Upcoming iPhone 15 Pro Models to Feature Improved A17 Chip Using TSMC’s 3nm Process

3nm chip

Apple’s forthcoming iPhone 15 Pro models are set to have an upgraded A17 processor based on TSMC’s 3-nanometer process. The upcoming A17 Bionic chip is expected to offer considerable performance gains and may cause a “replacement demand” among owners of older iPhones.

Citing suppliers who are part of Apple’s iPhone supply chain, the latest industry report from DigiTimes has indicated that TSMC’s N3E technology will enable significant specification upgrades in the forthcoming iPhone series.

The incorporation of TSMC’s 3nm technology in the A17 Bionic chip is anticipated to power the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max models. The new 3nm process is expected to offer a 35% power efficiency improvement over TSMC’s N4 fabrication process, which was used for the A16 Bionic chip in the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max. Additionally, the N3 technology is expected to provide significantly improved performance compared to current chips built on 5nm.

Despite the higher manufacturing costs involved in the new process, Apple has reportedly already procured all initial orders for the first-gen 3nm technology, while rival smartphone vendors like Samsung may wait for prices to come down amidst a bleak 2023 for the Android market due to global economic turbulence.

The faster A17 chips will be exclusive to the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max, while the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus will feature the A16 chip. TSMC is expected to start commercial production of N3E, an enhanced version of N3, in the second half of the year, and Apple is anticipated to be the first customer to use this process.

Moreover, the iPhone 15 Pro models are expected to come with a range of new features, including USB-C, solid-state volume and power buttons, periscope camera technology, and a modified design. These upgrades may push those with increasingly outmoded iPhones to upgrade to the new models to take advantage of the improved performance and new features.

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