iPhone 16 specs might be good enough for iOS 18 AI and Siri


I said back in November that I’d buy an iPhone 16 Pro Max if that’s what is needed to get the best possible Apple AI experience on the iPhone. Rumors from Korea said at the time that Siri would get a big upgrade in iOS 18. Siri is expected to become the “ultimate virtual assistant” and the “killer AI app for accessibility across Apple’s vast array of devices.”

With less than two weeks until WWDC 2024, a new leak echoes those early rumors and details Apple’s AI features for iOS 18. Siri might indeed get an AI overhaul in iOS 18. Siri will even let you control apps on the iPhone in ways that aren’t possible right now.

The virtual assistant will supposedly let you move files around, send and delete emails, edit photos, share content, and even summarize an article — all by voice. Nothing similar exists on Android, either. But Google will probably do the same thing with a Gemini-powered Assistant on its mobile operating system.

I think these Siri AI capabilities will do wonders for the iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Vision Pro. If voice control becomes a thing, multitasking on Apple devices might reach a whole new dimension.

Siri features like these would be enough to warrant an iPhone upgrade this fall. And if a new tidbit from Mark Gurman is accurate, you won’t necessarily have to go Pro when you buy an iPhone 16 this year.

Gurman penned the Bloomberg report detailing the advanced Siri assistant functionalities coming to iPhone via the iOS 18 upgrade. Previously, he also explained the generative AI features coming to the iPhone. He said most of them will run on the device rather than in the cloud.

Between those stories, The Information published a separate Apple report explaining in greater detail how Apple will protect user privacy for iOS 18 AI features that need cloud processing.

The message is that privacy will be a priority for iPhone AI experiences. This aspect is all the more important if the advanced Siri assistant features Gurman described are accurate.

Apple’s operating systems will supposedly determine which features can be processed locally and which have to be sent to the cloud. And here’s where I’ll tell you that I want to ensure that my next iPhone is well-equipped to handle as many iOS 18 AI features as possible. If that means I’ll need the A18 Pro chip that will power the iPhone 16 Pros, then so be it.

That’s where things get interesting. Gurman posted the tidbit above on X, reacting to his recent Siri story. Unsurprisingly, Apple will use AI to drive up iPhone upgrades. I said as much in November. But the requirements for on-device AI will not be as stringent as I’d expect:

Apple is betting that the new AI features for the iPhone will encourage users to upgrade their devices. Many of the on-device AI capabilities will require an iPhone 15 Pro or later to work. Macs and iPads, meanwhile, will need at least an M1 chip.

I’m still on the iPhone 14 Pro, which will be two years old when I get an iPhone 16 version. If the claim above is accurate, the A18 in the non-Pro iPhone 16 models should be enough to process the on-device AI features in iOS 18.

Apple made a big deal about the Neural Engine capabilities of the M4 chip that powers the new iPad Pros. The same Neural Engine should come to the A18 and A18 Pro chips that will power the new iPhones. That should guarantee a similar experience for on-device AI processing.

Separately, rumors also say all iPhone 16 models will feature 8GB of RAM. We know from Apple’s published research related to AI that it’s been studying ways to optimize on-device AI performance for the more limited resources of a phone.

None of this is confirmed, but many iPhone rumors turn out to be accurate. The base iPhone 16 model should be a tremendous Apple AI device if everything pans out.





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