iOS 18 is expected to be unveiled at WWDC 2024 on June 10, months before Apple rolls out its next major software update to eligible iPhone models. While the company is yet to offer any details related to iOS 18, analysis of backend code on Apple’s servers has revealed that the company could be working on two new AI features that could arrive with the upcoming update. These include an AI-powered ‘browsing assistant’ for Safari that could bring Apple’s browser on par with competing applications.

In a post on X (formerly Twitter) developer Nicolás Álvarez (@nicolas09F9) states that he discovered references to two features on Apple’s backend code. The first one — Safari browsing assistant — that sounds similar to generative AI assistants that are capable of analysing and summarising web pages, like Copilot on Microsoft Edge, or Arc Browser.

The second feature spotted by the developer is called Encrypted visual search, which is already a feature offered by Spotlight, as the developer points out. It is currently unclear whether iOS 18 will include a more advanced (and secure) version of the Visual Look Up feature that can automatically identify plants, pet breeds, and landmarks in Camera Roll images.

Álvarez explains that both these features will use an Oblivious HTTP gateway (a privacy protocol for forwarding encrypted HTTP messages) that will stop the company from identifying multiple requests as arriving from the same IP address. The developer previously speculated that Apple would use its iCloud Private Relay feature, which requires a monthly subscription to iCloud+ or Apple One.

Apple is yet to reveal details of these purported AI features expected to arrive on its upcoming operating system update for eligible iPhone models. The company is expected to unveiled iOS 18 alongside macOS 15 and other operating system updates for various Apple products at WWDC 2024, which begins on June 10, and we can expect to learn more about these AI features during the WWDC keynote event in a couple of months.

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