Apple iPhone 16 Pro to gain AI-focused A18 Pro chipset

It has been reported by 9to5Mac that Apple is working on major improvements for its upcoming A18 chip, to enhance on-device AI capabilities for the upcoming iPhone 16 Pro series. According to information from an analyst report written by Jeff Pu of Haitong International Tech Research, some significant changes are coming. Here are the insights.

Apple 16 Pro to get AI-focused chipset

According to Pu’s analysis, there is a significant increase in the anticipated demand for Apple’s A18 chip, which is in contrast to the A17 Pro’s relatively stable production volumes since February 2024. Interestingly, Pu mentions the possibility of an A18 Pro “6-GPU version” with a larger die area than its predecessor. This increased footprint suggests that Apple may be planning to move toward “edge AI computing” for their next generation of iPhones.

More transistor density and the integration of specialized components are made possible by larger die areas, which frequently translates into improved performance capabilities. But these improvements also bring with them possible drawbacks, such as increased vulnerability to manufacturing errors and intricate designs, in addition to issues with energy economy and device temperature control. As a result, Apple finds itself in a difficult position as it attempts to increase A18 Pro production ahead of the upcoming release of the iPhone 16.

The fundamental idea behind Apple’s alleged approach is edge AI computing, which allows artificial intelligence tasks to be performed on the device itself without the need for processing infrastructure based in the cloud. Regardless of internet connectivity, this method promises real-time processing capabilities and faster response times. Peculation indicates that Apple might use a hybrid approach, combining cloud resources and on-device AI capabilities to enhance user experiences.

These revelations add to earlier reports that described improvements to the A18 chip, with a particular focus on AI integration. A robust Neural Engine and an enhanced array of embedded AI computing cores within the A18 were alluded to in earlier discussions. 

Although it is expected that the A18 chip will be present in both the standard iPhone 16 and the iPhone 16 Pro, Pu’s analysis suggests that the AI-related improvements might only be present in the A18 Pro version, which is intended for the more discriminating users of the iPhone 16 Pro and iPhone 16 Pro Max models.

Overall, the information presented offers a measured viewpoint on Apple’s potential course for the A18 chip, which is primarily focused on enhancing on-device artificial intelligence capabilities for the upcoming iPhone 16 Pro series. Within the context of Apple’s ostensible AI feature strategy, it highlights the subtle factors related to larger die sizes and explores the changing field of edge AI computing.

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