iPhone 16 AI just tipped for big AI upgrade to fight Galaxy S24

iPhone 15 Pro shown in hand
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The iPhone 16 could get an important upgrade for enhanced AI functionality, according to a new Economic Daily News report out of Taiwan.

The A18 chipset thought to be driving this year's new iPhones could feature an upgraded Neural Engine with more computing cores. This is Apple's label for its neural processing unit (or NPU), which is dedicated to tackling machine learning and AI tasks.

Hopefully, this core upgrade will apply to both the standard A18 chipset, expected in the regular iPhone 16 and iPhone 16 Plus, as well as the A18 Pro for the iPhone 16 Pro and iPhone 16 Pro Max. However, the report doesn't tell us how many more we can expect on top of the iPhone 15 series' existing 16-core setup.

Apple finds itself behind in the phone wars when it comes to AI, as the Samsung Galaxy S24 series includes several Galaxy AI features. This includes everything from Circle to Search and Live Translate to Instant Slow-Mo for videos and Generative AI photo editing. 

This rumor apparently applies to the M4 line of Mac/iPad chips as well. But since the current Apple M3 chips have yet to arrive on devices outside of the MacBook Pro M3, it seems likely that the M4 series will debut some time after the iPhone 16 does, going by Apple's established chip upgrade pattern.

Apple's getting AI-ready

EDN's claim fits nicely in with what we've been hearing about iOS 18, the upcoming big iPhone software update that's tipped to be full of AI features, including trendy generative AI ones.

Some of these could be iPhone 16-exclusive features, too, which would presumably require this higher Neural Engine core count to function. Hopefully Apple, will reveal at least some of its AI plans for iOS 18 and other updated OSes at WWDC 2024 this spring.

The iPhone 16 series likely won't launch until September, although we hope to see many more leaks in the meantime to give us a good idea of what to expect. Along with these AI-related rumors, it appears that we can look forward to upgraded cameras and larger displays on the iPhone 16 Pro, as well as a new Capture button for all models.

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Richard Priday
Assistant Phones Editor

Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.