The iPhone 16 tipped to get a serious chip upgrade

iPhone 15 Plus review front angled
(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

For the last few years, Apple has reserved its most performant chips for the best iPhones, which right now are the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max. The regular iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus, on the other hand, have been outfitted with last year’s A16 Bionic chip instead of the newer A17 Pro.

The difference this year was widened because the A17 Pro is made using a 3-nanometer process, which allows for better performance and efficiency than the 5nm A16 Bionic. Next year, though, that could all change.

That’s because tech industry analyst Jeff Pu (via Wccftech) claims the entire iPhone 16 range will be kitted out with 3nm chips. That should produce a performance uptick in every iPhone. But the effects will be especially strong with the iPhone 16, as it will make the leap to improved 3nm chips for the first time.

That’s great news for anyone who's put off by the prices of Apple’s high-end iPhones. Apple’s iPhone chips are already far ahead of those found inside the best Android phones, and if this rumor pans out, the iPhone 16 could be a superb device for anyone after top-notch performance without the eye-watering price tag.

Upgrades across the board

iPhone 15 Pro Max

(Image credit: Future / Lance Ulanoff)

Apple’s iPhone chips are made by a company called TSMC, and Pu says the iPhone 16 range will adopt TSMC’s second-generation 3nm process, dubbed N3E. This offers numerous benefits over the first-generation N3B process.

As well as better performance, N3E could help to extend the battery life of future iPhones by using less power to achieve high performance. Blending power and efficiency has been a hallmark of Apple’s chips in recent years, helping them offer something none of their rivals can quite match.

Pu explains that the entry-level iPhone 16 devices will use an A18 Bionic chip, while the Pro models will come with an A18 Pro chip. We don’t yet know the specifics of these chips, but it’s possible further details will emerge as we get closer to the expected September 2024 launch date.

All this means that next year’s iPhones could bring significant upgrades, regardless of whether you look at the entry-level or flagship models. And if you’re thinking of upgrading, that’s great news whatever your budget.

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Alex Blake
Freelance Contributor

Alex Blake has been fooling around with computers since the early 1990s, and since that time he's learned a thing or two about tech. No more than two things, though. That's all his brain can hold. As well as TechRadar, Alex writes for iMore, Digital Trends and Creative Bloq, among others. He was previously commissioning editor at MacFormat magazine. That means he mostly covers the world of Apple and its latest products, but also Windows, computer peripherals, mobile apps, and much more beyond. When not writing, you can find him hiking the English countryside and gaming on his PC.