Apple’s news about its A17 Bionic chip has been abundant lately. The A17 chip is one of Apple’s most advanced, utilizing TSMC’s 3nm process. It contains six CPU cores and six GPU cores, running at a clock speed of 3.7GHz. Compared to the A16, its power consumption is 35% lower, theoretically increasing battery life.
However, Apple still uses a cost-cutting inventory-clearance strategy for the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus, employing last year’s A16 chip with TSMC’s 4nm process and five GPU cores.
The more expensive A17 chip will be used in the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max. Its higher cost is not just because of the 3nm process but also TSMC’s yield rate issues. Last night, Tianfeng International’s Mr. Guo explained TSMC’s chip yield rate and pricing for Apple’s contracted production.
According to Mr. Guo, Apple uses a finished product pricing model with TSMC, rather than a wafer pricing model. Thus, Apple does not pay for the defective chips created during TSMC’s manufacturing process but only for the usable ones. Of course, TSMC has incorporated the yield loss into the finished product pricing.
Even so, Mr. Guo mentioned that the cost of the A17 chip has risen significantly. Therefore, Apple uses the A17 chip only in its high-end series, while the iPhone 15 series continues to use the A16 chip, lowering costs.
In terms of memory, Apple continues to stick with 6GB of RAM, whether for the iPhone 15 or the iPhone 15 Pro series, all employing LPDDR5 6GB memory.