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Apple A16 Bionic: The new ultra-powerful iPhone 14 Pro series chip

A16 is the world’s most efficient mobile processor, using just a third as much power as similar chips.

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In addition to the iPhone 14 Pro, Apple also unveiled a new SoC (system on a chip). With improved speed and lowered power usage, the A16 Bionic is set to revolutionize mobile computing. This is theoretically feasible, when the production process can be scaled down enough. The A16 in the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max is built using 4nm technology, while Apple previously only used a 5nm process for the A15.

Strange at first glance, but TSCM, an Apple-favored supplier, has been developing a 3nm technology for some time. But it’s not quite there yet, and it’s been widely expected that the A16 might maintain a structural width of 5nm. The announcement of a 4nm process came as a shock in this regard.

Given that Apple does not confirm which firm produces its chips, it is anyone’s guess if TSMC produced the 4nm A16 or not. TSMC has made improvements to its 5nm process to the point where Apple is happy to call it the 4nm process. TSMC’s real 3nm technology is expected to come out in 2023.

No shift in the total number of processing cores in either the CPU or the GPU

There are still six CPU cores and five GPU cores included in the A16 which is just like the previous A15. The cores continue to be split evenly between efficiency and performance, with four efficiency cores and two performance cores. Furthermore, the fundamental framework (Fusion) has not changed. However, it is expected that the A16 would be 20% more efficient and run 20% quicker than the A15.

However, Apple did not identify any specific competitors when comparing the A16 in the keynote other than the A13 from 2019 or existing processors from the “competition” to which the A16 should be “40% faster.” Reasonably so, we shouldn’t expect significant performance improvements from the A16 CPU cores over the A15. Memory bandwidth on GPU cores is expected to increase by a factor of 1.5. That ought to be noticeable, particularly in gaming. Apple claims its A16 chip is the world’s most efficient mobile processor, using just a third as much power as similar chips.

Neural engine with expanded capacity

© Apple

The A16 retains the A15’s Neural Engine, which has 16 cores, but is now reported to be faster, at 17 trillion operations per second thanks to the artificial intelligence improvements.

Apple’s Image Signal Processor has been updated to work with the 48 megapixel sensor in the new Pro camera. All five of the GPU cores benefit from the increased speed thanks to the increased memory bandwidth, which is now 50% bigger.

Improvements have supposedly been made to the ISP (Image Signal Processor). Specifically, Apple tweaked it so that it works with the upgraded camera technology in the iPhone 14 Pro. Every time a picture is taken, the CPU, GPU, neural engine, and image signal processor are said to do 4 trillion operations.

Image processor

© Apple

The always-on display feature of the iPhone 14 Pro is managed by the A16’s new display engine.

The iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max now have a display engine designed to handle things like higher maximum brightness and 1 Hz always-on display, which means the content on the screen is refreshed only once per second. In other words, the screen is always on with minimal battery consumption, and it allows users to check the time and notifications through the screen saver.

As an added bonus, Apple claims that the engine’s enhanced anti-aliasing makes the Dynamic Island’s (the new notch) motions seem especially fluid and natural. Exactly what this implies will be determined by the tests.



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