Is this the real reason your iPhone 14 has a year-old A15 chip?

iPhone 14 Review
(Image credit: iMore / Stephen Warwick)

When Apple announced the iPhone 14 series in September 2022, it did something unusual. The company split the lineup, giving the high-end iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max a brand-new chip. The iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus, not so much.

With the iPhone 14 Pro models benefiting from the A16 Bionic, the less costly versions had to make do with the iPhone 14's A15 Bionic. Nobody would likely accuse the A15 Bionic of being a slow chip, but it was a decision that still irked some.

Now, a new report that looks at how much Apple's best iPhone costs to build could explain why Apple went that route in the first place.

Fast, but expensive

New data shared by Counterpoint Research and seen by 9to5Mac shows precisely how much it costs Apple to build the iPhone 14 Pro Max, with the handset being around 3.4% more expensive on Apple's side. In the United States, at least, the two phones initially retailed for the same amount.

However, while some of the components used in the iPhone 14 Pro Max got cheaper, the part that now costs more than the previous models is the A16 Bionic chip. Counterpoint Research says that there's an $11 delta between the two, perhaps explaining why Apple chose to save that money on the millions of non-Pro models it sells all around the globe.

To drive home the point, Counterpoint Research also says that the "processing" category, which includes the A16 Bionic, now makes up around 20% of the phone's entire cost of materials.

With that in mind, it makes plenty of sense for Apple to save the most costly part for its most expensive phones.

Other notable figures for the iPhone 14 Pro Max include that the mmWave 5G version of the phone costs $20 more to build.

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.