A18 Chip in iPhone 16 to Get a Powerful Neural Engine for AI Features: Report

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In Short
  • According to a report by Economic Daily News, next-gen A18 and M4 chipsets will get upgraded neural engine for AI performance.
  • It is expected that Apple will increase the number of cores in the neural engine after keeping the number the same since the iPhone 12 series.
  • Apple CEO Tim Cook has already confirmed that AI features are arriving later this year.

Apple is trying to catch up with the AI trend and it seems that the new product lineup from the company will be plenty powerful to deliver artificial intelligence features. In a new report by Taiwan-based Economic Daily News, Apple is set to equip a highly capable neural engine in its next-generation chipsets for the same.

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The report says that Apple has tasked TSMC to invest in an enhanced version of the 3nm chipset. Upcoming M4 and A18 chipsets will get a significant boost in the computing power. For generative AI features, Apple is planning to increase the number of built-in AI computing cores in its processors. Needless to say, this will require more intensive R&D and thus the investment.

“According to industry insiders, Apple has spotted the major trend in AI. This year, it will not only significantly strengthen the AI ​​computing power of the M3 and A17 processors, but also significantly increase the number and performance of the new generation M4 and A18 processors.”

Despite no attention to AI features, Apple has continuously refined the neural engine on its A-series chips. For example, Apple has claimed that the A17 Pro chipset in the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max has a twice as powerful neural engine as last year’s A16 Pro in iPhone 14 Pro models. However, it is worth noting that the core count has remained the same since the iPhone 12. This year, we might see a neural engine with more than 16 cores.

At its recently concluded earnings call, Apple CEO Tim Cook confirmed that generative AI features are arriving later this year.

This is not the first time when we have heard about Apple’s upcoming push towards AI. Noted Apple analysts Ming-Chi Kuo and Mark Gurman have already reported that Apple is planning a major overhaul in iOS 18. The next iOS iteration will bring a plethora of AI features to Siri, Messaging, and more. In October, last year, Apple released its debut LLM model dubbed Ferret in collaboration with Columbia University.

The open-source LLM model is touted to be more efficient than GPT-4 in understanding and describing small image regions. We can see AI features powered by Ferret in upcoming iPhones and Macs.

While an improved neural engine could bring powerful AI features, it would also mean that some features might just be limited to the iPhone 16 series and upcoming Macs. Would you shell extra dimes for AI features?

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