Apple’s iPhone 16 Breaks Ground with Custom A-Series Chip for Base Models

The Apple A17 chip will undergo a distinct manufacturing procedure compared to the A17 Pro found in the iPhone 15 Pro. It is worth mentioning that A17 Chip is intended for the iPhone 16 and ‌iPhone 16‌ Plus.

In June, the myth was initially spread by a user on Weibo who identified himself as an integrated circuit expert and claimed to have worked for Intel for the past 25 years on their Pentium processors. Now, the same insider has shed light on Apple’s apparent plan for the processor. These processors will be installed in standard iPhones in 2024.

The A17 Pro chip in the iPhone 15 Pro was manufactured using TSMC’s N3B process. However, it has been rumored that Apple plans to switch to the more cost-effective N3E process for the normal A17 processor that will be created for the iPhone 16 and iPhone 16 Plus in the coming year.

Apple is going to make history with this endeavor. It will be the first time that the company has created a chip tailored particularly for its regular iPhone models. In past years, Apple simply provided every model in the iPhone range with the same CPU. However, beginning with the iPhone 14 in 2022, the company will stagger the release of the chip between the ordinary and the Pro models by one year.

The A15 Bionic chip found in the ‌iPhone 14‌ and ‌‌‌iPhone 14‌‌‌ Plus is an upgraded version with an additional GPU core compared to the A15 chip used in the ‌iPhone 13‌ and ‌‌‌iPhone 13‌‌‌ mini. Therefore, it is possible to observe certain differences between these generations, despite the chips having the same name. This implies that the same name is being used for a chip that has undergone fundamental changes.

N3B is TSMC’s first 3nm node, which they made with Apple’s help. Another type of TSMC client that most people will use is N3E, which is easier to use and costs less. N3E is less efficient than N3B because it has fewer EUV layers and fewer transistors per square inch.

There has been a lot more time to make N3B than N3E, but it has a much smaller yield. N3B was basically made as a test node. It doesn’t work with TSMC’s newer processes, like N3P, N3X, and N3S. This means that Apple will have to rethink its future chips to use TSMC’s new ideas.

Apple was thought to have planned to use N3B for the A16 Bionic chip at first. They had to switch back to N4 because it wasn’t ready in time. It’s possible that Apple is using the N3B CPU and GPU core design that was first made for the A16 Bionic in the A17 Pro. Later in 2024, they will switch back to the original A17 designs with N3E. This design is likely to be improved by TSMC’s next generation of chips, such as the A18 and A19.

The Weibo user first reported that the ordinary iPhone 14 would use the A15 Bionic chip. Whereas, the Pro models would have the A16 chip. This rumor was widely confirmed and proved accurate. Earlier this month, Haitong International Securities analyst Jeff Pu confirmed the 2024 iPhone 16 and 16 Plus will have 8GB of RAM and use the N3E A17 CPU.

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