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Rumors of all iPhone 16 models having an A18 processor make no sense

The iPhone 16 Pro, maybe

A stock analyst has put forth the rumor that the entire iPhone 16 lineup will have an A18-branded chip, but between his track record and Apple's recent patterns, it seems unlikely at this point.

In a note to investors, Analyst Jeff Pu is claiming that the entire iPhone 16 lineup will get a processor branded with A18. He's since clarified that, saying that the will be the A18 in the lower-end iPhone 16 and iPhone 16 Plus, with a Pro version in the iPhone 16 Pro and iPhone 16 Pro Max.

Adding more color, in an email to our friends over at MacRumors, he says that all of the A18 processor line will be produced with TSMC's second-generation 3nm chip manufacturing process called "N3E," vice "N3B" which is what was used for the A17 Pro processor.

We don't think that's likely for two main reasons.

Apple has set the stage for two iPhone model-years

We don't think it's a coincidence that for two years, Apple has put its most modern iPhone processor in the Pro models, and the previous year's in the non-Pro form factor. It's a differentiator between the lines beyond the camera.

TSMC shipping N3E-based chips does not mean that it is lighting its N3B lines on fire. The company still produces 28nm chips for consumer goods and the automotive industry, and all the processes in between it and 3nm.

There's no reason to believe that this will stop. Other leakers with a more reliable record have yet to chime in on this, and Pu isn't what you'd call a "first-tier leaker."

Pu's track record doesn't help

Pu's record as it pertains to Apple's future plans is not good. Most recently, he predicted that the iPhone 15 Pro Max would have a higher price, which did not materialize. He also said that the iPhone 15 Pro Max wouldn't ship until October, which was also false.

This was stacked on top of rumors in May, which predicted iPhone 15 Pro production delays because of the 48 megapixel camera expected in the device. And a bit before that, he predicted "AirPods Lite" after other analysts with similar track records said the same — and there is no sign of that either.

On top of that, his other predictions about Apple products are either obvious or reported elsewhere first. To date, nothing he's said seems to be related to any information he's gleaning independently from Apple's supply chain.

If this report was from Mark Gurman, or Ming-Chi Kuo, we'd give it a "possible" rating. Since it's from Pu, there's more than enough to be incredibly skeptical about it at this time.