Apple Aims to Revolutionize the Smartphone Market with iPhone 16 and AI: Introducing a New 32-Core NPU for iOS 18

Apple Aims to Revolutionize the Smartphone Market with iPhone 16 and AI: Introducing a New 32-Core NPU for iOS 18

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Apple planea romper el mercado de los smartphone con el iPhone 16 y la IA: nueva NPU con 32 Cores para iOS 18

Apple is the latest tech giant to enter the artificial intelligence (AI) field. Tim Cook had previously stated that the company would not venture into the AI era in a vague manner, and that they would only make a move when they had something truly interesting to offer. That time is expected to come later this year, with the iPhone 16 and its new AI NPU taking center stage. A leak has provided some additional details about Apple’s plans, and it looks promising.

From Taiwan, information has surfaced suggesting the island has the necessary knowledge to make several claims. In this case, the focus is not only on the smartphone SoC, but also on the SoC for laptops, which is quite interesting.

The iPhone 16 with the A18 Pro SoC will feature a significantly increased number of cores in its NPU for AI. Current Apple NPUs do not possess the necessary TOPS performance to implement the AI capabilities that Tim Cook envisions. This means they want to keep everything at the local level without outsourcing services to the cloud, as Google does, for example. Privacy is the justification, with the solution logically coming from the NPU.

Current Apple smartphones have 16 Cores in their Neural Engine (NPU), but the number of cores has remained the same since the iPhone 12 despite increased power. Therefore, the information suggests that Apple has developed a significantly improved Neural Engine with a marked increase in the number of cores.

The next rumor states that the iPhone 16 will have up to 32 Cores in its NPU for AI in the highest A18 Pro configuration, which would at least double the TOPS performance of the current iPhone 15 Pro Max (35 TOPS), resulting in an impressive performance of over 70 TOPS.

To put this into perspective, AMD’s Ryzen 8040 Hawk Point announces 16 TOPS for its Ryzen AI (NPU) and a combined 39 TOPS with the CPU and GPU. Intel’s Meteor Lake has 10 TOPS for its NPU and 34 combined with the processor and graphics, but with Lunar Lake, its laptop successor, Intel has publicly stated that it will triple performance.

This equates to 30 pure TOPS for the NPU and nearly 100 TOPS when combined with the CPU + GPU. The issue is that it is unclear if Apple is only considering NPU performance or adding the rest to the values.

Apple’s data sheets regarding its Neural Engine contain contradictions, but it seems that the company may be adding up the performances of the CPU+GPU+NPU when it gives power in TOPS. If Apple doubles the number of cores in its NPU, it would make a significant leap in performance and hint at the ambitious nature of the project and the AI capabilities of iOS 18.

A challenge is that TSMC’s available manufacturing node may not sufficiently reduce the SoC area, potentially resulting in a larger and more expensive A18 Pro. A possible solution could be to segment the NPU with different numbers of cores, leaving the speculated 32 Cores for the iPhone 16 Pro Max, for example.


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