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Upgraded iPhone 16 Neural Engine to power generative AI features

Apple is seemingly looking to offer a revamped Neural Engine with the iPhone 16 to keep up with Samsung’s AI innovations for Android.

Screenshot of AI editing tools from the iPhone 15 Pro Max trailer for iPhone 16 Neural Engine news

AI is the center of attention in the smartphone industry in 2024, and Apple is looking to catch up with its Android competitors by making the iPhone 16’s Neural Engine one of the best around. If the rumors are true, we could see the most revolutionary step forward from Apple in years with the joint arrival of the iPhone 16 and iOS 18, but we’re still months away from finding out for sure.

This latest report is courtesy of the Taiwanese Economic Daily News, via MacRumors, with the publication suggesting that Apple is to “significantly increase the number of built-in AI computing cores.” For those who don’t know, the Neural Engine is the part of the chipset that powers generative AI, with every phone since the iPhone 12 containing 16 AI computing cores. If Apple introduces more cores in its next-generation A18 chips, it’ll be the first time in years we’ve seen the brand seek more power from additional hardware rather than fine-tuning the existing 16 cores.

We’re not exactly sure what AI features Apple might have in mind for the iPhone 16 Series, though we’re sure we’ll find out more at WWDC this year when the Silicon Valley giant officially reveals iOS 18. As we reported earlier this month, whatever happens, the iOS update should be the most significant in recent years, with the iPhone finally fully embracing generative AI for tools like Siri and photo editing as it attempts to combat innovations from Samsung, Google Pixel, and other notable Android brands.

While this all makes for exciting reading, it’s important to note that the source in question, Economic Daily News, has missed the mark before, so this rumor might be one to take with a pinch of salt until we get concrete confirmation from Apple.

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It’s also worth pointing out that Apple usually only introduces new chipsets to its Pro and Pro Max devices, with the base model and Plus version of each new series inheriting the chipset of the processors of the last generation. With that in mind, it’s possible that only the iPhone 16 Pro and Pro Max benefit from an increase in cores, while other versions of the iPhone 16 come with the A17 Bionic. Still, that might all change if the recent iPhone 16 lineup leak turns out to be on the money.

With that, you’re up to date on Apple’s plans for the iPhone 16’s Neural Engine. To see what the iPhone 16 is competing with, check out our Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra review, or see our picks for the best Samsung phones, best Xiaomi phones, and best OnePlus phones.