Snapdragon 8 Gen 4 confirmed for October — here’s how Qualcomm will fight iPhone 16

Qualcomm Snapdragon
(Image credit: Qualcomm)

With a slew of new phones announced at MWC 2024, we’re heading to the mid-generation section of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, which for us means it’s time to start asking about what Qualcomm has planned for the next generation?

Well, in a video message to Snapdragon Insiders on X, CMO Don McGuire revealed just that — confirming that we will see the Snapdragon 8 Gen 4 launch in October at the Snapdragon Summit.

What is Qualcomm promising with this new version? How does it stack up with what rumors we’re hearing about Apple’s iPhone 16? Those are some some additional details we personally spoke to McGuire about at MWC.

What? NPU is evolving!

In the video, he talks about how the new chipset will feature the company’s Oryon CPU cores (found in the Snapdragon X Elite) — specifically, rumors are pointing towards six of these high performance cores appearing. On top of that, McGuire mentions the new silicon will be the “evolution of our NPU story,” which points towards an upgraded neural engine.

This lines up with a lot of what McGuire said in an exclusive interview with Tom’s Guide. In it, he goes into more detail about how Qualcomm is preparing for a future where AI is “suggestive, anticipatory, and proactive,” as models will eventually get small and powerful enough to be stored locally on phones.

Of course, the first step towards that is the AI Hub that Qualcomm announced during MWC. “We’ve ingested 80 LLMs so far, and we continue to ingest more that are optimized for Snapdragon platforms…then with as little as five lines of code, any developer can add AI to their app,” McGuire commented.

It’s clear what the company is angling towards, and he sees the challenges clearly: the size of the models, the possibilities of any cross-app model conflicts, and their impact on the battery life. These are seen as “short term challenges” to McGuire, and I can only imagine that an improved NPU in the Snapdragon 8 Gen 4 will pair perfectly with these software integrations and go some way to tackling these obstacles.

Apple vs. Qualcomm enters its next round

iPhone 16 Pro render blue bg

(Image credit: @MajinBuOfficial)

Of course, the timing of the Snapdragon summit is no real surprise, and this puts the Snapdragon 8 Gen 4 directly in the sights of the A18 Pro that Apple will unleash with the upcoming iPhone 16 Pro.

It looks as if this is going to be a big AI battle, as Apple CEO Tim Cook recently spoke about how the company will “break new ground in generative AI” this year, after “investing significantly” in the tech. 

While the Cupertino crew is keeping its cards close to its chest in terms of what this looks like specifically, rumors are pointing towards iOS 18 getting some huge AI features including a transformed Siri — all driven by what we’re guessing will be a turbo-boosted Neural Engine in the A18 Pro.

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Jason England
Managing Editor — Computing

Jason brings a decade of tech and gaming journalism experience to his role as a Managing Editor of Computing at Tom's Guide. He has previously written for Laptop Mag, Tom's Hardware, Kotaku, Stuff and BBC Science Focus. In his spare time, you'll find Jason looking for good dogs to pet or thinking about eating pizza if he isn't already.