Apple’s genius deal will keep iPhone 15 Pro’s 3nm A17 Bionic SoC ahead of rivals

Apple is benefitting from a deal it had struck with chipmaker TSMC that will make the latter an exclusive supplier of the 3nm A17 Bionic chipset for the iPhone 15 Pro. A clause in the deal is now minting money for Apple.

| Updated on: Aug 08 2023, 15:04 IST
iPhone 15 series tipped to get key upgrades! From display, camera to chipset, know details
iPhone 15
1/5 According to Mark Gurman, iPhone 15 Pro models may feature a new frame that will discard its stainless-steel edges for premium and lightweight titanium alloy. The Pro models will reportedly also retain the frosted glass back from the iPhone 14 series, with smoother edges connecting the sides and front compared to previous designs. (Unsplash)
iPhone 15
2/5 The Dynamic Island could become standard across the entire iPhone 15 lineup, while the Pro models could feature a near bezel-less display with the LIPO technology which allows for thinner borders and an expanded display area.  (Unsplash)
iPhone 15
3/5 The internal layout of the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max has reportedly been redesigned to align with its aluminium chassis, which can result in improved repairability, according to iFixit. (Unsplash)
iPhone 15
4/5 The iPhone 15 series could also feature a USB-C port, an upgraded rear camera along with improved lenses and the capacity for a wider optical zoom range. The iPhone 15 Pro Max in particular could get a periscope camera which could offer almost double the optical zoom as the current iPhones.   (Unsplash)
iPhone 15
5/5 The standard iPhone 15 models are expected to be powered by last year's A16 Bionic processor, while the Pro models may feature the 3-nm A17 Bionic SoC under the hood for improved performance. All these features could come at a cost as reports have hinted at a possible price increase. (Unsplash)
iPhone 15
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The TMSC deal will also ensure that Apple saves a fortune in the cost of the development of the 3nm chipsets. (Representative Image) (Unsplash)

Among many new updates and features coming to the upcoming iPhone 15 Pro, one, in particular, will make it the world's most powerful smartphone for quite some time. That tag will be given to it by its A17 Bionic chipset which is expected to be a 3nm processor, according to reports. It is expected that the 3nm chipset will give Apple its biggest major performance and efficiency boost in a smartphone since 2020 when the company made a switch from its 7nm chipset to the current 5nm one. On top of that, Apple has struck a genius deal with TSMC that will make the latter its exclusive manufacturer of the chipset for the first year or so. However, the genius of the deal lies in the fact that the cost of any defective chipset manufactured during the process will be borne by TSMC. That may not sound like a big deal, but actually, it is.

The Apple deal to bring the 3nm A17 Bionic to iPhone 15 Pro

According to a report by The Information, Apple's deal with TSMC includes two important clauses; first, the 3nm chipsets will be exclusively made for Apple for its first year (or a little longer, details of the exact duration are not clear), and second, TSMC will pay for any defective chipsets manufactured during the process. This is rumored to save Apple billions in manufacturing while claiming the rights to the most powerful smartphone chipset in the market. Notably, 1 out of 5 chips (at a rate of 70 to 80 percent are faulty and that adds up to a massive number.

If you are wondering how does this help TSMC, then the answer is pretty simple. Apple is the largest customer of TSMC, and with a large enough order size, it will make financial sense for the company to bear the cost of the faulty chips. Further, it also gives the company a chance to work out the kinks of the chipset and become more efficient at its manufacturing before opening it up to its other customers.

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Why is the 3nm chipset better than the current 5nm chipset?

It should be understood that the ‘3nm' is not the size of the chipset itself but the size of the transistors present on the chipset. Now, the smaller the size of the transistors, the higher the number of them that can be placed on the processor. A higher number of transistors will create a more powerful integrated circuit improving its performance and also allowing for better control of the flow of current, making it more efficient.

While the exact performance metrics can only be determined once the iPhone 15 Pro hits the market, it is expected that the smartphone will beat any smartphone in the market today and probably in the near future.

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First Published Date: 08 Aug, 15:03 IST