iPhone 16 just tipped for massive performance boost

iPhone 16 prototypes
(Image credit: MacRumors)

The iPhone 16, or more specifically the A18 chip expected to power it, could contain the best Neural Engine NPU Apple's made yet, making the new iPhone the company's best device for Apple Intelligence and other AI applications.

Tipster MappleGold (via Wccftech) posted on X that "The Neural Engine present in the A18 [is] too strong," claiming that it's better than that of the M4 chip seen in the iPad Pro 2024. The M4 carries the fastest NPU of any current Apple device according to the company's own measurements, and while you can only buy one in an iPad Pro right now, it's rumored that the chip will appear in Macs and MacBooks very soon.

MappleGold doesn't tell us the exact capabilities of the A18 chip, nor do they have a track record of accurate leaks to point to right now to help back up their claims further. But the idea it'll outperform a Mac-class chip is quite something. It should mean that the recently announced Apple Intelligence features will run at their best on the new iPhones, although we have questions about which of the new models this upgraded NPU applies to.

Pros only or AI for all?

Apple's executives claimed the Neural Engine's power is a key factor in whether a device is capable of running Apple Intelligence. The only iPhones currently able to use it (once it launches) are the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max. So we are keen to see the standard iPhone 16 and the iPhone 16 Plus get the upgrades 

Hopefully, since MappleGold refers to the A18, rather than the A18 Pro, this means all iPhone 16s will get this super-powered NPU. This would fit nicely with the rumored RAM capacity upgrade for the standard and Plus models, since 8GB is seemingly the minimum RAM capacity required to run Apple Intelligence.

Come September, we hope that Apple Intelligence is accessible to anyone who buys the latest iPhone, whether that's the iPhone 16, iPhone 16 Pro or iPhone 16 Pro Max. You can read more about these devices' alleged upgrades in our rumor hubs, or check out our iOS 18 and Apple Intelligence guides to learn more about the features you'll be able to use with these phones and their allegedly supercharged Neural Engines.

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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.