As the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro launch draws closer, we're seeing more last-minute details pop up in the lead-up to Apple's "Far Out" September event. It's clear the 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max are set to steal the spotlight from the standard models, as a new report confirms the base models aren't getting an A16 upgrade.
According to a report from The Wall Street Journal (via MacRumors), the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus will use an "enhanced version" of the A15 Bionic — the chip found in the iPhone 13. If true, this will be the first time the Cupertino tech giant keeps its annual chip upgrade exclusive to the Pro models, and it could be a recurring trend for future iPhone lineups.
While it's unclear how "enhanced" this A15 Bionic will be, the word around town is it will be the iPhone 13 Pro's version of the chip. This includes a 5-core GPU that delivers a 25% boost in graphics performance over the standard iPhone 13 (4-core GPU). Other than that, it still has the same 6-core CPU, meaning the iPhone 14 and 14 Plus will have the same performance as the iPhone 13.
This isn't the first we've heard of a lack of A16 in the iPhone 14 and 14 Plus, as reputable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo stated only the iPhone 14 Pro models will come equipped with the upgraded A16 processor earlier this year. He also notes that all iPhones will come with 6GB of RAM, but only the Pro models would be getting a bump to LPDDR5 RAM, while the standard models will once again use LPDDR4X RAM.
Is it time to go (iPhone) Pro?
Without the A16's performance upgrade in the standard iPhone 14 models, Apple is giving little reason to not just stick with the iPhone 13 or 13 Pro. What's more, only the Pro models are expected to get an upgraded 48MP main camera, an always-on display, a redesigned pill-shaped notch, and more.
This year, it looks like Apple is making a big push to further widen the gap between its Pro models and standard models, with a recent rumor from analyst Mark Gurman stating the iPhone Pros are also expected to come with bigger batteries.
The A16 processor is tipped to move to a 4-nanometer process from the current 5nm process, meaning a larger performance jump. A Macworld article attempted to quantify it and came up with a 15% CPU boost, a 25-30% GPU jump, and the most dramatic change a 50% increase in memory bandwidth.
That's all well and good for those opting for the Pro, but those eyeing up the iPhone 14 are left with the same performance as the 13 Pro. Not that we need that performance bump. As you'll find in our Galaxy S22 vs. iPhone 13, Pixel 6 Pro vs. iPhone 13 Pro, and other face-offs, the A15 chip wipes the floor when it comes to performance by a long shot. Even the A14 chip in the iPhone 12 and A13 in my iPhone SE (2020) continues to shine.
Still, this is another reason why many should skip the iPhone 14, and maybe go from the iPhone 14 Pro (even though that $100 price hike seems to be a lock). Nothing is set in stone, however, and it won't be much longer until we get full details at the Apple event tomorrow. Oh, and don't forget about the Apple Watch Series 8 and possible AirPods Pro 2 announcement.