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Don’t Be Alarmed, Apple’s iPhone 14 Is Sticking To Last Year’s Chip

There’s more to it than profits and cutting costs

iPhone 14 same processor iPhone 13
Source: Apple.

The iPhone 14 and 14 Plus announced at Apple’s Far Out event are familiar.

You’d be forgiven if you think there’s little to no change under the hood from last year’s iPhone 13, even with a glance at the sequel’s spec sheet. While the battery (reportedly 26 hours long) and cameras (49% more light captured) have received noteworthy upgrades, little else has changed. The iPhone 14 has the same notch, the same 60 Hz display (a crime at $799), and most importantly, the same A15 Bionic chip.

Well, almost the same A15 Bionic.

The iPhone 14 borrows its guts from last year’s premium iPhone 13 Pro, an A15 Bionic with an extra GPU core (5 in total) for an extra boost in graphics performance. Thanks to a less power-hungry screen and hardware optimizations, it’s no surprise that the base iPhone 14 offers better battery life than its pricier 14 Pro sibling.

But the iPhone 14 Pro gets a real upgrade, complete with new cameras, the A16 Bionic processor, and a pill-shaped notch on its silk-smooth 120 Hz display. While the $999 price tag is a hard pill to swallow, the 14 retains the $799 price of its predecessor with little to show for it.

But here’s why an old processor isn’t a bad idea.

iPhone 14 same processor iPhone 13
Source: Apple.

The iPhone 14‘s old A15 Bionic chip is still a powerhouse

Apple isn’t the first manufacturer to rehash an old processor. It’s a trend that has been growing in the Android space for a while. But while Android smartphone makers like Xiaomi have been using yesteryear’s chips to offer flagship performance at midrange prices, Apple doesn’t quite go that route. That’s because Apple’s old chips can still give Qualcomm’s latest a run for their money.

Case in point, a vague graph Apple showed at its event. I’m kidding.

Thank goodness benchmarks are a thing.

And the numbers don’t lie. Last year’s A15 Bionic packs a punch, edging out new chips like Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, found in most of 2022’s Android flagships. Apple’s tight integration between its hardware and software means that the iPhone 14 could chug along for years alongside rival phones. And while I’m worried about the number of updates it’ll receive, the move might also mean that last year’s iPhone 13 will remain relevant for a while.

Performance isn’t the only criterion though. Pricing is just as important.

iPhone 14 same processor iPhone 13
Source: Apple.

A year of optimized design makes the A15 Bionic easier to make

This is the first time Apple isn’t updating its iPhones to a new processor since 2008's iPhone 3G. While I’m not going to draw parallels between the present and 2008's economic slowdown, things aren’t great in 2022 either.

With inflation driving up prices for both manufacturers and customers, it’s a miracle that Apple has managed to hit the same price points as last year’s iPhones. A part of that win can be attributed to Apple’s decision to mass-produce a chip it already has experience with, the A15 Bionic. And with the silicon shortage far from over, it’s a wise move from Apple that guarantees its ability to meet demand this holiday season.

While I remain skeptical of the tech giant’s confidence when it comes to pricing, Apple tried its best to stay competitive among its premium rivals.

Sure, the iPhones lack folding displays and novel camera tech. But in the reliability department, none can contest the Cupertino giant’s advantage.

The A15 Bionic is still speedy enough for just about anything you throw at it.

Apple decided to upgrade components that would offer the greatest value to the majority of its customers. Battery and camera upgrades are definitely a smart choice. And getting the larger 6.7-inch iPhone 14 Plus for $899 is an option Apple hasn’t provided in years.

People still love the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” design of the iPhone 14. The iPhone 4-esque flat screens and aluminum rails remain just as compelling in 2022. I just wish the iPhone 14 didn’t stay the same on the inside as well.

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Antony Terence

Antony Terence

0.2M+ views. 5x Top Writer. Warping between games, tech, and fiction. Yes, that includes to-do lists. Words in IGN, Kotaku AU, SUPERJUMP, The Startup, and more.