Apple did shock many of its fans when it launched the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus models back in 2022 without its latest processor. Both models were unveiled with the previous year’s A15 Bionic, which was an SoC manufactured using the 5nm process. The more expensive iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max models came with the latest Apple A16 Bionic instead, which used the newer 4nm manufacturing process. Apple went on to repeat the same with this year’s iPhone 15 launch, revealing yet another iPhone 15 model with last year’s A16 Bionic SoC, while the top-end Pro models received a brand-new A17 Pro SoC. While it seems like using old SoCs in its lower-priced iPhone is soon becoming a standard practice for Apple, it appears that this may not be the case with next year’s iPhone 16 range.
According to a report by Wccf Tech, which spoke to industry analyst Jeff Pu from Haitong Securities, Apple could offer the same new processor in next year’s base iPhone 16 models as the Pro models. Pu in the report claims that all new iPhone 16 models, which includes both the lower-priced iPhone 16 models and the high-end iPhone 16 Pro models will use the same A18 Pro processor, which will be announced by Apple next year. The analyst also states that the SoC will be manufactured by TSMC using its second-generation N3E 3nm process node.
This year’s iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max are indeed quite the leap in terms of processing power versus the high-end Qualcomm silicon powering premium Android smartphones this year. This is because Apple became the first company to release its own processor, which is manufactured using the more efficient 3nm process, versus the 4nm process which most Android smartphone manufacturers are currently utilising. This is expected to change when the first Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 SoC-powered smartphones arrive, which uses the more efficient 3nm manufacturing process.
The second-generation 3nm process node is expected to provide better yield allowing more processors to be manufactured on a single silicon wafer. TSMC currently uses the N3B process node to build Apple’s current generation A17 Pro processor. Efficiency in such processors is usually connected to the manufacturing process, because the drop in process nodes allows more transistors to be packed into the same space, which allows for more power and better efficiency, also letting the devices being powered by these processors last longer in terms of battery life.