The A17 chip designed for the iPhone 16 and iPhone 16 Plus will likely be made utilizing a essentially completely different manufacturing course of to the A17 Professional within the iPhone 15 Professional to chop prices, in accordance with a rumor that has now been clarified by a dependable supply.
A Weibo consumer who claims to be an built-in circuit professional with 25 years of expertise engaged on Intel’s Pentium processors was first to float the rumor in June. Now, the identical supply has clarified Apple’s obvious plan for its normal iPhones’ chip in 2024.
The iPhone 15 Professional’s A17 Professional chip is fabricated utilizing TSMC’s N3B course of, however Apple reportedly plans to modify to the lower-cost N3E course of for subsequent 12 months’s normal A17 chip designed for the iPhone 16 and iPhone 16 Plus. This can mark the primary time that Apple has designed a chip particularly for its normal iPhone fashions. In earlier years, Apple merely gave your entire iPhone lineup the identical chip earlier than staggering them by one 12 months between the usual and the Professional fashions beginning with 2022’s iPhone 14.
The A15 Bionic chip within the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus is a better binned variant with one extra GPU core than the A15 used within the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini, so some cross-generational variations regardless of outwardly that includes the identical chip wouldn’t be extraordinary, however this may successfully be the retention of the identical title on a essentially completely different chip.
N3B is TSMC’s authentic 3nm node created in partnership with Apple. N3E, then again, is the easier and cheaper node that the majority different TSMC purchasers will use. N3E has fewer EUV layers and decrease transistor density than N3B, leading to decrease effectivity. N3B has additionally been prepared for mass manufacturing for longer than N3E, but it surely has a lot decrease yield. N3B was successfully designed as a trial node and isn’t suitable with TSMC’s successor processes together with N3P, N3X, and N3S, that means that Apple has to revamp its future chips to reap the benefits of TSMC’s improvements.
Apple was initially believed to be planning to make use of N3B for the A16 Bionic chip, however needed to revert to N4 as a result of it was not prepared in time. It’s possible the case that Apple is utilizing the N3B CPU and GPU core design initially designed for the A16 Bionic within the A17 Professional, earlier than switching to the unique A17 designs with N3E later in 2024. This structure will presumably be iterated on by TSMC’s successor nodes for chips just like the “A18” and “A19.”
The Weibo consumer was first to say that the usual iPhone 14 fashions would retain the A15 Bionic chip, with the A16 being unique to the iPhone 14 Professional fashions – a rumor that went on to be broadly corroborated and turned out true. Earlier this month, Haitong Worldwide Securities analyst Jeff Pu corroborated the rumor about 2024’s A17 chip being fabricated with N3E, including that the iPhone 16 and iPhone 16 Plus will even characteristic 8GB of reminiscence, up from 6GB on the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus.