Apple was reported to have rejected TSMC’s earlier price hike of 6 percent, but the company may not have a choice in the matter. As 3nm wafer prices start to rise, it will become more costly to mass produce the A17 Bionic, forcing Apple to pay the premium and pass those increases on to customers.
New N3E Process May Be Used to Mass Produce the A17 Bionic, Which May Cost More Than TSMC’s N3
While there is no data on how much it costs TSMC’s for a 4nm wafer, DigiTimes reports that gradually, the company’s prices have gone up with each successive year. In 2020, wafer prices for the 5nm process were $16,000, and with its cutting-edge 3nm getting readied, it will cost $20,000 to customers, including Apple. Even if TSMC’s most lucrative customer was to negotiate price reductions, there are external factors that can determine the iPhone 15’s pricing, such as global inflation.
Apple’s A17 Bionic has been reported to get mass produced on TSMC’s N3E process, which is a step up from the N3 architecture, resulting in better performance and improved power efficiency. Unfortunately, it is more expensive to make, which means the SoC potentially powering the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Ultra could be pricier than the A16 Bionic. In fact, Apple reportedly paid twice as much for the A16 Bionic compared to the A15 Bionic, likely due to shifting from 5nm to 4nm, so that may give you a rough estimation of how much the new chipset can cost.
One report claimed that the A16 Bionic costs Apple around $110 to make, which is more than 10 percent of the iPhone 14 Pro’s retail price in the United States. The A17 Bionic’s price increase at an estimated $150 might ultimately force the iPhone 15 Pro to cross the $999 barrier, making it more difficult for consumers to get their hands on the more premium models. However, Apple does have plans to bring more exclusive features to the expensive lineup next year, so there might still be sufficient incentive for consumers to pick up one of these next year.
As for those who already own an iPhone 14 Pro or iPhone 14 Pro Max, we will never recommend upgrading every year but wait a minimum of two generations before picking up a flagship iPhone. With the way things are around the world economically, people should practice saving for a rainy day.