Apple is widely expected to switch to a 3-nanometer fabrication process for its A17 Bionic chip in this year’s flagship iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max. This will lead to a combination of performance and efficiency improvements, and the switchover is now being corroborated by yet another report…
In a preview of a paywalled report today, Digitimes reiterates that the flagship iPhone models coming later this year will use 3nm chips fabricated by TSMC. This chip will presumably be branded as the “A17 Bionic” by Apple.
Digitimes will publish the full report on this transition tomorrow, so for now there aren’t many details available. “Apple’s next-generation iPhone slated for launch this fall is expected to feature 3nm chips fabricated by TSMC, according to industry sources,” today’s preview of the full report says.
What this means for iPhone 15 Pro performance
The switch to 3nm transistors is expected to be a major boon for Apple Silicon performance. The previous three Apple Silicon chips, the A14 Bionic, A15 Bionic, and A16 Bionic, were all fabricated using a 5nm process.
The “nanometer” fabrication size for a chip represents the distance between transistors on the chip. The smaller the distance, the better the performance and efficiency.
As always, Apple may strike its own balance between efficiency and performance improvements. The company could lean more heavily into efficiency, thereby focusing on things like battery life improvements and opting for smaller performance gains. It could also do the inverse and keep battery life and efficiency roughly the same, while drastically increasing performance capabilities.
This year, Apple is expected to continue bifurcating the iPhone lineup based on processor technology. We expect the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus to use last year’s A16 Bionic, while the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro max (or iPhone Ultra?) to use the A17 Bionic.
Beyond the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max, the A17 Bionic processor will also serve as the basis for the M3 chips that Apple will use in the Mac and future iPad models.
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