Apple anticipates huge demand for new iPhone 16 — 100 million A18 chips reportedly ordered

iPhone 16 render front and back
(Image credit: Future)

Every year we have to go through the same old song and dance. So many people want to upgrade to the newest iPhone that Apple can’t keep up with demand — especially in the run-up to the holidays. So we end up with wait lists as long as the line to Disney World on a holiday weekend. But Apple’s reportedly trying to mitigate the damage.

According to a report from China Times, Apple’s plan is to order an absurd number of A18 chips. In fact it’s estimated that Apple has ordered between 90 million and 100 million units, which will be mass produced using TSMC’s 3nm process.  

Rumor has it that all four iPhone 16 models will come powered by an A18 chipset of some sort — likely to ensure they all support Apple Intelligence. But right now it isn’t clear whether the iPhone 16 Pro and iPhone 16 Pro Max will be getting a more powerful A18 Pro or not. Unfortunately, we also don't know if this large order is for A18, A18 Pro, or a mix of both.

China Times also claims that all 4 iPhone 16 models will come packing 8GB of RAM. Apple has confirmed that RAM is one of the most important factors in Apple Intelligence compatibility. So by upgrading the iPhone 16 and iPhone 16 Plus up from 6GB, it means AI won’t be restricted to people willing to pay extra for the Pro models.

If all four iPhone 16 models have the same kind of chipset, then it makes sense Apple would have to order a large number of chips. That way, the chip production is far less likely to be the cause of shipment delays later in the year. That’s not to say other components might not prove problematic. 

Last year there were countless rumors ahead of launch suggested Apple was having trouble sourcing enough tetraprism lenses for the iPhone 15 Pro Max. And while wait times weren’t so bad in the months after launch, it does show that any single problematic component can seriously slow down production of new units. 

The rumors surrounding the A18 chip suggest that iPhone 16 buyers are going to enjoy some seriously high performance. In fact one leaker claims that the Neural Processing Unit in the chip is better than anything Apple has produced — even the new M4 chip that’s currently only available in the iPad Pro 2024

Can you imagine an iPhone outperforming an iPad or Mac at AI processing? It’s enough to make some people upgrade, and that’s only going to increase strain on the production line.

We've still got a couple of months before the iPhone 16 series is announced at the Apple September event. Until then be sure to keep on top of all the latest news and rumors in our iPhone 16, iPhone 16 Pro and iPhone 16 Pro Max hubs.

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Tom Pritchard
UK Phones Editor

Tom is the Tom's Guide's UK Phones Editor, tackling the latest smartphone news and vocally expressing his opinions about upcoming features or changes. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining about how terrible his Smart TV is.