Apple has announced that the regular iPhone won’t be getting a new processor this year — instead, the iPhone 14 and 14 Plus will be powered by Apple’s A15 Bionic chip, the same chip that’s in the iPhone 13 Pro — though it does have a bit more grunt than the A15 that was in the regular iPhone 13 and the $429 iPhone SE from earlier this year, thanks to an extra GPU core. This is the first time that Apple’s not updating to a new processor for one of its flagship iPhones since the 2008 iPhone 3G, which featured virtually the same internals as the original iPhone.
The iPhone 14 Pro, meanwhile, has an A16 processor, which the company says is more power efficient, even when doing intensive tasks. The raw specs of the new chip are similar, though — like the A15 in the regular 14, it has a six-core CPU, a five-core GPU, and a 16-core Neural Engine. The new version just has better cores, according to Apple.
The decision not to update the chipset for the standard iPhone 14 isn’t exactly a surprising one. Analysts like Ming-Chi Kuo and reporters like Mark Gurman have been predicting the move for months, and the chip shortage isn’t quite over yet. Using tried and true chips that Apple’s manufacturer already has experience making could help ensure that there are enough processors to meet demand. The older chip could also keep prices down at a time when inflation is bumping up the cost of other gadgets.
While potential iPhone 14 buyers probably won’t have to worry too much about performance — the A15 still outperforms the latest chips from Qualcomm and Google in most benchmarks — there is the question of longevity. While Apple has a great track record when it comes to long-term software support for its phones, I still have to wonder if the iPhone 14’s chip means that it’ll get one or two fewer iOS updates.