iOS 18 and macOS 15 could be the biggest upgrades in years

An iPhone 15 Pro Max against an abstract multi-colored retro background.
(Image credit: Gerald Lynch / Future / Apple)

Despite an apparent one-week pause on the development of all of Apple’s next major software upgrades to fix bugs, that’s not stopping the ambitious aims the company has for what’s coming up.

According to Mark Gurman’s ‘Power On’ newsletter over at Bloomberg, the upcoming iPhone 16 “won’t have any major advances next year”. So Apple is making sure iOS 18, alongside macOS 15 and its other software upgrades, all offer some big features.

Senior management at Apple has allegedly described the upcoming updates as “ambitious and compelling, with major new features and designs, in addition to security and performance improvements.” After a few years of modestly-sized updates to iOS, the next version of the iPhone and iPad software could be “relatively groundbreaking”.

iOS 18, codenamed ‘Crystal’, and macOS 15, codenamed ‘Glow’, reached their first major milestone last month, called M1, which is not to be confused with the M1 Apple silicon chip. However, Head of Software Engineering Craig Federighi decided on a ‘code-freeze’ last week so that engineers could fix several bugs that had been found recently.

With that now seemingly lifted, work has begun on the next milestone, called M2, which will begin to refine these new features that could make 2024 an exciting year for iOS, macOS, and more. But what could these features be?

What could ‘compelling’ really mean? — iMore’s take

MacWhisper searching for text

(Image credit: iMore)

If I were to think back to major iOS releases in recent years that made a big impact, the standout would have to be iOS 14. That release in 2020 enabled us to place widgets as well as apps on the Home Screen. There’s also the overhaul that iOS 7 brought with its flat design back in 2013, a design overhaul led by Jony Ive. 

For iOS 18 and next year’s other software upgrades, however, I believe these ‘compelling’ changes could involve AI, rather than design. Microsoft and Google have already implemented AI features into services like Google Docs and Windows 11, perhaps Apple’s take on this in its own products and services is what could make these software upgrades so compelling.

I’ve already spoken at length about how MacWhisper uses AI to accurately transcribe interviews and podcasts — and now, as Apple is seemingly working on its own take of AI, a bunch of its apps could do something similar, and use this technology for good.

Imagine Apple Music giving you an AI-generated DJ voiced by Siri, which changes depending on your location or the time of day. Or perhaps the Mail app could use AI to give you some optional responses to certain messages, while automatically moving events and reminders into Apple’s Calendar app.

Developers are already using AI as a tool for something good, like the aforementioned MacWhisper. Perhaps Apple can take this further, and make iOS 18, macOS 15, and the rest of its software use AI as a tool to help its users.

Regardless, we’ll likely find out what these features are at WWDC, expected to be held at Apple Park in June next year.

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Daryl Baxter
Features Editor

Daryl is iMore's Features Editor, overseeing long-form and in-depth articles and op-eds. Daryl loves using his experience as both a journalist and Apple fan to tell stories about Apple's products and its community, from the apps we use everyday to the products that have been long forgotten in the Cupertino archives.

Previously Software & Downloads Writer at TechRadar, and Deputy Editor at StealthOptional, he's also written a book, 'The Making of Tomb Raider', which tells the story of the beginnings of Lara Croft and the series' early development. He's also written for many other publications including WIRED, MacFormat, Bloody Disgusting, VGC, GamesRadar, Nintendo Life, VRV Blog, The Loop Magazine, SUPER JUMP, Gizmodo, Film Stories, TopTenReviews, Miketendo64 and Daily Star.