All Four iPhone 16s Will Probably Get Apple Intelligence


Fifteen years in, Apple’s annual iPhone releases have gotten pretty predictable—we’ve come to expect four new iPhones (including two larger size options), two Pro models and two standard devices. In recent years, you could also expect to need to go Pro in order to get the best chips Apple had on offer. But if reports are correct, that might be changing this year.

Every iPhone 16 model will like get the A18 chip

As reported by MacRumors, Apple’s backend code reveals that the company is working on four iPhone 16 models to release this year. That’s not surprising at all, but what is surprising is all four models appear to reference the same A-series chip. In fact, Nicolás Alvarez discovered five A-series entries in this code, each with a unique identifier not tied to any existing iPhone:

  • iPhone17,1

  • iPhone17,2

  • iPhone17,3

  • iPhone17,4

  • iPhone17,5

Don’t be confused by the “17”—these names refer not to the iPhone 17, but to the A18 chip Apple is developing for the iPhone 16. (Okay, maybe it’s a little confusing.) The interesting bit is that all of these entries share the “iPhone17” moniker, which shows that Apple is working on five devices with the A18 chip. (Perhaps the fifth model is a new iPhone SE?)

If any of these iPhones were using a different chip, you would see that reflected in the name here. As MacRumors highlights, in Apple’s backend code, the iPhone 15 is listed as “iPhone 15,4,” since it uses the A16 chip, while the iPhone 15 Pro is listed as “iPhone 16,1,” since it uses the A17 chip.

To that point, it’s great news is all of Apple’s upcoming iPhones using the same chip. For the past two product cycles, Apple has recycled the previous year’s Pro chip for the standard iPhones, reserving the best A-series chip for only the latest Pro devices. The iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus use the A15 chip from the iPhone 13, while the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus use the A16 chip from the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max.

All four iPhone 16s may be Apple Intelligence-ready

While it’s possible Apple will beef up the A18 chip in the iPhone 16 Pros to give consumers something to stretch their dollar for, the likely consequence of the above news is this: All four new iPhone 16s will probably be compatible with Apple Intelligence, Apple’s upcoming suite of generative AI features.

Right now, the only iPhones officially compatible with Apple Intelligence are the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max. Not even the iPhone 15 or iPhone 15 Plus are compatible, even though they’re as new as the 15 Pros, as their A-series chips are a generation older. Given the recent buzz around AI, it makes sense that, going forward, the company would want all new iPhones to work with Apple Intelligence—though I would have assumed that would’ve been true of the iPhone 16 and iPhone 16 Plus regardless, as even if Apple stuck to their recent tradition of using last year’s Pro chips in the base models, these iPhones would’ve shipped with the iPhone 15 Pros’ A17 chip, which is Apple Intelligence-ready.

The standard iPhone 16 might be the best value choice

Either way, it seems the standard iPhone 16 will be a good value this year for anyone wanting to balance their device’s power with price. I’m sure Apple will soup up the 16 Pros in other ways, perhaps with higher-end A18 chips, superior cameras, and other exclusive features. But if you’re simply looking for an iPhone that can run Apple’s latest AI features without spending $1,000 for the privilege, it’s looking like the iPhone 16 will be that phone.

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