Is Apple Going to Replace Arc?


One of the standout features of the mobile web browser Arc Search by The Browser Company is its unique search capability, which provides a summary of the web results instead of the usual search listings. The “Browse for me” feature exemplifies the company’s innovative use of AI to redefine web searching. Additionally, “pinch to summarize” offers AI-generated summaries of individual web pages. However, these AI capabilities might soon be mirrored by Apple’s latest “sherlocking” effort — a term used when Apple integrates features initially developed by other developers into its own products.

The term “sherlocking” originated after Apple released a finder app named Sherlock in the late 1990s, which included features similar to the third-party app Watson. Since then, whenever Apple introduces a new feature seemingly inspired by an existing one, it’s referred to as “sherlocking.”

In recent times, Apple has been said to have sherlocked products like Camo, turning iPhones into webcams with their Continuity Camera feature. It also sherlocked apps like Duet Display and Luna with the introduction of Sidecar, which lets iPads function as second screens. Apple’s BNPL service, Apple Pay Later, was reportedly influenced by other apps like Klarna. Features such as medication tracking, period tracking, mood logging, journaling, and sleep tracking, initially offered by third-party developers, were also sherlocked by Apple.

With the upcoming release of iOS 18, Apple may once again be drawing inspiration from its app developer community, this time potentially affecting Arc.

A recent Bloomberg report suggests that Apple is set to introduce a feature called “smart recaps”, along with other AI-enhancements to core apps like Photos, Notes, and Safari. Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman notes that smart recaps will offer users “summaries of their missed notifications and individual text messages, as well as web pages, news articles, documents, notes, and other media” [emphasis ours].

Arc is renowned for its web summarization using AI, an area where it continues to innovate. Just last week, Arc introduced “Call Arc,” which allows users to raise their phone and ask a question, leveraging AI for web searches. Coupled with its “browse for me” and “pinch to summarize” features, Arc enables users to utilize AI as a search companion.

AI-driven news summarization has also been the focus of various startups, such as Particle, created by former Twitter engineers, the smart RSS reader Bulletin, trend summarizer Break the Web, and numerous other iOS applications.

If Apple integrates these AI-powered recaps into its Safari browser, it could reduce the demand for alternative browsers or apps offering similar AI tools. Despite this potential challenge, Arc’s growth may not be significantly hindered. The company is dedicated to exploring various innovations beyond AI summaries, including minimizing distractions, organizing tabs, blocking ads, and more, alongside its AI assistant, Max.

Sarah Perez
Sarah Perez
Staff writer. Previously, Sarah worked for over three years at ReadWriteWeb, a technology news publication. Before working as a reporter, Perez worked in I.T. across a number of industries, including banking, retail and software.

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