynote presentation of WWDC 2024. In the demo of the new-and-improved Siri, Apple executives showed off a colorful new screen border for Siri, on-screen awareness, stronger natural language processing, and better app integration. 

This update could finally make Siri a legitimately helpful assistant. In its current form, Siri's capabilities are fairly limited. It also frequently misunderstands questions and struggles to help with all but the most basic tasks. The introduction of Apple Intelligence motivated Apple to address those issues and finally give Siri a much-needed makeover. 

That's the good news. 

The bad news is that the new Siri version will likely not be in the initial release of iOS 18. On Sunday, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman reported that Apple won't launch the latest version of Siri until spring 2025. Gurman noted that Apple will release a developer beta with the Siri update in January 2025, but you need a paid Apple developer account to access that beta release. A spring 2025 public release would mean the Siri update will probably be part of iOS 18.4. 

This is disappointing news since a revamped version of Siri is one of the most exciting features of iOS 18. Apple has not announced the official release date for the first version of iOS 18, but based on its release date history, we're expecting Apple to release iOS on September 16 or 18. That means there could be a five- or more-month gap between when Apple launches iOS 18 and when it launches the new version of Siri. 

Will Apple's slow roll-out of Apple Intelligence be worth the wait?

Screenshots from WWDC 2024 keynote

(Image credit: Apple)

As much as I wish the new and improved Siri could be part of the initial iOS 18 launch, I still believe it will be worth the wait. We've known for a few weeks now that Apple's new AI features aren't all launching with the initial release of iOS 18, either. Apple will roll out Apple Intelligence in stages throughout late 2024 and into 2025. Considering the pivotal role of major AI updates in the new Siri upgrade, it's not surprising that this slow roll-out also applies to Siri. 

While it's difficult to say what's causing these delays, they likely have something to do with the complexity of creating well-functioning AI models and getting them to work fluidly with Apple's ecosystem. Apple also needs to ensure it is covering all its bases with security and privacy on Apple Intelligence, which will rely in part on data centers running M2 Ultra chips. 

Maybe you're considering upgrading your iPhone to make the most of these new AI features, or you're even an Android user considering jumping to iOS. If that's the case, don't let these delays discourage you. They don't necessarily indicate development issues or problems with Apple Intelligence or Siri. 

Assuming all of these new AI features work as Apple promises, they will be worth the wait for any fans of generative AI or anyone interested in trying out this tech in a private, secure way. The new version of Siri will be able to: 

  • Understand natural language better than previous versions
  • Understand follow-up questions and commands
  • Use vocal shortcuts
  • Remember personal context (i.e. remembering content from an email thread when asked for it)
  • Understand on-screen context (i.e. text messages)
  • Edit images in the Photos app

Those features could drastically improve Siri's functionality and bring it up to speed with competitors like Google's Gemini AI. On top of these Siri upgrades, Apple Intelligence will also bring various generative AI tools to the ecosystem, like image and text generation, AI-generated emojis, and private access to OpenAI's ChatGPT

Apple is offering all of these AI features with measures to ensure your data stays private. For instance, Apple Intelligence will run as many tasks on-device as possible and only use cloud computing when necessary. When cloud computing is required, it will go through Apple's new Private Cloud Compute service, allowing it to process AI tasks without storing or compromising personal data. 

That means Apple devices could soon be the most private, secure way to access generative AI. It's a bit disappointing that we'll have to wait until 2025 for the complete experience, but it looks like the wait will be worth it. 

What's next?

We're expecting Apple to release the first version of iOS 18 in mid-September 2024, which means there could be a five or 6-month wait before Apple releases the new version of Siri, most likely in iOS 18.4. 

That's a bit of a letdown for those who were eagerly waiting for iOS 18's new AI features. However, Apple's slow rollout of its new AI platform and upgraded Siri assistant is to be expected since this is the first time Apple is bringing AI features of this scale to its devices. 

More details about iOS 18 and Apple Intelligence will be revealed over the next few months, leading up to the expected September release date. Until then, Laptop Mag will monitor new developments and rumors surrounding iOS 18, Siri, and Apple Intelligence, so stay tuned for more details and insights. 

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Stevie Bonifield
Freelance Writer

Stevie Bonifield is a freelance tech journalist specializing in keyboards, peripherals, gaming gear, and mobile tech. Outside of writing, Stevie loves indie games, photography, and building way too many custom keyboards