In an interview with Engadget, two Apple executives have revealed in-depth details of the new A14 Bionic chip that is inside the iPad Air 4, and now, of the new iPhone 12. Tim Millet, in his position of VP of Platform Architecture and Tom Boger, MKT Senior Director of Mac and iPad Products have revealed what makes this tiny chip so powerful.
A very special A14 Bionic chip that means a breakthrough into the future
Starting the interview, special focus was placed on the size of the new A14 Bionic chip. It is 5 nanometers, the first to be included in a smartphone (iPhone 12). There are 3 billion more transistors in relation to the A13 chip of the previous generation of iPhone. What is gained by including more transistors?
The change to 5nm meant that Apple had many more transistors to dedicate to all systems on the chip (…). That huge increase… gave Apple extra processing bits to build significantly faster and more efficient CPU and GPU cores.
Tim Millet pointed out that the architects of the manufactured chips don’t necessarily think of transistor mapping as just another feature in the product. It’s more about enabling an underlying technology that is reflected in leveraging the GPU. As an example, Millet cited that these improvements can be seen as cvisual characteristics in a game or in day-to-day transitions in the operating system interface.
Neural Engine gains incredible performance with A14 Bionic chip
They speak of 11 million operations per second, double that of the A13 chip. There are 16 cores that are part of the neuronal motor, in the same way with the operations, they are doubled with respect to the previous chip. Millet claims that had he not made these improvements it would be impossible to do so with the current set of instructions related to the conventional CPU.
He also explained that the development of the A14 chip was also contemplated that the chip works optimally on different devices. Here comes the iPad Air 4, which was for the second time in history when it debuted earlier on an iPad than on an iPhone. The iPad Air 4 is expected to offer similar performance to what the 2020 iPad Pro currently offers. When Apple revealed that the iPad Air 4 would have the A14 chip, many thought it would be a throwback for the iPad Pro, which was also explained in the interview.
IPad Pro with A12Z chip has more CPU and GPU cores (8 cores each) than A14 chip (6 and 4 chips) and graphics performance and hard work will be better. Tom Boger confessed that Some day-to-day tasks the iPad Air 4 could outperform the iPad Pro.
Thinking ahead, from iPhone and iPad straight to Mac
We try to focus on energy efficiency because that applies to all the products we make (…). Apple doesn’t have to worry about a situation where it focused on energy efficiency for the phone that is not going to work on an iPad Air. Of course it will work.
To wrap up the interview, Millet revealed that chip design is already in the works for all of its products. The most immediate, as we know from WWDC20, is Apple Silicon with Mac.
Ultimately we want to make sure that when we build a CPU for one generation, we don’t necessarily build it for just one generation. While that doesn’t mean we’ll see the A14’s six-core CPU on an Apple Watch, the architecture developed for the iPhone chipset can be adapted and reused elsewhere. And it turns out that we may not have to wait long before we see a great example.
What did Tim Millet mean by this last statement? It is expected that in November we will have the last Apple Event of the year. At this event, the new Macs with Apple Silicon, the AirPods Studio and the launch of the much talked about AirTags are expected. For now, there is talk that there could be a new iPad Pro with an updated chip. We will have to wait.
There is no doubt that Apple is at a higher level when it comes to research and development. We have seen that in the latest chips that have been made for the iPhone and iPad. If we know that the iPad Pro is capable of outperforming its own products like some old Macs, What can a new Mac do with Apple’s own chips?
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