For years, when Apple introduced a new A-series chipset, it called it "the fastest thing we've ever made" and compared it to its predecessor. Every new SoC will see an amazing performance boost that looks good while giving a speech and shows through the benchmarks and the large number of satisfied iPhone users. But this year the equation has changed to "Honestly, the competition is still with our chips."
In appearance, the A15 Bionic is an impressive lineup in the new iPhones, with over 15 billion transistors using a 5nm TSMC process node. The CPU configuration remains largely the same as the A14 chipset, with two new high-performance FireStorm CPU cores and four effective IceStorm cores. Apple did not provide a performance comparison with the A14, but instead pointed to the fact that the new A15 chipset offers 50% faster CPU performance than its competitors.
The new iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro both use the A15 chipset, but there is one small difference: The GPU in the iPhone 13 Pro has five additional cores in total and supports a variable refresh rate. However, the iPhone 13 is also not in vain, as Apple claims to have 30% faster graphics performance - compared to competitors. We see a pattern here.
Apple retained the same engine configuration The 16-core neuron, but it can now outperform -15.8 trillion operations per second, which is exactly the company again when compared to a neural processing unit. A14, capable of performing 11 trillion operations per second in machine learning tasks, avoided it.
Other details are not clear at this point. Apple, for example, said it has incorporated new video encoding and decoding capabilities into the design of the A15, but it did not specify what exactly they are. Many speculate that since the A14 supports AV1 decoding, the A15 may be able to speed up AV1 encoding tasks. Apple doesn't say that, but future A-Series chipsets will bring smaller improvements that no longer need to compare to their predecessors in the M1 SoC Intel of the same class. With the A15 Bionic, the company compares major competitors such as Qualcomm, Samsung and MediaTek.
There are three reasons for this behaviour. The first is that the A14 and A15 chipsets are far superior to their competitors, and Apple can easily take them to the point of sale instead of the usual "faster now." That's why the company's song this year was: "Honestly, the competition is still developing. Not just from last year, but from two years ago."
The second reason is to reduce the expected performance with future process nodes. For reference, TSMC says its N4 node offers significantly higher logical density, but the overall improvements will be a balance between a 15 percent speed increase and a max 30 percent power efficiency. This means that the A16 Bionic will most likely be an average upgrade over the A15 or even the A14 Bionic.
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Image: Nuvia founders
Apple has finally created a talent outlet that may have delayed major architectural updates, most notably the departure of Gerard Williams, a chip designer who left Apple and worked with Nuvia on two veterans. At Apple, several Apple engineers followed, whose company was acquired by Qualcomm earlier this year for $1.4 billion. Previous business secrets to bolster your new investment But there are other concerns as well — its top engineers are constantly leaving to form their own company, Dylan Patel reported in SemiAnalysis Some of them have joined a mysterious new startup called Rivos and are working on a high-performance RISC-V CPU design, probably the first of its kind. It removes l in performance per watt. Everything is about to get interesting, so watch this space.
Apple's A15 Bionic chip is faster against the "competition", but compared to its predecessor