The Google Pixel 9 could get enhanced on-device AI – and it’ll need it to take on iPhone 16

The Google Pixel 9 could get enhanced on-device AI – and it’ll need it to take on iPhone 16

Considering the number of AI features Google packed into the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro, we were already expecting even more artificial intelligence in the Google Pixel 9 – and a new leak suggests that is indeed what’s on the way.

Well-known code digger @AssembleDebug (via MSPowerUser) has found some interesting new references in the AI Core component that’s part of Android. They mention text to image generation, text rewriting, and question and answer conversations.

These are now familiar AI features, but the suggestion is that the Google Pixel 9 would handle these tasks on the actual device, without sending anything to the cloud – which would be faster, and more secure (because your AI conversations aren’t going anywhere else).

AI Core can currently be found on the Pixel 8 Pro and the Samsung Galaxy S24 phones, so it’s possible that these on-device features will come to other handsets as well – though it might be the case that next-gen processors are needed to handle them properly.

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For phones to be as clever as ChatGPT or Dall-E without referring to data servers in the cloud, they need their own AI models on board – and a phone needs to be relatively high-end to keep up with the processing demands.

Google’s smallest AI model, Gemini Nano, is available on the Pixel 8 and the Pixel 8 Pro, and the 2025 flagship phones from Google, Samsung, and others are expected to feature both more advanced models and extra performance to deal with them.

There have already been plenty of rumors about what Apple might bring to the party with the iPhone 16. One report suggested Apple is reportedly spending over $1 billion a year on AI development, and it’s expected that on-device AI will be a big part of the equation, due to to Apple’s strict privacy rules. Indeed, another recent report claimed that the iPhone 16 Pro’s chipset – which will likely be the A18 Pro – could be designed with AI in mind, specifically so that all the AI goodness can be carried out on the device, rather than in the cloud. 

If so, that could give the iPhone 16 a key privacy selling point versus its Android rivals – well, unless Google does follow suit with the Pixel 9.

The Pixel 9 is unlikely to show up before October, but we’ve already heard plenty about what might be coming: the Pixel 9 might arrive with upgrades in the display department, and the phone series is also rumored to be adopting a flatter design.

Satellite messaging is another Pixel 9 feature that’s been leaked, and we’re bracing ourselves for three models this year: a Pixel 9, a Pixel 9 Pro, and a new Pixel 9 Pro XL (the Pixel Fold 2 might also get put in the same series, apparently).

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David Nield

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