The iPhone 7 Plus may have focussed on dual-cameras as its headline addition, alongside the iPhone 7's taptic engine, but the iPhone 8 and iPhone 9 may focus on less visible features instead, in the form of artificial intelligence advancements.
At least, that's what Apple CEO Tim Cook hinted at during a recent trip to Japan. Speaking to Nikkei ahead of the opening of a research and development facility in Yokohama, Cook said the site will focus on AI "deep engineering."
AI "is horizontal in nature, running across all products," said Cook, before teasing possible applications in the company's mobile devices.
"We want the AI to increase your battery life," he said, as well as "[helping] you remember where you parked your car."
Though consistently making high-quality, high-end devices, it's fair to say that Apple often faces criticism for its iterative upgrade cycle. AI could help it buck that trend, but faces competition from the efforts of Google and Amazon in the same space.
Though leading Apple through an incredibly profitable period, Tim Cook has had to live with constant comparisons to the late Steve Jobs, the Apple founder who passed away five years ago.
"I never tried to replace him," Cook told Nikkei.
"I've just tried to be myself and do the best thing that I can do. ... I think if he were here, I would have loved it, because I would have loved going through many of these things with him. But it unfortunately wasn't to be."
Speaking of the relative youth of the smartphone market (only just approaching a decade old), Cook believes there is still time for fresh innovation, with AI at the core.
"We are not even teenagers yet. We just got going," said Cook. "I think there is an incredible future ahead."
- If you can't wait for the future to arrive, check out our iPhone 7 review
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Gerald is Editor-in-Chief of iMore.com. Previously he was the Executive Editor for TechRadar, taking care of the site's home cinema, gaming, smart home, entertainment and audio output. He loves gaming, but don't expect him to play with you unless your console is hooked up to a 4K HDR screen and a 7.1 surround system. Before TechRadar, Gerald was Editor of Gizmodo UK. He is also the author of 'Get Technology: Upgrade Your Future', published by Aurum Press.