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Apple iPhone 16: New Neural Engine for AI functions in iOS 18

iOS 18 will offer various generative AI features in Siri, Shortcuts, Messages and more. It starts on the Apple iPhone 16 series.
Apple iPhone 16 iOS 18

Apple’s next-generation A18 and M4 chipsets for future iPhones and Macs will feature an improved Neural Engine with “significantly” more cores, according to a new report from Economic Daily News. This is intended to improve performance in AI tasks and machine learning. iOS 18 is rumored to have new generative AI features for Siri, Shortcuts, Messages, Apple Music and more. On an earnings call this month, Apple CEO Tim Cook said the company is working on generative AI and will announce details “later this year.” Apple will unveil iOS 18 at the annual developer conference WWDC in June.

The Apple A18 chipsets should launch in the iPhone 16 series in September. There were previously rumors that some generative AI features could be exclusive to the new iPhones. The updated Neural Engine could be a reason for this.

Neural Engine History for iPhones:

  • 2-core Neural Engine in iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X
  • 8-core Neural Engine in iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR
  • 8-core Neural Engine in iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max
  • 16-core Neural Engine in all iPhone 12 models
  • 16-core Neural Engine in all iPhone 13 models
  • 16-core Neural Engine in all iPhone 14 models
  • 16-core Neural Engine in all iPhone 15 models

Apple has continued to improve the performance of the Neural Engine over the years, even though the number of cores hasn’t changed. For example, according to Apple, the A17 Pro chip in the iPhone 15 Pro has a Neural Engine that is up to 2x faster compared to the iPhone 14 Pro.

As for the Mac, most models with Apple chipsets come with a 16-core Neural Engine. The only exceptions are the Mac Studio and Mac Pro, which have a 32-core Neural Engine when configured with an M1 Ultra or M2 Ultra chip. The first Macs with the M4 chip are expected to appear in late 2024 or early 2025.

Generative AI grew in popularity in 2022 after OpenAI released ChatGPT, a chatbot that can respond to questions and other prompts. Google with Gemini and Microsoft with Copilot have released similar chatbots and tools that can also automatically generate images, respond to voice queries and more.


Toni Hobrecht
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