Apple's first AI smartphone: Bullish suppliers believe 'Apple can only lose to itself' as iPhone 17's 2025 launch looms

iPhone 15 Pro review back handheld angled camera
(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

Amid ongoing talk of big new Apple AI features coming to the iPhone with iOS 18 later this year, a new report believes that the iPhone 17 will be Apple's first true AI phone, and that's enough to get key supply chain partners excited.

According to one new report, PCB suppliers are optimistic that Apple's growing focus on AI will see the iPhone 17 and other Apple devices prove to be strong sellers, even in China where Huawei has recently become the biggest name in town.

In fact, suppliers believe that "Apple can only lose to itself" while Huawei and others, like Samsung, will only be part of the discussion rather than potentially eating its lunch.

Apple is its own competition

That's the news coming out of a paywalled DigiTimes report which notes that suppliers believe that the rapid development of AI could be a significant factor for Apple moving forward. They believe that the iPhone 17 will be Apple's first AI smartphone in 2025 while foldable devices will follow in 2026. ".If other brands fail to introduce killer applications, consumers who have previously used Apple products likely won't have much willingness to switch to other brands," the report explains.

To add context, JPMorgan analyst Samik Chatterjee previously said that it was his belief that Apple's AI timelines and the iPhone 17 itself will drive the upgrade cycle next year.

The new focus on AI, coupled with a supply chain belief that Huawei's surge to prominence in China is little more than patriotic buyers whose approach will change when those sentiments change, bullish. In fact, those within Apple's supply chain believe "that direct competition between Huawei and Apple is nonexistent," the report adds.

Apple is far from alone in leaning on AI as a way to sell hardware and services, but it's a new angle for the iPhone maker to take. That's all expected to kick off with the previewing of iOS 18 and new AI capabilities at WWDC next month.

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Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.