The iPhone 15 series will continue to utilize the A16 chip, with only the iPhone 15 Pro series adopting the A17 chip

In recent times, news concerning Apple’s A17 Bionic chip has been abundant; the A17 chip is one of Apple’s most advanced pieces to date, employing TSMC’s 3nm process, comprising 6 CPU cores and 6 GPU cores, with a main frequency of 3.7GHz. Its power consumption is reduced by 35% compared to the A16, theoretically suggesting a substantial enhancement in battery life.

Nevertheless, Apple continues to apply a cost-reduction strategy to clear inventory. The iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus will employ last year’s A16 chip, which uses TSMC’s 4nm process, hosting 5 GPU cores.

A17 Bionic yield rate

Conversely, the more expensive A17 chip will be featured in the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max. Its higher cost is not solely due to the utilization of the 3nm process but also to TSMC’s yield rate issues. Recently, Ming-Chi Kuo, a well-known analyst, elucidated the yield rate and pricing of TSMC’s chips fabricated for Apple.

According to Kuo, Apple’s contract with TSMC for chip manufacturing operates on a finished-product pricing scheme, rather than wafer pricing. This means Apple does not incur charges for defective products generated during TSMC’s manufacturing process; they pay only for the actual number of functional chips. Of course, TSMC has not been naive in this arrangement, and the finished-product pricing includes the losses incurred due to the yield rate.

Nevertheless, Kuo also noted that the cost of the A17 chip has indeed risen considerably. Therefore, Apple will use the A17 chip solely in its high-end series, while the iPhone 15 series continues to employ the A16 chip, thereby maintaining a lower cost.

In terms of memory, Apple remains steadfast with 6GB of RAM, implementing LPDDR5 6GB memory across both the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro series.