The new iPhones aren’t even generally available to the public yet, and already details about the iPhone 15 have started to emerge. According to a new report, the iPhone 15 Pro devices will feature an A17 chip made by TSMC, while the non-Pro models will once again get an older chip.
According to Nikkei Asia (via 9to5Mac), the A17 chip will use TSMC’s second-gen 3nm process (dubbed N3E), which is expected to be available in the second half of next year. Currently, the A17 processor is under development. The report also suggests that some M-series chips will take advantage of the smaller 3nm process too.
Nikkei cites people “familiar with the matter” as the source of the information. Specifically, it notes that the A17 will be used in the “premium entry in the iPhone lineup slated for release in 2023,” which will likely be called the iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max.
The report should hardly come as a surprise, however. Apple’s new iPhone 14 line was the first to differentiate between Pro and non-Pro by only giving the Pro iPhones the latest chip. The iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max sport Apple’s A16 Bionic chip, while the iPhone 14 and 14 Plus feature last year’s A15 Bionic chip with an extra GPU core.
Presumably, the non-Pro iPhone 15 models will use the A16 and not the A15 again, but it remains to be seen.
Apple’s efforts to differentiate the Pro and non-Pro iPhone models are likely an attempt to drive sales of the more expensive Pro models. For several years now, the non-Pro iPhone models have arguably been the best option in terms of value — the latest and greatest hardware for less money, with the Pro models really only offering slightly better screens and better cameras. However, by reusing older chips in the lower-priced models, the value argument isn’t as strong. Plus, it’s hard to argue an iPhone 13 owner should get a 14 when there’s practically no difference between the devices.