TECH

Apple said to be working on 'enhanced Siri' for the iPhone 8

Luke Peters demonstrates Siri, an application which uses voice recognition and detection on the iPhone 4S, outside the Apple store in Covent Garden, London October 14, 2011. (REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett)

Luke Peters demonstrates Siri, an application which uses voice recognition and detection on the iPhone 4S, outside the Apple store in Covent Garden, London October 14, 2011. (REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett)

Virtually every major smartphone vendor, from Apple to Samsung to LG to Huawei, is expected to release devices featuring artificial intelligence this year. Industry sources tell DigiTimes that virtual assistants will once again play a large role in the mobile industry in 2017, and that significant upgrades are on the way.

According to DigiTimes' sources, Apple is working on an "enhanced" version of its Siri virtual assistant for its next generation of iPhone devices. The report doesn't specify whether or not this new Siri will appear on the iPhone 8, but with all the talk of the sweeping changes and additional features Apple is planning to bring to the iPhone for its 10th anniversary, a more advanced Siri would make sense.

The report also points to Apple's acquisition of machine learning and AI startup Turi last August, which it says will allow the company to "further strengthen the functionality, as well as the market share" of Siri, which is now competing with the likes of Cortana, Alexa and Google Assistant.

As for Samsung, the new AI assistant Bixby is expected to be a standout feature of the Galaxy S8, even rumored to have its own button on the vendor's next flagship phone. Google will continue to push Google Assistant on to more devices, LG is expected to integrate Amazon's Alexa into the G6 and Huawei, as the third largest global smartphone vendor, wants to compete with Apple and Samsung on AI.

2017 might just be the year of the smartphone virtual assistant wars.