Forget iPhone 15, iPhone 16 could get an improved A17 chipset and extra RAM

 iphone 15 fan render
iphone 15 fan render

The iPhone 15 launch is big news right now, but a new iPhone 16 rumor may be trying to steal the thunder away from Apple’s newest flagship. The iPhone 16 and iPhone 16 Plus won’t arrive for another year, but a new report claims to know some of the hardware that may be coming to both phones.

According to analyst Jeff Pu (via MacRumors), both iPhone 16 models could come packing an “enhanced” version of the A17 Bionic chipset and 8GB of RAM. Pu also expects that RAM to be LPDDR5 memory, as we’ve already seen in the iPhone 14 Pro series, rather than the LPDDR4 memory used in the two standard models.

Getting the A17 Bionic chip in the iPhone 16 isn’t a huge surprise. Apple started saving its latest and best chipsets for the Pro models with the release of the iPhone 14 last year, and the iPhone 15 series is set to continue that example. But, according to Pu, the A17 inside the iPhone 16 may not be the same as the one coming to the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max.

Pu claims that next year’s A17 and A18 chipsets will be built using TMSC’s N3E process — an enhanced version of its 3nm fabrication process. This process will apparently be simpler and more accessible than the N3B node used on this year’s A17 chips, with fewer EUV layers and less transistor density.

MacRumors notes that this could cause a drop in efficiency, but could also lead to better overall performance. The site also notes that this rumor originally appeared back in June, over on Chinese social network Weibo. It was believed this change was a cost-cutting measure that would only affect next year’s A17 chips — now it seems the A18 Bionic may also be built using that same process.

What we don’t know right now is how different the 2024 A17 Bionic chip would be compared to its 2023 counterpart. The A15 Bionic received an additional GPU core when it made the jump from iPhone 13 to iPhone 14, but they were still basically the same chips. A brand new process for the next generation A17 could have much bigger consequences.

Right now we don’t even know how good the iPhone 15 Pro’s A17 Bionic chipset will perform, so it’s impossible to speculate about what might change. At the very least we know that upgrading to LPDDR5 RAM, and jumping from 6GB to 8GB,

In the meantime you can follow all the latest iPhone 15 news as it happens in our Apple event live blog. Or alternatively check out our iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro hubs for all the latest news and rumors about the next batch of iPhone flagships.

More from Tom's Guide