Apple might have plans to rework its chip lineup in the upcoming iPhone 16 series.
According to a research note from Apple supply chain analyst Jeff Pu (via MacRumors), the A17 Pro featured in the iPhone 15 Pro/Pro Max is the first step in the tech giant’s transition to offering its upcoming A18 series chip across the entire iPhone 15 series. This could be at least part of the reason why Apple dropped the ‘Bionic’ title for its A17 chips and instead went with ‘Pro.’
Pu goes on to say that the A17 chip is built on chipmaker TSMC’s “N3B” technology that utilizes 3nm chip fabrication. With the A18, Apple will move to less expensive N3E manufacturing, according to Pu, offering a standard, less powerful A18 processor in the base-level iPhone 16 devices and a higher-end A18 Pro in the iPhone 16 Pro/Pro Max.
This year, while the iPhone 15 Pro/Pro Max offers the A17 chip, the iPhone 15/iPhone 15 Plus feature last year’s A16 processor. It’s unclear how this chip naming convention shift will affect the actual performance difference between Apple’s mobile chip tiers (my bet is it won’t, but the gap could close slightly).
It’s important to note the iPhone 16 series is still nearly a year away from release, given the iPhone 15 series only just dropped. This means Apple’s plans could change, with the iPhone 16/iPhone 16 Plus offering this year’s A17 chip and the iPhone 16 Pro/iPhone 16 Pro Max featuring the A18 processor.
In other iPhone 16 news, recent rumours hint that the iPhone 16 could feature a capacitive ‘Capture Button‘ under its power button.