The A17 Pro chip promises iPhone 15 Pro performance the likes of which we've never seen before

iPhone 15 Pro
(Image credit: Apple)
iPHONE 15: What you need to know

Apple finally announced the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max during its Wonderlust event yesterday, complete with a new 3nm chip that promises to be quite the performant beast.

Dubbed A17 Pro, the new chip is only available in Apple's best iPhones with the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus having to make do with the A16 Bionic of last year's Pro models.

The new chip is the first to use TSMC's new 3nm manufacturing process and promises impressive performance — so impressive that Apple says we can expect console-level gaming from some of the biggest developers on the planet. Resident Evil Village, Resident Evil 4, Death Stranding, and Assassin’s Creed Mirage are all coming natively to iPhone, and it's thanks to A17 Pro.


Apple says that the new iPhones represent an industry-first in terms of that 3nm chip, with Apple claiming we should expect a CPU that's "up to 10 percent faster with microarchitectural and design improvements." The Neural Engine is also up to 2x faster, while the GPU is up to 20% faster thanks to a six-core design.

All of that means that the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro are capable of hardware-based ray tracing for improved gaming performance. The new chip also includes an AV1 decoder for improved video performance, while the additional USB controller allows the USB-C port to offer USB 3 data transfer speeds of up to 10Gbps.

Apple's press release also notes that the new Pro iPhones' A17 Pro enables a deep integration of hardware and software to create an even better camera experience.

"With the power of computational photography, the 48MP Main camera, built exclusively for the Pro lineup, gives users even more flexibility with a new 24MP super-high-resolution default, offering incredible image quality at a practical file size ideal for storing and sharing," Apple says. And that's before we get onto the new 5x optical zoom capabilities of the iPhone 15 Pro Max.

We're expecting Apple to announce a new 3nm M3 chip for the Mac before the end of 2023 and this A17 Pro should give Mac users hope for the performance levels it will offer, especially if games are a consideration.

We're covering all the Apple iPhone 15 event news and reactions now that Wonderlust is over. Don't miss all our iPhone 15, iPhone 15 Pro, iPhone 15 Pro Max, Apple Watch Series 9, Apple Watch Ultra 2, iOS 17and watchOS 10 coverage so far.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.