All iPhone 16 models could use the iPhone 15 Pro's cutting-edge chip tech — what we know

iPhone 15 Pro shown in hand
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The chips powering the iPhone 16 and iPhone 16 Pro could have a surprising level of similarity when they launch next year, says analyst Jeff Pu of Haitong Securities (via Wccftech).

All of the iPhone 16 series' chipsets will allegedly be built on a similar 3-nanometer process to the one that the iPhone 15 Pro's A17 Pro chip uses, Pu explains. The new chips will use an improved second generation of 3nm manufacturing rather than the first-gen one that builds the iPhone 15 Pro's silicon though, which will make for more powerful chips and fewer defects during construction.

Despite using the same underlying tech, there would apparently not be a complete change to Apple's current two-chip system for its iPhones. There would still be a superior Pro version for the more expensive iPhone 16s, according to Pu, but the basic iPhones' chip will be brand-new, unlike previous years where the cheaper iPhones have received the chip from the previous year's Pro models.

Do standard iPhones need this much power?

Moving to the latest chip tech, especially when Apple's currently the only company using it in smartphones, could offer the standard iPhone 16s an extra-large power boost, but it could be an unnecessary upgrade. Apple's older chips still beat Android rivals with ease on benchmarks and real-life tests, so it would be a presumably more expensive than the usual upgrade for very little gain. 

Equally, Apple could be smart to lean into the performance of its chips even harder as a big selling point for its phones. Pro-level iPhones could still remain differentiated by their more powerful cameras and more sophisticated screen technology, but ensuring all iPhones offer equally strong CPU and GPU specs would reinforce their status as the best-performing phones on the market.

It would fit in well with Apple's interest in console-grade gaming on iPhones too, as seen by the incoming iOS versions of Assassin's Creed Mirage, Resident Evil Village and Resident Evil 4 Remake.

The iPhone 16 and iPhone 16 Pro are still the best part of a year away, so there's still time for things to change. Pu himself has been known to retract claims when new information comes in too, so while there's some potential logic to Apple making this move, keep an eye on our rumor hubs to see what happens 

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Richard Priday
Assistant Phones Editor

Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.