According to a recent analysis by supply chain expert Jeff Pu, it is expected that Apple will equip all iPhone 16 models, including the Pro and regular versions, with the A18 processor next year. This appears to contradict previous predictions that the Pro models would have an A18 Pro chip while the non-Pro models would receive either this year’s A17 Pro or a non-Pro variant, similar to how they received the A16 chip this year.
Keep your expectations in check. Pu’s forecast is more complex than simply that, and Apple has already hinted at a potential alteration in the naming and production of their A-series processors.
would still smell like an A18
No matter what you call it, an A18 will always have the same characteristics.
When the iPhone15 Pro was released by Apple, we paid close attention to the A17 processor being renamed to “A17 Pro” instead of “A17 Bionic.”
This suggests that there may be a non-Pro A17 processor. It is possible that we will see this in a future iPad or iPhone SE. Instead, it seems that Apple is preparing for a future where every A-series processor will have two options: standard and Pro. Pu’s research supports this idea.
According to his estimation, Apple plans to manufacture an A18 chip for the iPhone 16 and 16 Plus, and an A18 Pro chip for the iPhone 16 Pro and Pro Max. These chips will be constructed using TSMC’s second-generation “N3E” 3nm manufacturing process. The current process, N3, is considered a preliminary version of the 3nm process and has high production costs. However, N3E is expected to increase production efficiency and availability, allowing for more widespread use of 3nm chips beyond just Apple devices.
One key point to remember is that the “A18” in the iPhone 16 and iPhone 16 Pro will differ, regardless of the specific production method used. Similar to how the M2 and M2 Pro have distinct levels of performance, the A18 and A18 Pro will also vary.
It is unlikely that the difference will be very noticeable. Apple will not increase the size of the chip by twice as much, nor will they add twice as many high-performance CPU cores and almost double the GPU cores, as it still needs to fit inside an iPhone. However, there may be significant technology variations, or it could simply be the same features with varying levels of performance.
There are two possible paths that Apple could take in order to produce an A18.
The A18 is essentially the same as the A17 Pro but made using a stronger 3nm manufacturing process.
The A18 shares the same features as the A18 Pro, but may have fewer CPU or GPU cores and potentially less RAM.
Both approaches are acceptable and neither one is original. Companies that produce PC graphics cards and CPUs have often given old-generation products a new-generation label throughout the years.
None of this is crucial in promoting the sale of iPhones.
It was somewhat offensive when Apple began dividing processors among their new iPhones, reserving the latest processor for only the Pro models while the standard models received last year’s version. Labeling both models as “A18” is a tactic for Apple to potentially market an iPhone with outdated technology under a current name.
However, the significance of this may not be of concern to the general population. For quite some time, the iPhone Pro has consistently outperformed the standard models in terms of performance, yet many are unaware of this fact. While tech enthusiasts closely monitor Geekbench scores and performance graphs, the majority of iPhone buyers simply desire a newer version of the device. Their expectations are that it will effectively run their favorite apps, take high-quality photos, and seamlessly integrate with their other Apple devices such as AirPods and perhaps a MacBook. The only specification that may hold importance to them is the battery life.
At the close of the day, dividing the iPhone into standard and Pro models with enhanced features and capabilities is not a novel concept. Whether the lineup is separated by processors labeled A17 Pro and A18 Pro, or simply A18 and A18 Pro, is inconsequential.
If this action occurs, it would be interesting but ultimately would not significantly alter Apple’s approach to producing and marketing iPhones. It would not be the determining factor in whether the iPhone 16 is successful or disappointing.