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A18 chip destined for iPhone 16 and Pro models this fall

Renders of what could be the iPhone 16 Pro

Apple has reportedly increased its chip order with TSMC, one that apparently puts both the iPhone 16 and iPhone 16 Pro models on the A18 chip.

According to sources of CTEE, Apple has upped its chip order from partner TSMC. With the increased order in place, Apple is supposedly preparing to sell between 90 million and 100 million units of the iPhone 16.

This is in contrast to what was believed to be an 80 million to 90 million iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro order volume from September 2023.

At the same time, TSMC has chips in Apple’s M4 series ready to be produced and shipped in the second half of 2024.

A change in chip strategy

The report claims that both the Pro models and the non-Pro will be using the A18 processor family. However, while that sounds like the A18 will be used on both tiers of device, it’s not necessarily going to mean all-new chips all round.

For the last few iPhone generations, Apple incorporated new chip features into its Pro product line. The standard iPhone tier instead had the same chips one year later.

This is demonstrated in the iPhone 15 family of devices. While the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max used the A17 Pro, the iPhone 15 and Plus used the A16.

While it sounds different in the iPhone 16 collection, it’s actually fairly similar to the current chip strategy, if not by name.

The reports says the iPhone 16 and iPhone 16 Plus will use the A18 processor. This chip is described as using the A17 Pro design, but using a new N3E process at TSMC.

The iPhone 16 Pro range will use a new A18 Pro chip design. This will include a processor that’s 15% to 20% to accommodate more graphics and AI computing elements.

If true, this is effectively Apple sticking to the same hand-me-down chip strategy as before, but tweaked with the new process and changing the name.

The rumor mill has also previously mentioned the use of the A17 in the iPhone 16. Whether it adapts based on this report, it remains to be seen.

The Apple Intelligence boost

The increase in orders for the chip should be beneficial to both Apple and TSMC, especially considering the minimum requirements for Apple Intelligence.

So far, the only models of iPhone that could run Apple Intelligence are the iPhone 16 Pro and Pro Max, due to the increased Neural Engine performance and onboard memory compared to previous generations. The A18 chips will bring all of the A16 iPhone models into being capable of using Apple Intelligence, so long as they have better specifications than the A17 Pro.

This should also be a boost to the memory of non-Pro iPhone models as well. The iPhone 15 has 6GB of memory, while the iPhone 15 Pro has 8GB.

Since Apple Intelligence requires 8GB at a minimum, this should translate to memory increases for the non-Pro models this fall.