iPhone 16 and 16 Plus Again Rumored to Jump From A16 to A18 Chip

All four iPhone 16 models will be equipped with A18-branded chips, according to Jeff Pu, an analyst who covers Apple and its supply chain. He first shared this prediction last month, and he touched on the topic again in a research note this week with Hong Kong-based investment firm Haitong International Securities.

iPhone 16 To Skip A17 Feature
In his latest note, Pu said "we expect all iPhone 16 models to feature A18," and he expects the chips to be manufactured with chipmaker TSMC's second-generation 3nm process "N3E." Pu referred to the A17 Pro chip in the iPhone 15 Pro models, based on TSMC's first-generation 3nm process "N3B," as a "transition design."

In response to an email from MacRumors last month, Pu outlined his specific expectations:

  • iPhone 16: A18 chip (N3E)
  • iPhone 16 Plus: A18 chip (N3E)
  • iPhone 16 Pro: A18 Pro chip (N3E)
  • iPhone 16 Pro Max: A18 Pro chip (N3E)

N3E is less expensive and has improved yield compared to N3B, according to TSMC.

The standard iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus use the A16 Bionic chip, so a jump to the A18 chip for the iPhone 16 and iPhone 16 Plus would be a notable and unique change, as it means these two models would skip over an A17-branded chip.

Given that the iPhone 16 lineup is still around 11 months away from launching, Pu is likely making an educated guess here with the marketing names, so it remains to be seen if Apple actually moves forward with A18 and A18 Pro branding. It is possible that Apple could brand its iPhone 16 chips as the A17 and A18 Pro, mirroring recent years.

Pu was the first source to report that Apple had abandoned its plans for solid-state buttons on the iPhone 15 Pro models. He also accurately revealed that the iPhone 15 Pro models would be equipped with an increased 8GB of RAM, and that the iPhone 15 Pro Max would have a higher starting price than the iPhone 14 Pro Max.

Related Roundup: iPhone 16
Tag: Jeff Pu

Top Rated Comments

StudioMacs Avatar
6 weeks ago
While there are actual engineering differences, from a performance perspective this is mostly a story about naming conventions. Apple will differentiate the performance between iPhone 16 and 16 Pro regardless of what they call the processors. The main consequence is how Apple markets the naming convention, such as M2, M2 Pro, M2 Max and M2 Ultra.

A better example: The M1 would have been called the A14X had it been originally destined for an iPad instead of a Mac.

By putting the A14X in a Mac and calling it M1, then later putting the M1 in an iPad, the story became about how Apple put a Mac processor in the iPad rather than about how Apple put an iPad processor in the Mac.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Kendo Avatar
6 weeks ago
I'm guessing they will both use the "A18" chip but the 16 Pro will use the "A18 Pro" chip and the 16 Plus will use the regular A18 (non-Pro) chip which will simply be a rebranded A17 Pro chip.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
roundski Avatar
6 weeks ago
Sounds like the N3B A17 pro / M3 is a bit of a disappointment, maybe thats why there still arnt any M3s Maybe Apple will just release N3E A18 / M4s instead in 2024?
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
klasma Avatar
6 weeks ago

And the standard chip won't overheat your iPhone like the Pro chip can. Overheating is a Pro/Pro Max feature ('https://www.macrumors.com/2023/09/28/iphone-15-pro-overheating-reports/').
Of course. Didn’t Apple advertise the new ProVerheating feature?
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
one more Avatar
6 weeks ago
I cannot see what all the fuss is about, as any iPhone with A14 and later runs iOS 17 just fine. It is just a normal chip evolution, just this time around they will replace a more production cumbersome A17 design with a better A18 option. I doubt that a normal iPhone user not geekbenching or timing everything will notice much day-to-day difference between A15 and A18.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
NT1440 Avatar
6 weeks ago

Doubtful on disappointment. What I think I've picked up by reading what seemed like objective posts in the know is that N3B is EXPENSIVE and N3E will be cheaper without compromising quality. Apple loving margin expansion loves to squeeze them nickels out of every little part. So, they skip "bionic" or similar N3B and go all in on a part that costs them less while deliver the same or more features & benefits.

But that's just educated guessing on a mosh of information gleaned from sources that might be reliable... or not. Someone with certainty knowledge about N3B vs. N3E pricing & features should chime in and confirm or refute.
N3B was TSMC’s first production of 3nm. They found that they can’t scale it and “reformulated” the manufacturing process and N3E (and the other variants) was born.

Given the Capital costs involved 3nm simply wouldn’t be economically viable if vendors didn’t place orders for N3B. All vendors but Apple pulled out, and the A17 Pro was born.

N3B will be discontinued entirely as it’s not compatible with the new production process and designs are not directly transferable to N3E.

So it makes sense the A17 will disappear entirely as the production process itself is being discontinued for the entire industry.

A18 will be N3E.

It has nothing to do with cost savings or penny pinching from Apple, it’s just the reality of the economics of the industry.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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