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iPhone 8's AI Boost Will Have Surprising Benefit

Artificial intelligence can do a lot of things, but it's not just about having a conversation with Siri, looking up the weather, sending texts and setting reminders.

Based on an interview of Tim Cook by Nikkei during a trip to Japan, Apple's CEO expects AI to have a sizable impact on making the iPhone last longer on a charge.

Cook said that AI will be used "in ways that most people don't even think about...We want the AI to increase your battery life." He also mentioned recommending Apple Music and helping you remember where you parked your car as other scenarios.

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While Apple's CEO didn't specify how artificial intelligence would make your iPhone squeeze out more juice, it's clear that the company has made endurance more of a priority in the last year or so.

For instance, Low Power mode in iOS 10 can automatically reduce power, turning off mail fetch, background app refresh and automatic downloads, as well as turn off some visual effects.

With even better AI, the iPhone 8 could, for example, automatically lower the bit rate on the music you're streaming. This would lessen the audio quality but suck up less power. Or perhaps Live Photos would turn off once you got below a certain battery capacity. There's lots of little things Apple could do that would add up to a significant amount of time.

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It's not as if the iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus are slouches in the battery department. On our web surfing test over 4G LTE, the iPhone 7 lasted 9 hours and 3 seconds, which is just above the smartphone category average. Meanwhile, the larger Plus lasted 10 hours and 35 minutes, which is in the upper echelon of flagships.

Apple has already started on the path to a much smarter Siri with the recent hire of Carnegie Mellon University professor Russ Salakhutdinov as the new Director of AI Research at Apple. But we'll have to see what he and his team can pull together within the next 11 months.

Mark Spoonauer

Mark Spoonauer is the global editor in chief of Tom's Guide and has covered technology for nearly 20 years. In addition to overseeing the direction of Tom's Guide, Mark specializes in covering all things mobile, having reviewed dozens of smartphones and other gadgets. He has spoken at key industry events and appears regularly on TV to discuss the latest trends. Mark was previously editor in chief of Laptop Mag, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc. Follow him on Twitter at @mspoonauer.