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iPhone 16 to offer ultra-fast AI performance with new Neural Engine

 

iOS 18 is rumored to include a number of new AI features, and Apple is allegedly prepping iPhone 16 hardware upgrades to coincide with this. A new report from the Economic Daily News today suggests that Apple’s next family of processors – the M4 and A18 – will “greatly increase the number of built-in AI computing cores.”

 

iPhone 16 and artificial intelligence

The report explains:

This year, it will not only greatly strengthen the AI computing power of M3 and A17 processors, but also significantly increase the number of AI computing cores and performance of the new generation of M4 and A18 processors, and the carrying rate of AI applications in all product lines will be greatly improved

This is almost certainly a reference to the iPhone’s Neural Engine. The Neural Engine has featured a 16-core design since the iPhone 12 generation in 2020, as pointed out by MacRumors. The Neural Engine has, however, gotten significantly faster over the years even as the core count has stayed the same.

For example, Apple says that the A17 Pro’s Neural Engine is up to twice as fast as the A16’s Neural Engine, capable of processing up to 35 trillion operations per second.

9to5Mac’s Take

This story certainly makes sense, but I’d treat it with skepticism for the time being, given the source’s mixed track record.

If the rumors are correct that iOS 18 will include a wide array of artificial intelligence features, my assumption would be that those features will work on at least the iPhone 14 generation and likely several generations before it as well. The more powerful Neural Engine rumored for the iPhone 16 would likely be for future proofing’s sake and to improve the performance of iOS 18’s features when possible.

Another interesting wrinkle: both of the iPhone 16 and iPhone 16 Pro models coming this year are expected to feature a version of the A18 chip. Currently, the iPhone 15 uses the A16 chip and the iPhone 15 Pro uses the A17 Pro chip. Will the more powerful Neural Engine be exclusive to the version of the A18 chip in the iPhone 16 Pro?

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