Apple introduces the first 3nm smartphone chipset, the A17 Pro, for the iPhone 15 Pro models

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Apple introduces the first 3nm smartphone chipset, the A17 Pro, for the iPhone 15 Pro models
The iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max will be powered, as expected, by an application processor (AP) manufactured by TSMC using its 3nm process node. There was one surprise during today's event, the chipset has a new name. Instead of being called the A17 Bionic, Apple is borrowing from its M-series chips and is calling the new AP powering the iPhone 15 Pro models the A17 Pro. Thanks to deals Apple had with TSMC, the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max will be the only major handsets this year using a 3nm SoC.

The smaller feature set means that Apple can squeeze 3 billion more transistors inside the A17 Pro compared to the A16 Bionic. That is a 19% higher transistor count and means that there are 19 billion transistors inside the A17 Pro. The A17 Pro will have a six-core CPU with two performance cores that run 10% faster. A new 6-core design will improve peak performance and energy efficiency.


 The new GPU, which Apple is calling "Pro-Class," runs 20% faster but still is efficient when it comes to using the battery. Hardware-accelerated ray tracing is four times faster than software-based ray tracing, allowing for smoother graphics while gaming. The Neural Engine is now two times faster and performs up to 35 trillion operations per second. This will improve the AI and Machine Learning capabilities of the iPhone 15 Pro models. The new AV1 decoder found in the A17 Pro will deliver high-quality video content on the phones.

Apple is continuing the tradition of giving the non-Pro models, in this case, the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus, the hand-me-down chip from the prior generation's Pro models. In other words, the non-Pro iPhone 15 handsets will be powered by the A16 Bionic currently found inside the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus. While this is the last generation silicon, the A16 Bionic is still a very capable chipset.
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