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iPhone 16 Pro: A18 Pro chip with powerful on-device AI

The Apple iPhone 16 Pro and Pro Max are said to have powerful AI functions - thanks to the A18 Pro chipset directly on the device.
Apple iPhone 16 Pro / Pro Max

According to a new report from Jeff Pu of Haitong International Tech Research, Apple is planning some changes to the A18 Pro chipset. The changes have only one goal: to enable powerful AI functions directly on the iPhone 16 Pro and Pro Max. Pu also writes that Apple is ramping up production of A18 Pro chips earlier than usual. Apple’s plans for AI features this year are taking more and more shape. This also includes striking a balance between on-device and cloud-based solutions.

The new AI chip of the iPhone 16 Pro

Pu has been a reliable source for Apple rumors in the past. In detail, he said the following about the A18 chipset:

“According to our supply chain checks, we are seeing growing demand for Apple’s A18, while its A17 Pro volume has stabilized since Feb. We note Apple’s A18 Pro, the 6-GPU version, will feature a larger die area (compared to A17 Pro), which could be a trend for edge AI computing.”

Edge AI computing refers to AI capabilities that run directly on the device rather than in the cloud. Apple is said to be taking a split approach to its AI features this year. Some functions run in a cloud infrastructure (possibly in collaboration with Google), other functions the iPhone 16 Pro calculates directly on the device.

Edge AI from IBM:

“Simply stated, edge AI, or “AI on the edge“, refers to the combination of edge computing and artificial intelligence to execute machine learning tasks directly on interconnected edge devices. Edge computing allows for data to be stored close to the device location, and AI algorithms enable the data to be processed right on the network edge, with or without an internet connection. This facilitates the processing of data within milliseconds, providing real-time feedback.”

This isn’t the first report to suggest that Apple has made changes to the A18 chipset that are particularly focused on artificial intelligence. A report last month suggested that the A18 with a more powerful Neural Engine will “greatly increase the number of built-in AI computing cores.”

Both the Apple iPhone 16 and 16 Pro are expected to get a version of the A18 chip this year. Currently, the iPhone 15 uses the A16 chip and the iPhone 15 Pro uses the A17 Pro chip. Today’s report from Jeff Pu seems to suggest that only the A18 Pro will get the new on-device AI features. And this chip will only power the iPhone 16 Pro and Pro Max.

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Toni Hobrecht
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