Industry sources are claiming Apple is planning on rolling out an enhanced Siri with the launch of the iPhone 8 in order to keep up with competing virtual assistants.

According to a report in DigiTimes, Apple is just one of a number of smartphone-makers looking to gain AI market share, including Samsung, Huawei, LG, and Xiaomi.

Apple’s big leap will likely come with the launch of the next generation iPhone expected in September. The report says Apple will launch an “enhanced Siri,” though not specifically mentioning the 2017 iPhone, it’s likely it will make an appearance sooner rather than later in order to keep pace with the competition.

Siri's iOS 10 updates were relatively minor, focusing mostly on some third-party integration

Siri’s iOS 10 updates were relatively minor, focusing mostly on some third-party integration

It also doesn’t drill deeply into what these enhancements might be, but it’s worth noting Apple acquired Turi, an Australian machine learning and AI startup back in 2016. The company’s approach looks to simplify the development of machine learning models, which is likely to make the capability of Siri to learn from its user stronger, simpler, and more widespread across iOS.

Apple acquired the company for $200 million in August last year.

The report doesn’t state whether the enhancements will be available only to next-gen iPhones or introduced via a software update. And it’s not an easy prediction. Minor Siri improvements are often pushed via software updates, but if we’re to see the implementation of new power or technology that’s beyond the capabilities of legacy devices, this improved Siri may not reach across iOS.

Competition

Meanwhile, competitors are teaming up to beat the key smartphone players; Apple and Samsung. Samsung previously bought Viv Labs, which was launched by the creators of Siri, and is liked to integrate that tech into the next Galaxy device. However, Google’s Assistant (featured in its iOS app Allo – read our review) which received praise during the launch of its Pixel phone last year might find its way onto LG devices.

Elsewhere, Huawei’s Mate 9 device is expected to house Amazon’s Alexa. Amazon, famously, has continuously struggled to fight its way into the smartphone market, though its standalone speaker has been praised following its launch for its voice-activated integration with various services.

Amazon's speaker with built-in virtual assistant has proved a surprise success

Amazon’s speaker with built-in virtual assistant has proved a surprise success

Finally, Xiaomi, China’s biggest smartphone-provider has adopted Google Assistant on its current devices. It’s expected that Xiaomi will launch its first devices in the US at some point in 2017.

Siri Speaker

Siri has only seen marginal updates in recent years, many of which simply keep it inline with other AI assistants, but with the explosion of machine learning, and Apple sitting somewhat on the fence in regards to producing its own ‘Siri Speaker’ it’s important, and sensible for Apple to make some major changes in its next software or hardware refresh.

Keep reading – Guide: What command’s does Siri understand?