Rumor of the Day: Only the iPhone 14 Pro Models Will Get the New A16 Chip

Ming-Chi Kuo finally has a Twitter account, and dropped this today:

According to Apple’s rules for naming iPhones, the four new 2H22 iPhones could be called iPhone 14 (6.1”), iPhone 14 Max (6.7”), iPhone 14 Pro (6.1”), and iPhone 14 Pro Max (6.7”).

Only two Pro models would upgrade to the A16 processor, while the 14 & 14 Max will remain the A15. All four new models will likely come with 6GB RAM, with the difference being LPDDR 5 (14 Pro & 14 Pro Max) vs. LPDDR 4X (14 & 14 Max).

Via Hartley Charlton at MacRumors, who reports in the comments that MacRumors confirmed with Kuo that is indeed his Twitter account.

If true, it’s impossible (for us) to know the reason. A TSMC production issue? A cost issue? Or perhaps it’s pure strategy, with Apple being confident that the A15 will remain ahead of the best Snapdragon chips from Qualcomm for another year (if not longer), and thus creating a new annual pattern where the very latest and greatest A-series chips only go in the iPhone Pro models, and the non-Pro models use the new chips from the previous year. Right now the Pro and non-Pro iPhones are differentiated primarily by cameras and external finishes (polished steel with matte glass vs. matte aluminum with polished glass).

If Kuo is correct, starting next year, Pro and non-Pro iPhones will be differentiated by their chip performance, too, and I would expect that to remain the case year after year. That makes sense to me — it’s true for Apple’s “Pro” models in the MacBook and iPad lineups.

Sunday, 13 March 2022