Springtime for Siri in Periphery

As expected, "New Siri" in 'Apple Intelligence' will be a 2025 thing...
What’s Next for the Apple Watch: Bigger Screens But a Similar Look
As the Apple Watch approaches its 10th birthday, the company is preparing a big update. Also: AirPods with cameras make their way back into the news, and Apple gets a board observer seat at OpenAI.

This week, Gurman brings a few tidbits about the next iteration of the Apple Watch, which, as previously rumored, sounds like it will have larger screens (on top of new chips). That would put the larger model close to the size of the Ultra screen. I love this screen size for me, but even now, a couple years post-launch, when I show it to people, they think it will be far too large for their wrists. On the flip side, the smaller model seems to be preferred by many women thanks to that smaller screen size. Curious how Apple will handle such a transition. Gurman notes that the body itself will be thinner, so that might help a bit, but still seems like it could be an issue?

Anyway, far more interesting:

Apple’s big Siri upgrade should arrive next spring. Siri’s new capabilities are bound to be a highlight of the Apple Intelligence rollout. For the first time, the digital assistant will have precise control over actions inside of Apple’s apps. That means you can ask Siri to, say, edit a photo and then ship it off to a friend. It also will have the ability to understand what you’re looking at on your display, helping Siri determine what you want to do based on the context. But neither of those upgrades will be ready when Apple Intelligence launches this fall, as I’ve previously reported.

Instead, I’m told, Siri features are likely to go into beta testing for developers in January and then debut publicly around the springtime — part of an iOS 18.4 upgrade that’s already in the works. Other Siri features, such as a new design and ChatGPT integration, will be coming later this year. As I wrote last week, Apple Intelligence also will be coming to the Vision Pro, but not until next year. Anyone looking to use the features on Apple’s home devices, meanwhile, is out of luck. They’ll have to wait until the company introduces its AI-powered table-top robot, something I’ve been reporting on for several months.

This is not surprising, and was expected, but it's good to get an actual timeframe. It sounds like some features of 'Apple Intelligence' will be available with iOS 18 in the fall, but the most tangible and highly touted (and important) of those features, "New Siri", won't even be available in beta testing until early 2025. And then will launch in the spring, perhaps just ahead of next year's WWDC.1

Again, not surprising, but it shows just how early Apple previewed this, clearly feeling pressure to do so from the market. This is in stark contrast to "we talk about products when they're ready". Obviously, Apple has been drifting further and further from that mentality in recent years, but this is pushing the extreme.

Still, it's good to hear that the ChatGPT integration will be available sooner. That seems like it should be a straightforward thing to add, though it also presumably relies on whatever sort of routing system Apple has built for their Intelligence service (to determine if something should be handled locally, in the cloud, or by ChatGPT). It also sounds like the timing of that launch may coincide with Apple Fellow Phil Schiller getting a board observer role at OpenAI. Still wild to me.

One more thing: it sounds like the new Apple Watches won't have access to Apple Intelligence, per Gurman. Again, not hugely surprising given the power/processing required to run the service, but it's a little strange to launch a new marquee product without access. I guess the general delays help with this narrative a bit. Perhaps the 2025 – the actual 10 year anniversary of the launch – Apple Watches will feature it...

1 At least "Genmoji" will be here sooner! Well, presumably as nothing is yet in any of the iOS 18 developer builds.