Few would claim that Apple’s iPhone 14 Pro was a letdown, but apparently it’s nowhere near as powerful as the company originally envisaged.
That’s according to multiple anonymous insider sources speaking to The Information, who claim that the A16 Bionic chip powering the handset was originally set to offer a “generational leap” in terms of graphics capabilities.
But Apple’s engineers were “too ambitious with adding new features” (including ray tracing: something more associated with PC gaming than smartphones) and the company eventually realised the new chipset would chew through battery life and turn the iPhone 14 Pro into a portable heater.
The heat and battery problems were reportedly discovered quite late in the day, with simulations suggesting everything was hunkydory. It was only when prototypes were produced that Apple realised it had to urgently change course.
That, according to the sources, explains why the iPhone 14 Pro feels a bit underwhelming in terms of raw power. With the new chipset off the table, Apple had to quickly build something based on the existing architecture, so performance isn’t significantly better than the A15 chip which powers both the vanilla iPhone 14 and previous generation iPhone 13 handsets.
This, in turn, may explain why we were spared Apple’s usual crowing about performance increases at this year’s September event — the numbers would all have been quite underwhelming. As such, we were treated to a single mention of a boost to the GPU memory bandwidth, which was unlikely to get any pulses racing.
The misstep is, according to the report, “unprecedented in the group’s history”. But the piece does point to possible trouble ahead in the Apple Silicon chip-making part of the business, with the company trying to stem a talent drain as employees consider moving to less demanding environments.
The report states that the flow of talent leaving has gotten so bad that Apple has prepared presentations showing that most chip startups fail — hopefully spruced up with some inappropriately cheery clipart.
You can read the whole report over at The Information.