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Siri-ChatGPT, iOS 18, Vision Pro, Watch

Skift Take

Generative AI is going directly into the iPhone. It helps with travel a little right now, but that’s only the beginning.

Siri will soon be able to help users plan trips. Not complicated tasks like booking flights — yet — but the AI-enhanced Siri will be able to pull context from across apps to plan dinner in time for an event, or share real-time flight information. 

For more complicated questions, Siri is getting a connection with ChatGPT. 

Those were some of the many travel-related announcements that Apple made Monday at its Worldwide Developers Conference, where the company shared updates for iOS 18, the Vision Pro VR headset, Apple Watch, and more.

See all the travel-related highlights below. 

Siri and Upgraded AI

Apple said it is focused on integrating AI throughout its operating systems with the announcement of Apple Intelligence.

“Thanks to the capabilities of Apple Intelligence, this year marks the start of a new era for Siri,” said Kelsey Peterson, director of machine learning and AI, during the event.

With the AI upgrade, Siri will be able to access details across the device’s Apple-owned apps. That means a user could ask for details on an upcoming booked flight, and Siri would cross-reference flight information from an email or text with real-time flight tracking info to provide the most updated arrival time. Siri could also find plans for a lunch reservation made through text, and then tell the user how long it would take to drive from the airport to the restaurant. 

Siri will be better at natural language conversations, even if the user makes a mistake. And an upgraded memory means that it will be better at answering questions based on context from previous questions, which was not possible before.

In Apple’s example for a hiking trip:

  • User: “What does the weather look like for tomorrow at Muir Beach — Oh wait, I meant Muir Woods.”
  • Siri: “The forecast is calling for clear skies in the morning near Muir Woods National Monument.”
  • User: “Create an event for a hike there tomorrow at 9 a.m.”
  • Siri: “Hike is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on June 11.” 

Siri would be able to take many more actions across apps. A user could ask Siri to show photos from a specific trip, for example. 

AI would also enable the prioritization of urgent emails and notifications, like a boarding pass or same-day dinner invitation.

Source: Apple

For more complicated questions, Siri is getting a connection with ChatGPT. Users would be able to ask Siri for anything that they can ask ChatGPT, including trip planning info, for free and without an account. Paid ChatGPT users can connect their accounts and access the premium features through Siri. Apple did not show how that works with specialized ChatGPT chatbots like Kayak’s.

The ChatGPT connection is coming later this year, with plans to add more AI models later.

“There are other artificial intelligence tools available that can be useful for tasks that draw on broad world knowledge or offer specialized domain expertise. We want you to be able to use these external models without having to jump between different tools, so we’re integrating them right into your experiences,” said Craig Federighi, senior vice president of software engineering, during the event.

iOS 18: New Travel Features for iPhone, iPad, iMac

The iOS 18 operating system for iPhone, iPad, and Mac is getting a bunch of new travel features this fall. 

  • The Maps app is getting a new function to help users on hiking trips. The app is getting topographic maps with trail networks and hiking routes, including for all 63 U.S. national parks. The maps can be saved to the user’s phone and accessed offline, and they come with turn-by-turn voice guidance. Users can also create their own hikes through the app.
  • With satellite connection capabilities starting with the iPhone 14, users can send and receive texts through iMessage or SMS even without service. 
  • An updated event ticket design includes venue maps and an event guide with restaurant recommendations. 
  • In what Apple said is its biggest photo upgrade ever, the app can automatically create albums for individual trips and save them under a new Trips section. 
  • Apple Wallet users can pay using rewards points. 
  • Mail app users can view snippets of messages grouped by sender. Apple used United Airlines as an example, with emails containing flight confirmations and reminders. 
  • Safari automatically detects and highlights important information on a page, like the address and phone number for a hotel. 
Source: Apple

Apple Vision Pro: Virtual Travel

Apple is releasing new tools to add options for virtual travel using the Vision Pro virtual reality headset.

That includes plans for more immersive videos — 180-degree, high resolution videos with spatial audio, meant to make the user feel that they are at a video’s location. There’s an extreme sports series coming in partnership with RedBull. Some other upcoming movies cover wildlife, adventure sports, tourism activities, and aerial destination views. 

For professional content creators, Blackmagic Design is releasing a special camera for making immersive videos, and Canon is releasing a new spatial lens for the EOS R7 camera.

The headset is also getting a capability to turn normal photos into three-dimensional spatial photos.

Vision Pro soon can be used on a moving train, not just airplanes. Meta announced similar plans for its own Quest headset this year.

The Apple Vision Pro was released this year.

Apple Watch

The new operating system for the Apple Watch is getting multiple new travel-related features:

  • A new translation app, which uses AI to for speech recognition and translation 
  • Lives updates for events and third-party apps like Uber
  • An alert meant to warn the user before it rains
Source: Apple

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