apple marketed the A16 Bionic chip in the iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max as being manufactured on a 4nm process. However, a new rumor suggests that the chip was actually internally labeled as a 5nm part, and not a 4nm one.
Apple A16 Bionic: 5nm chip internally, 4nm chip externally?
According to tipster @URedittor, the A16 Bionic chip was advertised as a 4nm chip but was actually referred to internally as a 5nm chip. If the tipster's claims are true, then Apple's marketing of the A16 Bionic chip as being manufactured on a 4nm process is nothing more than a marketing gimmick.
Jason Cross of Macworld also covered this topic back in October, after the launch of the iPhone 14 series. He analyzed the design of the A16 chip and concluded that it is mostly the same as the A15. Cross stated the point:
The chip is manufactured on a new “4 nanometer” process from TSMC, according to Apple, making it the first such processor in a smartphone. It's worth noting, however, that TSMC's “N4” process is not a 4nm process in the truest sense, with TSMC itself even calling it “an enhanced version of N5 technology.” While it's a more advanced process than earlier A series processors, it is not a real next-generation silicon manufacturing process.
Regardless, the leakster suggests that the Apple A17 Bionic chip will be made on a 3nm process, which could lead to a significant performance boost over the A16 Bionic. Previously, it was rumored that the A17 Bionic would be up to 31% faster than the A16 Bionic in single-core and multi-core tests.
This makes the upcoming iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max even more enticing, as they are said to be the only models that will be equipped with the A17 Bionic. The less expensive iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus are likely to be powered by the A16 Bionic.