We just commented on the rumors about the new iPhones released by Bloomberg, including the successor to the iPhone X – which is expected to be equipped with Apple’s newest chip, the “A12”. Although the commercial name may not be just “A12” (considering the nomenclatures adopted by Apple in recent years, such as A10 Fusion and A11 Bionic), Macworld has already placed its bets on the possible characteristics of this processor.
First, it is expected that the A12 – produced by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) – be the first Apple chip to use the 7 nanometer production process. This means, based on the 10nm process by which the A11 was manufactured, that the 7nm chip will offer 1.6x higher logical density, up to 20% faster speed and up to 40% less energy consumption – as stated in the production guide of the 7nm TSMC chips.
In this way, if Apple (re) produced exactly the same A11 Bionic chip, but by the 7nm process, it could be 40% smaller and reduce energy consumption by the same amount, in addition to being even 20% faster. However, as the A12 is a new chip (and not just a “shrunk” A11 Bionic), we can expect even better results than these – according to the Macworld, the A12 will have between 5.5 and 6 billion transistors against 4.3 billion of the A11 Bionic.
The site also assumes that the A12 will continue with the two high-performance cores (such as the A11 Bionic chip, which operates at a maximum speed of 2.39GHz), but will use a higher transistor count to improve performance and efficiency. In this sense, we do not expect a very big jump in the speed of clock of the A12 – which, despite being powerful, probably will not have enough space to exceed 2.5GHz (considering a device the size of the iPhone X).
Geekbench score for single core (single-core)
Analyzing the results of the Geekbench for single core iPhones, it is possible to notice that the improvement in performance has grown almost linearly in the last four generations of devices, a trend that should be maintained according to the estimates of Macworld. Still according to them, the Geekbench score for single-core of an iPhone equipped with the A12 should revolve around 5,000 points – about 800 points more than the A11 Bionic.
Geekbench score for multiple cores (multi-core)
As we said, the forecast of Macworld is that the A12 will feature an architecture similar to the A11 Bionic chip (2 larger cores and 4 smaller cores), but with even greater efficiency. Based on the same analysis as for the single-core test, the website calculated that the A12’s multi-core score will be 15,000 points, against 10,174 the previous generation – but they don’t expect this to really happen unless Apple introduces a third generation performance controller with the new chip.
Therefore, understanding that Apple will keep the second generation controller (introduced with the A11 Bionic) on its new chip, the Macworld expects a 25% to 30% improvement in performance multi-core of the A12, which gives us a Geekbench score in the range of 13,000.
Graphic performance and machine learning
Regarding the graphics processor, it is possible that at this point Apple will make a small change in the architecture of its chip (in relation to the A11 Bionic) and add a fourth core to improve, according to estimates, up to 40% the graphics performance of the A12 . In addition, the new processor may have faster RAM. However, unless Apple adds more memory channels to improve the bandwidth chip, it will not provide a gigantic increased game performance.
The A11 Bionic was the first Apple chip to feature dedicated machine learning hardware, the so-called Neural Engine. On the iPhone X, this processor is capable of performing 600 billion operations per second and, considering Apple’s fanaticism for machine learning, it is likely to invest heavily in this type of hardware – whether for this year’s iPhones or not. To the Macworld, it would be surprising if the Neural Engine of the A12 was capable of at least 1 trillion operations per second, or 1.2 trillion – twice the learning power of its predecessor.
Last, but not least, is the battery; considering only the change of the manufacturing process from 10nm to 7nm, it would be possible that the next flagship had better battery life. However, as we know that the A12 will be an even more powerful chip, part of that 40% reduction in energy can be used for another task of the device – as for the Neural Engine. In addition, this duration is the result of a number of factors that can vary even between devices, such as efficiency of the cellular network and Wi-Fi, display, storage, etc.
THE Macworld estimated that, although the battery time during use remains the same, the device’s resting time will be much longer – and that a battery with an even larger size on the supposed “iPhone X Plus” will give a real advantage over the successor of the iPhone X, obviously.
· • ·
Despite the various rumors and speculation about the next iPhones, the anxiety is great for the announcement of the new gadgets and its real characteristics. What are your bets?