Apple’s new A18 Pro chipset will support iPhone 16 Pro line’s on-device AI capabilities

Haitong International Tech Research analyst Jeff Pu wrote a note to Haitong’s clients that was obtained by 9to5Google. In that note, Pu said that Apple is making changes to the A18 Pro application processor (AP) compared with its predecessor, the A17 Pro AP. Besides being made using TSMC’s second-generation 3nm node (N3E), the A18 Pro will include some changes designed to allow Apple to offer on-device AI for the iPhone 16 Pro and iPhone 16 Pro Max.

Pu writes in his note, “According to our supply chain checks, we are seeing growing demand for Apple’s A18, while its A17 Pro volume has stabilized since Feb. We note Apple’s A18 Pro, the 6-GPU version, will feature a larger die area (compared to A17 Pro), which could be a trend for edge AI computing.” The larger die area means that the chip will be able to accommodate more transistors (usually a good thing) or specialized components which could allow the iPhone 16 Pro line to offer some interesting on-device AI capabilities.

We know that Pu mentions edge AI computing which refers to on-device AI as opposed to Artificial Intelligence that is handled in the cloud. Reported talks between Apple and Google could result in some cloud-based AI initiatives for the iPhone starting with iOS 18. A previous report on the A18 and A18 Pro chipsets says that they will “greatly increase the number of built-in AI computing cores” with a Neural Engine that is more powerful.
The iPhone 16 and iPhone 16 Plus are expected to be powered by the 3nm A18 SoC while the A18 Pro SoC will drive the iPhone 16 Pro and iPhone 16 Pro Max. The A18 Pro chipset will be more powerful than the A18. Currently, the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus are powered by the 4nm A16 Bionic SoC. The iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max are equipped with the 3nm A17 Pro SoC.

We should hear more about Apple’s AI initiative and the A18 and A18 Pro chipsets during the WWDC 2024 Keynote that will take place this coming June.

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