iPhone 16 to Feature First A-Series Chip Designed Specifically for Standard Models

The A17 chip designed for the iPhone 16 and ‌iPhone 16‌ Plus will be made using a fundamentally different manufacturing process to the A17 Pro in the iPhone 15 Pro to cut costs, according to a rumor that has now been clarified by a reliable source.

A17 Feature Dark
A Weibo user who claims to be an integrated circuit expert with 25 years of experience working on Intel's Pentium processors was first to float the rumor in June. Now, the same source has clarified Apple's apparent plan for its standard iPhones' chip in 2024.

The ‌iPhone 15 Pro‌'s A17 Pro chip is fabricated using TSMC's N3B process, but Apple reportedly plans to switch to the lower-cost N3E process for next year's standard A17 chip designed for the ‌iPhone 16‌ and ‌iPhone 16‌ Plus. This will mark the first time that Apple has designed a chip specifically for its standard iPhone models. In previous years, Apple simply gave the entire ‌iPhone‌ lineup the same chip before staggering them by one year between the standard and the Pro models starting with 2022's iPhone 14.

The A15 Bionic chip in the ‌iPhone 14‌ and ‌‌‌iPhone 14‌‌‌ Plus is a higher binned variant with one additional GPU core than the A15 used in the ‌iPhone 13‌ and ‌‌‌iPhone 13‌‌‌ mini, so some cross-generational differences despite outwardly featuring the same chip would not be unheard of, but this would effectively be the retention of the same name on a fundamentally different chip.

N3B is TSMC's original 3nm node created in partnership with Apple. N3E, on the other hand, is the simpler and cheaper node that most other TSMC clients will use. N3E has fewer EUV layers and lower transistor density than N3B, resulting in lower efficiency. N3B has also been ready for mass production for longer than N3E, but it has much lower yield. N3B was effectively designed as a trial node and is not compatible with TSMC's successor processes including N3P, N3X, and N3S, meaning that Apple has to redesign its future chips to take advantage of TSMC's innovations.

Apple was originally believed to be planning to use N3B for the A16 Bionic chip, but had to revert to N4 because it was not ready in time. It is likely the case that Apple is using the N3B CPU and GPU core design originally designed for the A16 Bionic in the A17 Pro, before switching to the original A17 designs with N3E later in 2024. This architecture will presumably be iterated on through TSMC's successor nodes for chips like the "A18" and "A19."

The Weibo user was first to say that the standard ‌iPhone 14‌ models would retain the A15 Bionic chip, with the A16 being exclusive to the ‌iPhone 14‌ Pro models – a rumor that went on to be widely corroborated and turned out true. Earlier this month, Haitong International Securities analyst Jeff Pu corroborated the rumor about 2024's A17 chip being fabricated with N3E, adding that the ‌iPhone 16‌ and ‌iPhone 16‌ Plus will also feature 8GB of memory, up from 6GB on the iPhone 15 and ‌iPhone 15‌ Plus.

Related Roundup: iPhone 16

Top Rated Comments

siddavis Avatar
10 weeks ago
Yay, more artificial crapping on the standard models to upsell!
Longing for the days of "This is iPhone"
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Mrkevinfinnerty Avatar
10 weeks ago

A17 Standard?
A17 peasant :oops:
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Kazgarth Avatar
10 weeks ago
But according to TSMC published data N3E node is better than N3B in both power and efficiency.

Attachment Image
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
JCCL Avatar
10 weeks ago

Respect for those who got the 15, but I’m so glad I decided to hold off.
This actually means that the standard iPhone 16 model would be of lesser value comparable to the value provided by iPhone 15, at least in terms of performance:
Today, the iPhone 15, features the CPU of last years flagship, the iPhone 14 Pro. Next year, the iPhone 16, will feature a lesser version of today's flagship CPU. So not sure how it validates your decision.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
abatabia Avatar
10 weeks ago
Respect for those who got the 15, but I’m so glad I decided to hold off.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Mac Fly (film) Avatar
10 weeks ago
“To cut costs”

Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iOS 17

iOS 17.2 Will Add These 12 New Features to Your iPhone

Friday December 1, 2023 12:19 pm PST by
iOS 17.2 has been in beta testing for over a month, and it should be released to all users in a few more weeks. The software update includes many new features and changes for iPhones, including the dozen that we have highlighted below. iOS 17.2 is expected to be released to the public in mid-December. To learn about even more features coming in the update, check out our full list. Journal ...
iOS 17

Apple Releases iOS 17.1.2 With Security Fixes

Thursday November 30, 2023 10:12 am PST by
Apple today released iOS 17.1.2 and iPadOS 17.1.2, small updates to the iOS 17 and iPadOS 17 operating systems that Apple introduced in September. iOS 17.1.2 and iPadOS 17.1.2 come a few weeks after the release of iOS 17.1.1, another bug fix update. iOS 17.1.2 and iPadOS 17.1.2 can be downloaded on eligible iPhones and iPads over-the-air by going to Settings > General > Software Update....
iOS 17

28 New Things Your iPhone Can Do in December's iOS 17.2 Update

Friday December 1, 2023 2:57 am PST by
Apple made the first beta of iOS 17.2 available to developers in October. Since then we've seen three more betas, and with each iteration Apple continues to add more new features and changes, many of which users have been anticipating for quite a while. Below, we've listed 28 new things that are coming to your iPhone when the finalized version is publicly released this December. 1. Help...
apple card 1

Apple Ending Apple Card Partnership With Goldman Sachs

Tuesday November 28, 2023 3:09 pm PST by
Apple is ending its credit card partnership with Goldman Sachs, according to The Wall Street Journal. Apple plans to stop working with Goldman Sachs in the next 12 to 15 months, and it is not yet clear if Apple has established a new partnership for the Apple Card. Apple and Goldman Sachs will dissolve their entire consumer partnership, including the Apple Card and the Apple Savings account....
iOS 17

Everything New in iOS 17.2 Beta 4

Tuesday November 28, 2023 12:18 pm PST by
Apple is wrapping up development on iOS 17.2, with the update expected to come out in December. While we're getting to the end of the beta testing period, Apple is still tweaking features and adding new functionality. We've rounded up everything new in the fourth beta of iOS 17.2. Default Notification Sound Under Sounds & Haptics, there's a new "Default Alerts" section that allows you to ...
iPhone 16 Mock Header Updated 1

iPhone 16 to Include Action Button Across Entire Lineup

Thursday November 30, 2023 4:08 pm PST by
The release of the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max saw the introduction of an entirely new user-configurable button known as the Action button, and now, MacRumors has seen extensive evidence confirming Apple is planning to include the Action button on the entire iPhone 16 range. Designs and plans for the Action button date back to at least 2021, as the button was intended for release alongside hapt...
anker new xmas

Anker's Cyber Week Sale Enters Final Days With Up to 60% Off Sitewide

Friday December 1, 2023 12:05 pm PST by
Anker's Black Friday/Cyber Week event is entering its final days this weekend, and it's still offering up to 60 percent off sitewide. There are also a few "mystery boxes" that can include hundreds of dollars in savings, if you're willing to risk not knowing what you're buying ahead of time. All of these sales will end on December 3. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Anker. When you...
paramount plus logo

Apple and Paramount Considering Discounted TV+ Streaming Bundle

Friday December 1, 2023 4:40 am PST by
Apple and Paramount have discussed bundling their TV streaming services at a discount, according to a new report by The Wall Street Journal. The companies have talked about offering a combination of Paramount+ and Apple TV+ that would cost less than subscribing to both services separately, according to people familiar with the discussions. The discussions are in their early stages, and it is ...
General Apps Messages

Green Bubbles on iPhone to Gain These 7 New Features Next Year

Thursday November 30, 2023 9:00 am PST by
Earlier this month, Apple announced that it will finally support RCS in the Messages app on the iPhone starting later next year. This change will result in several improvements to the messaging experience between iPhones and Android devices. RCS will become the new default standard for messaging between iPhones and Android devices, but these conversations will still have green bubbles like...