Next year’s standard iPhone won’t get a hand-me-down chip | Cult of Mac

Next year’s standard iPhone won’t get a hand-me-down chip


In a break, Apple may use
In a break, Apple may use "A18" chips in all four iPhone 16 handsets.
Graphic: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Rather than holding over iPhone 15 Pro’s A17 Pro chip for iPhone 16 and iPhone 16 Plus, the full upcoming iPhone 16 lineup will carry A18 and A18 Pro chips running on an updated TSMC 3-nanometer production process, according to an analyst.

Full iPhone 16 lineup could use A18 and A18 Pro chips on TSMC’s N3E

“We view A17 Pro as a transition design and now expect all the iPhone 16 models to feature A18, on TSMC’s N3E,” analyst Jeff Pu wrote this week in a research note from Haitong International Securities that MacRumors obtained.

This is noteworthy because recent non-Pro iPhone series have carried over the previous generation’s Pro chip. For example, iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus use iPhone 14 Pro’s A16 Bionic chip while iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max moved on to the A17 Pro chip.

Pu subsequently laid out his expectations for chips in the iPhone 15 series in an email as follows:

  • 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)

Updated TSMC 3nm chip-manufacturing process

“N3E” is a reference to TSMC’s new 3nm chip-manufacturing process. The previous process, used for the A17 Pro chip, costs more and generates lower yield.

MacRumors suggested Pu’s “educated guess” on the A18 and A18 Pro nomenclature may or may not pan out, depending on Apple’s moves closer to release in about a year. Taking after recent conventions, iPhone 16 handsets might yet end up carrying chips called A17 and A18 Pro.

The publication also pointed out Pu’s accurate recent track record on Apple predictions:

  • First to say Apple abandoned plans for solid-state buttons on the iPhone 15 Pro models.
  • Predicted iPhone 15 Pro models would come with an increased 8GB of RAM.
  • Said iPhone 15 Pro Max’s starting price would go up verses would go up compared to iPhone 14 Pro Max’s.


Daily round-ups or a weekly refresher, straight from Cult of Mac to your inbox.

  • The Weekender

    The week's best Apple news, reviews and how-tos from Cult of Mac, every Saturday morning. Our readers say: "Thank you guys for always posting cool stuff" -- Vaughn Nevins. "Very informative" -- Kenly Xavier.