Earlier this year, multiple sources reported that the updated A16 Bionic chip will be exclusive to the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max this year. While Apple’s decision was initially attributed to the ongoing global chip shortage, TF Securities Ming-Chi Kuo reports that this will become the norm moving forward. Non-Pro iPhones will not pack the latest chip in order for Apple to promote exclusivity of Pro models and subsequently, sell more higher-end iPhones.
Apple looking to increase iPhone 14 Pro shipments by promoting A16 chip exclusivity, says Kuo
Apple is widely expected to announce four models for the iPhone 14 lineup this year, the 6.1-inch iPhone 14, 6.7-inch iPhone 14 Max, 6.1-inch iPhone 14 Pro, and a 6.7-inch iPhone 14 Pro Max. While there is considerable excitement about a new screen size for the standard iPhone, the majority of significant rumored updates will remain exclusive to the Pro models.
The standard iPhone 14 model will feature the same design as its predecessor with the same A15 chip. On the other hand, the Pro models are expected to get a new pill + hole punch cutout for the display, major camera upgrades as well as rumored features like an always-on display.
In the past, Apple has kept some elements exclusive to its higher-end iPhones. However, the internals were always upgraded each year for every model. In a new blog post, Kuo highlighted the differences between this year’s non-Pro and Pro models. These upgrades will likely make the iPhone 14 Pro models more attractive to consumers which in turn would help drive sales.
The latest A16 processor will be exclusive to two iPhone 14 Pro/high-end models, significantly boosting the shipment proportion of new iPhone high-end models in 2H22 to 55-60% (vs. 40–50% in the past).
Apple will not be the only beneficiary of this strategy, component suppliers will also benefit from a higher shipment volume. High–end camera component suppliers are expected to benefit the most.
The marked increase in the shipment proportion of iPhone 14 high-end models benefits the major high-end component suppliers of the rear camera, including Sony (CIS), Largan (lens), Alps (VCM/OIS), and LG Innotek (CCM).
According to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman and Kuo, the Pro models will feature an upgraded front camera. As revealed by Kuo, the front camera will also feature autofocus which will offer sharper images and improved picture quality. Furthermore, the camera will also have a 6-element lens instead of a 5-element lens, which will also add to the image quality.
The rear-end camera for the Pro models will be upgraded to 48MP. The bump will also enable 8K video recording, up from the iPhone 13 Pro’s 12MP camera and 4K video recording capabilities. 8K video recording has not been added to any iPhone model as of now but is commonly available on flagship Android smartphones.