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iPhone 16 May Include Cutting-Edge Neural Engine to Run Generative AI

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Apple is expected to debut the new generative AI features on the iPhone 16 that will arrive with iOS 18. However, the software is just one side of the equation since it would also require greater computing resources to enable many of these features. Fret not, Apple does look to address this in its next-generation iPhone chipsets.

How will Apple A18 enable generative AI on iPhones?

A new report from the Taiwanese outlet Economic Daily News (via MacRumors) indicated Apple will upgrade the Neural Engine or NPU (neural processing unit) in its upcoming A18 chipset with more computing cores. With a faster Neural Engine, iOS 18 will be able to run more complex tasks and even perform on-device AI computing.

This planned chipset upgrade is not a big surprise given how much most generative AIs are powered by more capable chipsets as in the case of Samsung’s Galaxy S24 and Google’s Pixel 8 (review). For instance, the iPhone 15 Pro (review) notably lacked support for text-to-image generation and wider offline assistant or chatbot use, which is something Apple’s competitors already offer.

Apple A17 Pro chipset
Apple’s A17 Pro chipset for the iPhone 15 Pro brings a faster and more powerful CPU and GPU. / © Apple

Apart from the increased NPU core count, it was not detailed how the A18’s Neural Engine unit would differ or how much faster it is over the A17 Pro. As a reference, the A17 Pro on the iPhone 15 Pro is already twice as fast compared to its predecessor, according to Apple. Hence, it is possible to see a notable increase in improvement on the A18.

Some new AI functionalities may be exclusive to the iPhone 16

Interestingly, it remains unclear whether the generative AI features and services will be completely exclusive to the iPhone 16 via the new A18 chip. According to tipster Tech_Reve, some on-device AI features could end up exclusive to the iPhone 16 while generic functions will be available on older iPhone models.

Based on rumors, Apple’s A18 chip will be manufactured using a more efficient fabrication process. It added the chip will be differentiated by the standard A18 powering the iPhone 16 while the A18 Pro will be reserved for the iPhone 16 Pro.

In addition to the A18, Apple’s M4 chip for future iPad Pro, Macs, and MacBook laptops is set to gain an improved Neural Engine as well, which could bring comparable new AI features to these devices.

Do you think generative AI is a promising addition to iPhones? Will it be enough reason for you to upgrade to the iPhone 16? Share your thoughts with us on this.

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