Here's why the iPhone 15 Pro chipset could be unbeatable at launch

iPhone 15 concept by 4RMD
(Image credit: 4RMD/YouTube)

The iPhone 15 Pro's rumored 3-nanometer A17 chipset is not only expected to be a uniquely powerful chip among smartphones, but new reporting from The Information claims this chip will have another key benefit for Apple.

Apple apparently has a special agreement with TSMC, the chip maker that builds the chipsets for iPhones, Macs and so on, one which has been in place since 2014 when Apple made its first order with TSMC for iPhone 6 chips. To summarise, the deal means TSMC has to pay for any defects found while building the new chips, saving Apple from having to pay billions of dollars for fixes.

Currently, it's estimated that between 20 and 30% of the chips currently being produced are defective. This is an expected consequence of developing an all-new manufacturing process, and an expensive one, which is why it's quite the coup for Apple to get TSMC to swallow the costs.

The benefit for TSMC in this deal is the size and reliability of Apple's orders, which are fairly consistent thanks to the iPhone's success. This ensures a steady supply of funds for TSMC, and the ideal opportunity to develop its new chip tech, like the 3nm node. Once 3nm orders are open to other companies (Intel's said to be next in line), TSMC will be able to benefit from this period even further by being able to guarantee the quality of its products.

A key advantage for Apple 

The Information believes this unique deal between Apple and TSMC has helped keep the price of the iPhone stable even as manufacturing costs rise elsewhere. Unfortunately, it seems we're still due for a price increase this year, with up to a $100 - $200 increase tipped by several sources.

The 3nm process itself is key to why the A17 chip could be so impressive. A chip using this process should be smaller, more powerful and more power efficient than other chips, which could let the iPhone 15 Pro beat its rivals on performance with ease.

We're hoping to see many other features announced at the expected Apple September Event (allegedly happening on September 12 or 13) that'll make the iPhone 15, iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max highly attractive and competitive phones. Big changes to keep an eye our for include the Lightning port being swapped to USB-C, a new Action button on the Pro models in place of the old mute slider, and a periscope telephoto camera capable of up to 6x zoom on the Pro Max model. 

More from Tom's Guide

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.