What’s a Bigger Deal This Year: iPhone 16 or iOS 18? See What We Think

iPhone 16 or iOS 18
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Like every year, Apple is getting ready to release several new products in 2024. But, by far, the ones many of us are looking the most forward to are the new iPhone 16 and iOS 18 update.

At this point, it’s become a tradition to expect new iPhone and iOS updates from Apple each year, and you can almost mark their arrivals in your calendar. The company will almost certainly announce iOS 18 during this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), which kicks off on June 10.

Similarly, we’re expecting Apple to launch the new iPhone 16 lineup sometime in September.

But with these two big products launching in 2024, which one will be the most important? While the new iPhone usually takes all the headlines, this year, things might be a bit different.

iOS 18: The Biggest Software Update in Years

iOS 18 wishlist hero

At the time of writing, Apple hasn’t officially announced what iOS 18 has in store for us. However, thanks to many rumors and leaks, we already have a pretty good idea of what the company plans to launch this year.

If even some of these rumors are true, iOS 18 will be one of the biggest software updates we’ve seen in recent years.

The reason? Artificial Intelligence (AI). Many reports point to Apple introducing a lot of AI features in iOS 18. Not just in the operating system itself, but also in apps that will be able to use AI to bring a better experience to users.

For instance, rumor has it that Apple Music will use AI to automatically generate playlists based on what you like. Likewise, you would be able to use the power of AI with apps like Pages and Keynote, as the apps would be able to create slides or write content for you. Similarly, Apple Notes is said to be gaining AI voice transcription.

But where artificial intelligence should really shine is with Siri. According to many reports, Apple aims to make its virtual assistant much smarter than it already is with AI, possibly even joining forces with ChatGPT.

While we don’t exactly know how Siri will make use of AI, many reports say that this change will help Siri improve its conversational abilities. Not only that, but it would also be able to provide better suggestions and integrate data from other apps like your contacts and calendar.

Another use of Siri and AI will be with the Shortcuts app. As The Information puts it, you’d be able to have Siri create a GIF from the last pictures you have on your iPhone and automatically share it with your friends or family all just by triggering a shortcut.

Unfortunately, not everything is good news. According to rumors, Apple wants to make as many of these AI features as possible work right on your iPhone, without relying on cloud servers. This means the iPhone that handles these tasks would need to be very powerful. It’s possible only the iPhone 16 lineup will be able to handle the full suite of AI tasks, so those of us with older iPhones might need to consider upgrading this year.

However, Apple is also reportedly building hundreds of AI servers powered by its M2 Ultra chips, so folks with older iPhones that can’t handle on-device AI might still have the option of using the cloud.

Other Changes Coming to iOS 18

iOS 18

Beyond AI, Apple also has a few improvements coming with the new software update. The most notable change is the introduction of RCS support

Rich Communication Services (RCS) is a standard protocol for chats that works similarly to iMessage or WhatsApp. Basically, it lets you send text messages that offer more advanced features. For instance, you can know when the other person saw your message, and you can also send higher-quality images and videos.

Apple has avoided RCS support for years, but the company has now confirmed that this will change in 2024. This means that you’ll be able to chat with your Android friends similarly to how you text other iPhone users.

In addition to RCS support, Apple is said to be bringing a big new design to iOS for the first time in years. Some reports say that Apple will change the design of iOS to make it look similar to visionOS, the operating system behind the Apple Vision Pro. 

Last but not least, if the rumors are true, iPadOS 18 will probably see the biggest change. Several reports suggest Apple might finally add a calculator to the iPad. It’s a joke at this point, but the truth is that iPad users have been waiting for a first-party calculator app for well over a decade.

The iPhone 16 Might Not Be a Big Update This Year

On the other hand, we have the iPhone 16 lineup. While Apple hasn’t confirmed anything about its upcoming iPhone, we already know quite a few things thanks to many leaks and rumors.

Unfortunately, it seems that the iPhone 16 won’t be a huge update this year — at least not compared to iOS 18.

On the outside, the iPhone 16 should carry the same design we saw with the iPhone 15. The biggest change might come in the cameras on the back, as rumors say that Apple might bring back a vertical camera system for the back. That may seem like more of a style choice than an improvement, although many believe Apple is doing this to enable Spatial Video recording for the entire iPhone 16 lineup. That’s exclusive to the iPhone 15 Pro models right now, but it mostly only matters if you have a Vision Pro (or know someone who does that you want to send videos to).

The good news, however, is that Apple might increase the size of the iPhone 16 Pro models. According to the rumors, the iPhone 16 Pro will have a 6.3-inch display instead of the 6.1-inch we already know and the iPhone 16 Pro Max will grow to a 6.9-inch display, slightly bigger than the 6.7 inches that’s been the norm for years.

But perhaps the biggest change is coming in the shape of a button. Many rumors point out that the iPhone 16 models will feature a Capture button, which, as you can probably guess by its name, will help you take pictures when you’re using your iPhone to take photos and videos.

What About the Inside of the iPhone 16?

Over the past few years, Apple has used the chip from the previous iPhone Pro models for the base models of its newest iPhones. However, the company might switch things up this year. 

Apple is rumored to use a new A18 chip instead of the A17 Pro for the iPhone 16 and iPhone 16 Plus, while the iPhone 16 Pro and iPhone 16 Pro Max will feature a new A18 Pro chip.

Moreover, Apple might also bump the RAM on all iPhone 16 models to bring it to 8GB, which would be better than the 6GB of RAM we’re used to now.

iOS 18 vs. iPhone 16: Which One Is the Bigger Deal?

There’s no doubt that both iOS 18 and the iPhone 16 lineup will be remarkable moments for Apple in 2024, but which one is the bigger deal this year?

Well, as you can probably tell, it seems iOS 18 will probably be more important for Apple and iPhone users. With all the new features coming with the software update, the new design, and the use of artificial intelligence, iOS 18 already looks like a really huge update.

That’s not to say that the iPhone 16 won’t be big, but it will probably be a minor update that most iPhone users will be able to skip, especially considering that Apple is reportedly not focusing on the iPhone as much anymore.

Earlier this year, it was reported that Apple’s main focus would shift from the iPhone to its wearables in 2024. So you can expect the company to focus more on things like its augmented reality headset, AirPods, and Apple Watch, at least for this year.

Which One Are You Most Excited About

Just because iOS 18 might be bigger than the iPhone this year doesn’t mean we aren’t excited to see the new iPhone 16 this fall. With all these new products coming our way, there are a lot of new things that we can’t just wait to try.

[The information provided in this article has NOT been confirmed by Apple and may be speculation. Provided details may not be factual. Take all rumors, tech or otherwise, with a grain of salt.]

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