Apple won't lock the iPhone 16 and 16 Plus to last year's chip after all

Written on 07/02/2024
Taylor Bell

All four iPhone 16 models could share a same-generation chip after two years.


  • Apple may equip all iPhone 16 models with the same generation A18 chip, ending the chip segregation seen in the last two iPhone generations.
  • This move likely aims to ensure all iPhone 16 models can support Apple Intelligence features.
  • The unified chip strategy could still feature performance variations, with the Pro models potentially using an enhanced A18 Pro version.

In a possible departure from recent approaches, Apple may equip all four iPhone 16 models with the same generation of A-series chips. This information comes from code discovered by Nicolás Alvarez on Apple's backend. (via MacRumors)

Over the past two years, Apple has differentiated its Standard and Plus models from the Pro models by equipping them with older generation chips. For example, the current iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus models are equipped with the A16 Bionic chip, which is also used in the iPhone 14 Pro series, while the iPhone 15 Pro models are equipped with the new A17 Pro chip.

According to the report, the leaked code reveals five new model numbers (iPhone17.1 to iPhone 17.5), all of which share a common identifier that usually indicates a unified chip family. This contrasts with previous identifiers for iPhone 15 models, which varied depending on the chip used.

This chip equivalence in model numbers indicates that all models, from the standard iPhone 16 to the Pro Max, are expected to feature the same generation of Apple silicon, namely the A18 chip.

However, this doesn't necessarily mean consistent performance across the line. Pro models could get an improved version, possibly called A18 Pro, with improvements such as additional GPU cores and better camera and gaming capabilities.

Apple's approach to differentiating its flagship devices based on performance remains unique. Competitors such as Google and Samsung typically use the same chipset across all models in their flagship series, despite differences in camera systems, screen sizes, and battery capacities.

A big reason for Apple's decision to standardize the chip across all iPhone 16 models may be due to its emphasis on Apple Intelligence. As demonstrated by the current iPhone 15 lineup, running AI features on the device requires a lot of resources. Only the Pro models support Apple Intelligence features. Ensuring that all future iPhones can run these features is likely crucial to Apple's strategy to boost sales of the next generation of iPhones.

Interestingly, the leaked code reveals five new model numbers running on the same chip, suggesting that the iPhone SE model may be refreshed sometime next year. However, this is still just speculation at this point. It has been almost confirmed that the iPhone 16 series will be released in September.