Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) has yet to announce this year's iPhone models, but there have already been a couple of leaks about Apple's 2018 iPhone models (or, as I'll refer to them, the iPhone 9 series).
One report from Nikkei claims that Apple is planning to launch three iPhone models in 2018, all of which will sport organic light-emitting diode (OLED) displays. Another report, this time from The Bell, claims that Apple is planning to launch 5.28-inch and 6.46-inch iPhone models in 2018.
Combining these two rumors seems to yield a sensible conclusion: Apple is planning to launch three iPhone models with 5.28-inch, 5.8-inch, and 6.46-inch displays, respectively.
That sounds exciting, but here's one more reason to be really excited about Apple's iPhone 9 series of devices: The Apple A12 Fusion chip.
A12 Fusion excitement
Although I expect Apple to cook up something phenomenal with this year's A11 Fusion chip, I think that Apple's A12 Fusion chip, in a relative sense, will be even more impressive than the A11 Fusion chip will be. There are a couple of reasons why.
The first is that Apple has made it clear that it will no longer use graphics processor designs from longtime graphics supplier Imagination Technologies (NASDAQOTH: IGNMF), beginning with devices launched in the second half of 2018.
Imagination built (and still builds) great graphics processors, but if Apple is dumping Imagination's already excellent designs so that it can bring "unique and differentiated" technology to the market, then Apple is probably cooking up a crazy-fast graphics processor for the A12 Fusion chip.
Apple did it when it moved to custom-designed CPU cores, and I fully expect it to build incredible graphics processors, too.
That's not all, though.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (NYSE:TSM), which is believed to be the manufacturer of this year's A11 Fusion chip using its 10-nanometer technology, says that it delivers a doubling in logic density over its 16-nanometer technology (used to build the A10 Fusion inside of the iPhone 7 series) as well as a 15% speed boost and 35% lower power consumption (though I don't think TSMC means that those things are true simultaneously).
TSMC says that the follow-on to its 10-nanometer technology, known as 7 nanometer, delivers a 1.6X increase in logic density, a 20% performance improvement, and a 40% reduction in power consumption over its 10-nanometer technology.
While the increase in logic density generation-over-generation at 7 nanometer relative to 10 nanometer won't be as large as the improvement from 16 nanometer to 10 nanometer, the performance/power improvements seem to be more aggressive.
Those more aggressive performance enhancements on the manufacturing side that the A12 Fusion will enjoy should allow Apple to build something that'll be an even larger leap over the A11 Fusion than the A11 Fusion will be over the A10 Fusion.
Apple's job will be to put all of that power to good use with its first-party applications and to potentially work with third-party developers to exploit what is likely to be truly "PC class" performance in a smartphone.