Apple's Project Greymatter will bring big iOS 18 AI upgrades that help people every single day, not just cool tech demos they'll forget exist

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As the days tick down to what is set to be one of the most hotly-anticipated WWDC events in recent years, Apple AI is very much the talk of the town. We've long been told to expect some new AI and generative AI features when Apple announces iOS 18 on June 10, and while the company is yet to confirm just about anything, we're starting to learn more and more about what we should be looking forward to.

Recent reports have pointed to some of the upgrades that iPhone owners can look forward to, including a new one that suggested Apple has signed a deal with OpenAI that could see ChatGPT power a future iteration of Siri. But in a world where companies announce flashy new AI features for platforms seemingly on a weekly basis, all signs currently point to Apple taking a different approach.

Rather than adding new AI features to iOS 18 just because they make for a good on-stage demonstration is something many a company has fallen foul of, but Apple's approach is different. If all the reports turn out to be accurate, Apple's AI focus will instead look to make smaller, perhaps more iterative improvements to the overall experience that will make bigger changes to the way people use their iPhones daily. And that's a much better approach for the billions of people using iPhones today — not just those who watch a keynote and want to see features they'll forget exist a few months down the line.

Real features for real people

This latest report comes via AppleInsider's Marko Zivkovic and cites the famous "people familiar with the matter" when discussing what Apple has in store for iPhone owners. We've already been told to expect new AI-powered upgrades to Notes, Safari, and other apps but this latest report adds more context — including one AI-powered feature that has the potential to change the way people deal with the non-stop barrage of notifications.

Over the years Apple has added features designed to make it easier for people to manage the notifications they receive, culling the ones that they don't and forcing apps to ask permission before sending any at all. But notifications are a necessary evil for many of us, and this report suggests Apple will use Project Greymatter to make things more bearable. Project Greymatter is thought to be an overarching plan to focus AI improvements on making people's everyday lives better.

"In pre-release versions of Apple's operating systems, the company has been working on a notification summarization feature known as 'Greymatter Catch Up,'" the report explains. "The feature is tied to Siri, meaning that users will be able to request and receive an overview of their recent notifications through the virtual assistant."

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iPad Pro M4 | $999 $949 at Amazon

The newest and most powerful Pro models are also here and they're designed with Apple's Al revolution in mind. The M4 chip is crazy-fast and ready to chew through Al tasks, and it's already available with a $50 discount.

The report goes on, adding that "Siri is expected to receive significantly updated response generation capabilities, through a new smart response framework, as well as Apple's on-device LLM."  That will reportedly make Siri better at "generating replies and summaries" while taking into account "entities such as people and companies, calendar events, locations, dates, and much more."

Similar user-focused features will include new AI-powered transcription capabilities for apps like Notes, as previously reported, while we're told that Siri could gain "more natural" voices and improved text-to-speech capabilities. This could tie into a recent OpenAI unveiling of improved ChatGPT capabilities including a conversational AI feature that was mightily impressive.

All of this should ensure that whatever Apple announces at WWDC next month will make it easier for people to use their iPhones while giving them new, more capable tools in the process. In a world where companies have a history of producing features that look great but, ultimately, are rarely used, that's a refreshing change.

Roll on June 10.

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Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.