Will the iPhone 13 have an M1 chip?

I’ve been thinking a lot about whether the iPhone 13 will have the M1 chip after the introduction of it within the iPad Pro. It’s an interesting thought experiment and one that I can’t settle on.

The M1 is clearly the base for which Apple wants to use for all it’s products but I have a few aspects to think about.

What factors do we need to consider?

Apple are great with thermals on it’s iOS based devices and if it’s confident enough to put the M1 into an iPad then you have to be sure they are happy with the heat coming from something that you predominantly use in your hand. When looking at the iPhone I have a few queries

  1. does it actually run cool enough in this chassis to dissipate the heat efficiently?
  2. does it fit into the chassis?
  3. does the M1 in the iPad mean that Apple is on top of the current chip shortage

These first two are the key factors for Apple adopting the M1 into an iPhone.

My gut feel is that the M1 is simply too big at this point to go into an iPhone (based on current model sizes) chassis. If it fit and ran cool enough I have no doubt that Apple would be implementing the M1 into it’s iPhone lineup as soon as possible.

What are the benefits?

Having a single processor architecture for all of your products opens up a lot of software possibilities, peripherals and makes the production process more efficient.

Software between the different hardware platforms i.e. macOS, iPadOS and iOS can be more unified e.g. we could finally see Logic Pro on iOS with the introduction of the M1. Where I’m talking software I don’t mean that we will see macOS running on an iPad but more that the apps themselves and their capabilities will be more universal. Think of the possibilities, we can now see a future where Xcode is on the iPad.

Peripherals have more throughput with the M1 and thunderbolt. We already see enhanced external monitor support on the new iPad Pro at the keynote this week and moving forward the likes of audio and video options available to iPad are only going to grow. I could also see the possibilities of the iPhone being the one device you take with you and plug into larger screens with peripherals, but that’s just science fiction at this point (for Apple).

The production process slims down in terms of offerings, yes there will still be other chips being produced for the Apple TV, lower iPhone SE and Apple Watch but if the iPad, Pro iPhone and Mac all ran the same M1 then there are less skews to worry about.

Will they do it?

I think they will, once the M1 is small enough. The iPhone 13 will have the next generation of A series chip but once it’s small enough then I can see them making the switch over – it just makes sense to me.