To nobody’s surprise, Apple unveiled its latest generation of iPhones at its ‘Wonderlust’ event today and while the standard iPhone 15 is still powered by Apple’s A16 chip, the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max will run its new A17 Pro chip. The new non-pro iPhone 15s will get the existing A16 chips.
While the A16 was only a minor upgrade from the A15, the new A17 Pro promises larger performance and efficiency gains, in part because Apple’s partners (likely TSMC) built it on a cutting-edge 3-nanometer process compared the the 4-nanometer process it used for the A16.
The A15 featured a 6-core CPU with 2 performance cores and 4 efficiency cores, as well as a 5-core GPU and Apple’s 16-core Neural Engine.
Now, the A17Pro will feature 6 CPU cores, with the 2 performance cores 10% faster and the efficiency cores significantly more efficient. The Neural Engine, Apple said, will be almost twice as fast.
As for the new GPU, Apple is introducing a completely new design. It’ll feature six cores that offer performance that is up to 20% faster than before, all while being more efficient. And for those gamers around you: the new GPU now supports ray tracing. Apple called this the “biggest redesign in the history of Apple GPUs.”
Since the iPhone now features a USB port, the silicon will also now support that, of course, with USB-C speeds up to 10gbps.
It’s interesting that Apple is switching up its naming conventions here. It typically only launched a single version of every phone chip and, in recent years, debuted it in the Pro version and then brought it to the non-Pro iPhones a year later. This new Pro moniker opens up the possibility of a non-Pro version that may power next year’s non-pro iPhones (maybe?).