May 28, 2024


Apple is reportedly planning to take a bite out of Arc Search for its next big Safari update.

Apple is reportedly planning to take a bite out of Arc Search for its next big Safari update.
Photo: Kyle Barr / Gizmodo

Microsoft Edge and Google Chrome are already being drowned in new AI features, so we suppose it was inevitable that Apple would also try to shove some AI activities into its default browser. With Apple reportedly jumping on the AI hype train for iOS 18 (though getting on at the caboose end rather than the passenger car) the company at the end of 1 Infinite Loop may try to shove AI summaries and browser assistants into Safari in a move that’s reminiscent of the existing Arc Browser. Unlike the competition, this time Apple could be powering it all from the device itself, rather than the cloud.

More interestingly, the browser could let you highlight and erase whole sections of web pages. Tired of the banner ads on top of Gizmodo’s site? If the rumors are true, Safari might have the ability to mask that. It all comes from a report from Apple Insider based on the latest builds of Safari 18. The controls hidden in the latest test models of the browser seem to indicate Safari would paper over sections of a site you don’t want to see. Better yet, it would remember your selections and re-erase the same parts of the page if you come back to it later. You would have the option of reverting the page to its original state.

That feature is akin to apps like 1Blocker on Safari with iPhone or uBlock Origin on other browsers, two apps that allow you to apply cosmetic filters on offending ads. 1Blocker in particular tells Safari what parts of the page to open, which also may help increase the speed at which the page loads.

Of course, advertisers and online publishers would not be happy about any built-in ad-blocking features. The click-centric publishing model is already flailing with the greater push for AI in Google Search.

But this is still extremely early, and code found inside Safari 18 does not necessarily point to how Apple plans to roll out these features, if at all. But AI upgrades to Safari feel inevitable. The so-called “Intelligent Search” would use a large language model to find key phrases and words in an article as the basis for its summary. AI summaries are already available in Edge through the Copilot feature, and Chrome’s Gemini-powered assistant can perform a similar task.

AI features may be Apple’s best bet if it wants to take a hammer to Google’s search and ad monopoly. That’s what Microsoft has been doing with its Edge browser and Bing search, but so far Google Search and Chrome remain dominant in their categories. Apple is also going all-in on AI with its upcoming releases. The M4 chip, expected to debut along with the new OLED iPad Pro, will reportedly have a better neural processor than its previous M-series CPUs. Similarly, the next iPhone 16 is said to have a bunch of AI capabilities with the promise of running some of these language models or art generators on-device.

We’ll likely hear more about this when WWDC rolls around on June 10.

A version of this article originally appeared on Gizmodo.



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