iPhone 16's massive AI upgrade leaked — A18 and M4 chips to get massive boost from Neural Engine

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(Image credit: Future)

A new supply chain report has revealed that Apple plans to introduce huge hardware upgrades to the iPhone 16 to power its big AI leap planned for 2024. 

Apple is widely expected to unveil its next best iPhone in September, complemented by significant AI upgrades to iOS 18 which should arrive at WWDC 2024. To power all those changes, Economic Daily News reports that Apple’s iPhones, iPads, and MacBooks “will be greatly upgraded.” 

According to the report, “The new generation of M4 and A18 processors used in terminal devices such as iPad, Macbook and iPhone will significantly increase the number of built-in AI computing cores.” As EDN notes, TSMC is already investing in an enhanced version of its 3nm processor, the fabrication line it uses to make Apple’s A-Series and M-Series chips, to prepare for the changes.

Apple’s Year of AI 

As noted, Apple is reportedly planning some big AI boosts to iOS 18, possibly iPadOS 18, and macOS 15 too. EDN notes that Apple will “significantly strengthen the AI computing power of the M3 and A17 processors,” providing a significant boost to devices like the iPhone 15 Pro and the M3 MacBook Pro

According to the report,  it will also “significantly increase the number and performance of the new generation M4 and A18 processors.” The latter is expected to power Apple’s iPhone 16 and iPhone 16 Pro models, while M4 is the expected next step in Apple silicon for Mac, and likely iPad too. 

The report says Apple “has strengthened the AI computing performance of terminal devices and greatly increased the computing power of its processors.” While rumors of promising software upgrades to AI capabilities from Apple have been looming for some time, it’s good to see Apple is also preparing some hefty hardware upgrades to go with them. 

The core of Apple’s AI power is, of course, the Neural Engine, which got a 2x speed boost in the A17 Pro chip and powers features like autocorrect, computational photography, and iOS 17’s Personal Voice feature. The Neural Engine was also a big focus of M3, M3 Pro, and M3 Max lineup, with Apple squeezing out speeds 60 percent faster than the M1 version and 15 percent faster than the M2. 

Clearly, Apple already has some pretty potent AI hardware at its disposal, but it sounds like the company will crank things up to 11 with the iPhone 16 and M4 Mac lineup. As noted, the iPhone 16 is a lock-in for September, but the release schedule of the M4 Apple silicon chip for Mac is less clear. With devices like the M2 MacBook Air yet to get the M3 treatment, a 2024 release window might be ambitious. 

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Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.

Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9