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Apple Intelligence might get me to buy an iPhone 16 Pro, but it’s about more than just AI

Published Jul 2nd, 2024 7:28AM EDT
iPhone 15 Pro Max Screen
Image: Christian de Looper for BGR

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With less than three months to go until the iPhone 16 comes out, there’s a report detailing Apple’s purported chip orders with TSMC for the new series. Apparently, Apple is preparing for a massive upgrade this year. It’s looking to sell up to 100 million iPhone 16 units combined.

Apple Intelligence is seen as a big driver for iPhone 16 sales. Many people will need a new iPhone to make Apple’s AI work. I’m also part of that group.

The same report also offers some spec details for the A18 chips coming to the iPhone 16 models. Unsurprisingly, the A18 Pro that will power the iPhone 16 Pro and 16 Pro Max will supposedly deliver a big performance boost over the A18 going into the iPhone 16 and 16 Plus.

Since I’m not planning to buy a new iPhone every year, I might go for an iPhone Pro again, even though I thought I was ready to embrace the non-Pro series for a change.

The Commercial Times report claims Apple has ordered a combined 100 million A18 chip units for the iPhone 16 series. The figure indicates Apple expects better sales than in previous years. We routinely hear that Apple is preparing to sell around 90 million new iPhones after their September launch. Apple Intelligence might be able to convince even more people to buy a new iPhone this year.

The report notes that TSMC will use a new N3E process for the A18 and 18 Pro chips. The former will be a variant of the A17 Pro that powers the iPhone 15 Pros. The A18 Pro will be a brand-new Apple design. It should be 15% to 20% larger than the A18. The extra space will supposedly let Appe fit more graphics and AI cores.

Moreover, the report says that Apple will pair both chips with 8GB of RAM. This seemingly confirms what we already know. iPhones need at least 8GB of memory to run Apple Intelligence features.

Finally, the report says that TSMC will not increase prices for the A18 chips Apple needs for the iPhone 16 series. Apple is TSMC’s biggest partner and will continue to get preferential treatment. This is good news for iPhone 16 prices. Apple might be able to keep the current price points unchanged for another year.

iPhone 15 Plus Dynamic Island.
The iPhone 15 Plus’s Dynamic Island. Image source: Christian de Looper for BGR

Soon after I got the iPhone 14 Pro, I realized I could have easily purchased the iPhone 14 without skipping a beat and without losing on any big iPhone feature. This made me consider buying the base iPhone when the next upgrade was due. After the iPhone 15 came out, I was even more convinced. I thought 2024 might be the year when I get an iPhone 16 or 16 Plus and ignore the iPhone 16 Pros.

Separately, I mused that I’d buy the iPhone 16 Pro Max if that meant I’d get access to Apple’s AI. That was before Apple announced that Apple Intelligence would be free of charge for all users. Apple also said you’d need an iPhone 15 Pro or later to get the new AI features in iOS 18. Then there’s the entire EU predicament. Apple might not bring Apple Intelligence to the EU countries at the same time as the US.

With all that in mind, I’m not exactly pressured to buy an iPhone 16 when it becomes available for preorder. Apple Intelligence might not be available in Europe for months after Apple launches the new iPhones here.

This will give me plenty of time to decide which iPhone 16 flavor to get, and the chip might play a big role in that. It’s not about the A18 Pro running apps faster than the A18 at this point. It’s about possibly future-proofing my iPhone for Apple Intelligence.

iOS 19 will surely bring over new Apple AI capabilities, and I’ll want my next iPhone to be able to run them comfortably. Assuming I’ll stick with the iPhone 16 version I choose for at least a few years, the iPhone 16 Pro might be a better choice.

Then again, I’ll have to wait for Apple’s big iPhone 16 in September to decide. That’s where we’ll learn the A18 specs and capabilities.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.