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The latest iPhone 16 leaks are all about Siri AI

Published Feb 21st, 2024 10:19AM EST
iPhone 15 Pro Display
Image: Christian de Looper for BGR

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Normally, no one would really care about a next-gen iPhone’s microphone upgrades. But the iPhone 16 isn’t like its predecessors. It should deliver generative AI features similar to ChatGPT, including AI upgrades for Siri that will be deeply integrated with core features. That’s what rumors say, with some reports claiming that the iPhone 16 will get exclusive AI features that older hardware won’t support. 

That’s why leaks teasing upgrades to the iPhone 16 microphones are exciting. They imply that Apple is indeed bringing AI features to the iPhone. And, specifically, that Siri will get the big AI upgrade it so desperately needs.

It’s not just the microphones that make current Siri unbearable. Though, yes, Siri isn’t always able to pick up your voice clearly to answer commands. It’ll be even more important once Apple’s large language models power some Siri experiences. 

Considering what’s already available on the iPhone, Apple can’t afford to wait for its big Siri AI upgrade. OpenAI brought voice input to the ChatGPT app for iPhone several months ago. Google unleashed Gemini recently, and you can talk to Google’s AI chatbot via Assistant on Android or the Google app on iPhone. Siri has to match these capabilities, at least.

In a note to investors seen by MacRumors, Haitong analyst Jeff Pu mentioned the hardware upgrade for the iPhone 16 series. According to him, the microphones will feature a higher signal-to-noise ratio than previous models. This should improve the accuracy of Siri.

iPhone 15 Plus Dynamic Island.
One of the iPhone 15 microphones sits on top of the Dynamic Island next to the top speaker. Image source: Christian de Looper for BGR

Pu said earlier this month that some of the generative AI in iOS 18 will be limited to the iPhone 16 series. He cited the upgraded microphones and the larger Neural Engine in the A18 chips. Other reports also mentioned the big AI upgrade for the A18 chips. 

As for the microphones, Ming-Chi Kuo also addressed the iPhone 16 microphones in December, providing similar details. He called the microphone specs upgrade “significant,” tying them to the upcoming AI features coming to Siri: 

My latest survey indicates that all iPhone 16 models will feature a significant upgrade in microphone specifications. In addition to better water resistance, the key specification upgrade is a better signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) to improve the Siri experience significantly. It could indicate that Apple expects to integrate more AI/AIGC [artificial intelligence-generated content] capabilities into Siri as a key selling point of the iPhone 16.

Apple will unveil iOS 18 at some point in June when it’ll hold this year’s WWDC event. That’s where we’ll probably learn more about its generative AI models and the AI features built into iOS 18. However, AI features specific to the iPhone 16 series will not be unveiled before mid-September, when Apple holds its annual iPhone launch event. 

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.