Apple’s A18 CPU: What To Expect Performance-Wise

With a mooted performance uplift of 20%, Apple’s A18 CPU for the iPhone 16 Pro and iPhone 16 Pro Max continues to deliver the goods

Preview: Apple A18 Chip for iPhone 16

  • 🚀 Launch: Expected in iPhone 16, late fall 2024 🍂📱
  • 🏭 Process: TSMC’s 3nm N3E, an upgrade from A17’s 3nm 🌟🔧
  • 📈 Performance: Rumored +20% single-core boost vs. A17 🚴‍♂️💨
  • 🆚 Snapdragon: Might trail behind Snapdragon 8 Gen 4 in multi-core 🤼‍♂️
  • 🔢 Variants:
    • A18 Bionic: Base for iPhone 16 & 16 Plus 🏋️‍♂️
    • A18 Pro (Rumored): Extra power for Pro & Pro Max models 🏆

It’s not official, but there’s plenty of leaks surrounding Apple’s incoming A18 CPU. The chip will once again be produced by TSMC, using its 3nm N3E process, a refinement of the 3nm process used in the A17 Bionic chip. 

And by refinement, you’re looking improvements in performance metrics – around 20% uplift – and also power management (meaning efficiency) which should translate into improved battery performance, even more so if Apple implements its rumoured “stacked battery” design

A18 Chipset Performance Metrics

Leaks suggest the A18 might offer a 20% increase in single-core performance over the A17 Bionic. However, compared to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 4, its multi-core performance might be slightly lower.

In a research note with investment firm Haitong International Securities this week, obtained by MacRumors, Pu said “we view A17 Pro as a transition design and now expect all the iPhone 16 models to feature A18, on TSMC’s N3E.”

Again, it is important to note that ALL of this is speculation at this point; we won’t know anything for certain until the iPhone 16 series gets official. 

But with TSMC’s new N3E process and Apple’s never-ending focus on power management, a 20% uplift with performance seems reasonable enough. 

Following N3 technology, TSMC introduced N3E and N3P, enhanced 3nm processes for better power, performance and density. N3E has received multiple tape-outs and started volume production in 4Q23. TSMC will further expand its 3nm technology family to meet diverse customer demands. These include N3X, a process tailored for high performance computing (HPC) applications, and N3AE, enabling early start of automotive applications on the most advanced silicon technology. N3A technology will be qualified and ready in 2026.


There Could Be Multiple Variants of The A18 

There have been reports about Apple expanding its A18 series, adding in multiple variants – specifically, a standard A18 Bionic for the iPhone 16 and iPhone 16 Plus, and a chip called the A18 Pro for the Pro and Pro Max. 

Rumors claim the A18 Pro will feature an additional GPU core and/or higher clock speeds for increased performance. This is all conjecture, mind you, and it is just as likely the iPhone 16 / 16 Plus will run the year-old A17 Bionic chip. 

But if they do get access to a new chipset, not the older A17, it’d make one hell of a case for updating from both the iPhone 15 and the iPhone 14. It’d also make the iPhone 16 Plus and iPhone 16 much stronger options – more power, more efficiency is always a good thing.

Richard Goodwin

Richard Goodwin is a leading UK technology journalist with a focus on consumer tech trends and data security. Renowned for his insightful analysis, Richard has contributed to Sky News, BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio 2, and CNBC, making complex tech issues accessible to a broad audience.

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