Why you shouldn't trust the latest worrying iPhone 16 rumor just yet

iPhone 15 Pro Max mockup beside an iPhone 14 Pro Max
(Image credit: Unbox Therapy)

A new report from someone who claims to have inside information about the iPhone 16 purports that the A17 chip used in that model will have a much different "cost-reducing" process that could see a dip in performance, but there's no reason to panic just yet. 

The new rumor about next year's 2024 iPhone 16 comes from someone on Weibo whose username roughly translates as "mobile phone chip master." That source recently claimed, "The A15 used in the iPhone15 pro and iPhone15 pro max stocked this year is an N3B process, but the A17 produced at some point in time next year will be switched to the cost-reducing N3E process, and the performance may be worse." 

The report, spotted by MacRumors, seems to suggest that the A17 chip expected to feature in the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max will not be the same A17 chip that trickles down to the iPhone 16 next year, with a major cost-cutting measure bringing a different process to the chip that could see it become less efficient. 

iPhone 16 chip drama

"N3B is TSMC's original ‌3nm‌ node created in partnership with Apple. N3E, on the other hand, is the simpler, more accessible node that most other TSMC clients will use. N3E has fewer EUV layers and lower transistor density than N3B, resulting in efficiency tradeoffs, but the process can provide better performance. N3B has also been ready for mass production for some time longer than N3E, but it has much lower yield," MacRumors notes. 

While this would be a bit of a blow to the prospects of the iPhone 16, there isn't any reason to worry just yet. For starters, the 3nm A17 chip will be so much more advanced than the iPhone 14 Pro's A16 chip that it will still be lightyears ahead of the iPhone 15's chip, even in its dumbed-down form. 

More importantly, however, this information comes from a random Weibo account that claims to have worked on Intel's Pentium processors for 25 years. We don't know who the account belongs to, and there's no reason to suggest it has inside information worth considering, as per nearly every other leak and rumor on the internet, it's likely not true. 

We know a lot more about the iPhone 15 expected in September, which will feature the A16 from the current best iPhone, the iPhone 14 Pro. Other upgrades include the Dynamic Island and a 48MP camera across the range, making this year's "regular" iPhone a fairly substantial upgrade. 

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.

Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9

  • Lee_Bo
    Um, because it’s a RUMOR???
    Reply
  • Annie_M
    In the NASCAR world, the season where it's announced that drivers will be changing teams at the end of the season, and all sorts of rumors fly. It's insane, and is called "silly season". This should be applied to the Apple rumor mill, except it would last for the ENTIRE year and beyond! It's gone way beyond silly...
    Reply
  • Just_Me_D
    We have not even seen the upcoming iPhone 15 series and it’s capabilities so there’s no reason to “worry” about next year's models.
    Reply
  • EdwinG
    Annie_M said:
    In the NASCAR world, the season where it's announced that drivers will be changing teams at the end of the season, and all sorts of rumors fly. It's insane, and is called "silly season". This should be applied to the Apple rumor mill, except it would last for the ENTIRE year and beyond! It's gone way beyond silly...
    It’s the same in Formula 1. It’s the six month period around summer break - 3 weeks in August usually.

    Even the length of the F1 silly season is beyond silly now, and it extends to team principals and staff as well.

    For Apple, we can start calling it “silly decade” 😂
    Reply