The iPhone 15’s A17 Bionic prioritizing battery life over performance would be a huge win

The iPhone 15 series is about nine months away, but there are already plenty of rumors about Apple’s next-generation smartphone. The A17 Bionic System-on-Chip (SoC) in the iPhone 15 Pro and Ultra has also appeared in leaks, with reports claiming the new 3nm chip will offer better performance while consuming less battery power.

Improvements in battery life are expected from newer chips, as they should be more efficient than their predecessors. But given what we’re seeing with the iPhone 14 Pro now, battery life seems like the A17’s major upgrade rather than the speed bump.

We’ve reached a point in the smartphone wars where we’re approaching peak processor performance. The A16 Bionic that powers the iPhone 15 Pro models currently has no rival when it comes to performance. But the differences are small and you will only notice them if you use several smartphones of the last generation at the same time.

That’s why the base iPhone 14 and 14 Plus are such great devices, despite the awesome A15 chip the iPhone 13 Pros got. They’re incredibly fast and outperform newer SoCs, like Google’s custom chips in the Pixel 7.

As I explained earlier, I bought the iPhone 14 Pro, but I’m not using it to the fullest. That means the phone’s massive performance remains underutilized most of the time. I could easily get the same overall iPhone experience from an iPhone 14 or 14 Plus.

However, I’ve come to realize that the reason I like the iPhone 14 Pro the most is its battery life. I have reached the point where I no longer charge the phone overnight. The battery can easily last more than a day with regular use. And yes, I disabled the Always-on display, a feature I definitely don’t need from the iPhone.

Apple iPhone 14 ProDynamic Island
iPhone 14 Pro’s Dynamic Island in action. Image source: Christian de Looper for BGR

In conclusion, the efficiency of the A16 is the highlight of the iPhone 14 Pro for me and a good reason to buy the handset if you want great battery life. The iPhone 14 Pro Max lasts even longer on a charge, as it has a larger battery pack.

Next year’s iPhone 15 series should follow the same chip pattern. The 15 Pro and Ultra should get the new A17 Bionic, while the iPhone 15 and 15 Plus should have the A16 Bionic SoC. That’s assuming Apple doesn’t make any changes to the iPhone lineup for 2023.

That 3nm A17 Bionic chip should be faster than the 4nm A16 Bionic, but also more efficient. A recent Bloomberg report said the A17 would consume 35% less power than 5nm chips like the A15 while delivering better performance. It is unclear how much more economical the A17 is compared to the A16. But it would have to use less energy to provide the same processing power. This will improve overall battery life.

Given that it’s becoming increasingly difficult for next-gen chips to make significant speed gains over previous years or for consumers to notice those speed improvements during everyday iPhone use, battery life should easily be the feature which Apple is targeting next year.

Until we see and test the iPhone 15 Pro and Ultra, that’s all speculation. But don’t forget that the iPhone 13 Pro Max crushed all Android phones in battery life tests last year. And the iPhone 14 models did great in this year’s tests. Apple’s custom SoCs that power the handsets play an important role in this.