Biggest upgrade coming to your iPhone this year might be built by Google

a iphone pro with the google gemini logo in the background

Apple is in talks to license Google's Gemini AI to power some of the incoming features planned for iOS 18 later this year

Aaron Brown

By Aaron Brown

Published: 24/03/2024

- 05:30

Apple is in talks to license Google Gemini for its upcoming iOS 18 upgrade

  • Generative AI features planned for iOS 18 could be powered by Gemini
  • An agreement could be announced in June at Apple's developer conference
  • Apple had previously spoken with OpenAI to license its ChatGPT system

Apple has teased that Artificial Intelligence (AI) will play a seismic role in the next major upgrade coming to iPhone owners worldwide. Earlier this year, CEO Tim Cook confirmed that AI will be "a huge opportunity" for Apple, with many analysts interpreting the comments as a sneak peek of what to expect in iOS 18 — the next operating system upgrade due to launch for iPhone later this year.

However, a new report suggests the cutting-edge AI coming to Apple devices might actually be built by the engineers at Google. Yes, the US search firm behind Android — the mobile operating system that powers Samsung, Google Pixel, Nokia, Xiaomi, and dozens of other rivals to the iPhone — is in talks with Apple to license its Gemini artificial intelligence engine, according to Bloomberg.

The negotiations could see Google Gemini used in a number of new AI-driven features planned for iPhone software this year, sources familiar with the discussions told Bloomberg. The terms and branding of an AI agreement or how it would be implemented have not been decided.

It's extremely unlikely that any deal between the two technology behemoths, each valued over $1.5 trillion, would be announced until June, when Apple plans to hold its annual conference of developers, known as WWDC.

screenshots of the google gemini AI system on a phone and a desktop PC

Google's Gemini is a suite of Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems, including generative image creation


Apple recently held talks with ChatGPT-maker OpenAI about using its model, according to the report. Microsoft already has a close relationship with OpenAI and uses its AI model to power Copilot— an optional extra that can rewrite paragraphs in Microsoft Word, dream-up PowerPoint presentation slides, and execute formulae in Microsoft Excel for you.

Copilot is also baked into Windows 11 and automates a number of common tasks.

A potential deal between Apple and Google could help the latter expand its AI services to more than 2 billion active Apple devices, boosting its chances to catch-up with OpenAI. It could also help allay investor fears about the sluggish roll-out of Artificial Intelligence by Apple, which has lost the crown of the world's most valuable firm after a 10% decline in its shares this year.

The firms have a years-long partnership that makes Google the default search engine on Apple's Safari web browser, and this latest boardroom deal could also help parent company Alphabet to navigate fears that services like ChatGPT threaten its dominance in search.

However, any agreement would invite scrutiny from United States regulators, who have previously sued Google on grounds it unlawfully stifled competition by paying billions of dollars to Apple to maintain its monopoly in search.

"This strategic partnership is a missing piece in the Apple AI strategy and combines forces with Google for Gemini to power some of the AI features Apple is bringing to market," said Daniel Ives, an analyst at Wedbush. "This is a major win for Google to get onto the Apple ecosystem and have access to the golden installed base of Cupertino with clearly a major licence fee attached to this," he said, referring to Apple's California headquarters.

Several of Apple’s biggest rivals have made a series of announcements around generative AI – Samsung and Google have made the technology a key component in their latest phone launches. Using the Gemini AI from Google, Samsung Galaxy S24, S24+, and Galaxy S24 Ultraowners are able to remove people from the background of photos, adjust the size and placement of the subject, summarise notes into bullet points, rewrite emails to alter the tone of voice, and translate incoming voice calls in real-time.

Android rival Honor also placed AI at the forefront of its latest smartphones, stating that its software can anticipate your next action and begin to load the correct apps in the background to speed up everything.


According to sources speaking with Bloomberg, Apple is planning to use its own homegrown AI models for some new capabilities in its upcoming iOS 18, but will rely on a partner to power generative AI functionality, like dreaming up an entirely-new image or writing an essay ...all based on a simple written prompt from the user.

Google boss Sundar Pichai was forced to apologise for errors made by its Gemini AI image creator last month.

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