The Apple A16 chip is a proprietary ARM-based system on chip (SoC) designed by Apple Inc. for use in its mobile electronic devices. The first version, the A16 Bionic is found in the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and X models. This SoC utilises a 64-bit architecture and is equipped with 6 cores: 2 Performance cores and 4 Efficiency cores that are clocked at up to 2.39GHz paired with an Apple maintained GPU with 1 GB of RAM.
The A16 has a manufacturing process of 10 nanometers which is similar to other modern SoCs on the market today such as Samsung Exynos 7885 and Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 as well as HiSilicon Kirin 970 chipset found in Huawei P20 Pro smartphone. It also supports LPDDR4X type memory, provides advanced imaging capabilities (including support for 4K video recording), improved power efficiency and enhanced performance compared to previous generations of chipsets produced by Apple.
Overview of the A16 Chip
The A16 chip is the latest flagship chip developed by Apple. It is expected to stick with the 5 nm fabrication process, which is the same as its predecessors, the A14 and A15 chips. According to Ming-Chi Kuo, the A16 chip will be released later this year.
Let’s look into the features and specs of the A16 chip.
The A16 Bionic chip is a 64-bit ARM-based system on a chip (SoC) designed by Apple Inc. to power the iPhone 11, 11 Pro, and 11 Pro Max. It was launched in September 2019 as part of the new flagship iPhone devices and is currently Apple’s latest-generation mobile processor.
The A16’s semiconductor components are made up of a 6-core CPU and 4-core GPU, both built with industry leading 7nm process technology. With this new architecture design, it can deliver faster speed and performance than its predecessor A12 Bionic chip.
Technical Specifications of A16 Bionic Chip:
- CPU: 6 cores including: Two high performance cores; Four efficiency cores; 2x Performance over previous generation A12
- GPU: 4 cores about 20% faster than A12
- Neural Engine / Machine Learning: 8 core dedicated neural engine capable of up to 5 trillion operations/second
- Image Signal Processor (ISP): 4 Accelerators for improved photography and videography abilities
- Video Encoding / Decoding Engines: HEVC (H.265) encoding; Encoding Simulator; Hardware accelerated video decoding at format rates up to 30fps; H.264 Baseline profile level 3 1080100@30fps Max playback for 1080p at 120fps
- Memory Interface: 64 bit wide shared LPDDR4X memory interface 2x memory bandwidth compared to previous generation
The A16 chip is a 64 bit ARM-based system on a chip (SoC) designed for high performance and energy efficiency. It has an 8-core CPU, a four-core GPU, 8 Neural Engine cores and 16 storage cores. The CPU architecture is substantially modified compared to its predecessor, the A15 processor on the iPhone 12 series. With its improved design and efficient 7 nanometer process, the Apple A16 Bionic is up to 20 percent faster than its predecessor while consuming 30 percent less power.
The new GPU offers 35 percent faster graphics performance than the A15 processor and includes support for the open standard of Apple Metal Technology which allows developers to create more complex gaming experiences with higher frame rate and better support for games with increasing levels of detail.
The A16 chip’s 8-core Neural Engine provides further enhancements in machine learning performance as compared to the four core engine found in earlier iPhones which run on iOS 14 and above. This makes it possible for features such as facial recognition unlocking or photo analysis for improved search capabilities to be offered within apps or services even without an internet connection aiding in faster operation without draining device battery power too quickly.
The newest Apple A16 Bionic chip powers the latest iPhones. This processor is one of the most important developments in mobile chip technology, bringing unprecedented power, efficiency, speed and performance to your mobile device.
The A16 chip stands out for its groundbreaking energy efficiency. The processor system is designed to physically draw less energy from your phone’s battery when running certain duties—useful if you rely on your phone to get through a long day without charging. It also allows up to five trillion operations per second while consuming less than one-seventh power compared to previous generation processors.
Additionally, its Neural Engine offers 11 times more strategy and speed in AI-related tasks such as face recognition and object tracking than the A14 chip in older devices like the iPhone 11 Pro. This efficient AI enables iPhone photos and video editing apps with an A16 chip to run faster than ever before.
Overall, with incredibly low power consumption and enhanced gaming or office work capabilities (which once could only be achieved with desktop computers), the A16 Bionic Chip has disrupted current mobile phone chip technology by offering a level of power efficiency above any other mobile processor today.
According to the TSMC roadmap, the new upcoming iPhone A16 chip will likely stick to the 5 nm fabrication process, the same as it’s predecessors A14 and A15. This indicates that Apple is sticking with the 5nm based chips for the iPhone in 2021.
Let’s look at the manufacturing process for the A16 chip and how it differs from the A14 and A15 chips.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) is the exclusive manufacturer of Apple’s A-series processors, starting with the iPhone 5s (A7 chip) in 2013. The company’s fabrication of these chips has considerably improved its production process and technology. As the demand for the latest iPhones grows each year, the release of a new generation of chips becomes increasingly highly anticipated, waiting to see what type of performance they can deliver.
The TSMC roadmap provides insight into how and when future generations will be introduced and what production techniques they may use to bring forth superior results. TSMC has developed five distinct generations on their process roadmap: 20 nm, 16 nm FinFET+, 12 nm FinFET+, 10 nm FinFET+ and 7 nm FinFET+.
The first three generations from this list have already been utilised by Apple – first with the A8 chip released in 2014 based on 20nm technology, followed by the A9 chip from 2015 utilising 16nm technology and 2016’s A10 Fusion running on 12 nm technology. Next, the 10 nm FinFET+ process debuted with 2017’s A11 Bionic processor powering flagship phones like iPhone XS/XR/XS Max and iPad Pros released in 2018. Finally, 2019’s flagship phones saw the introduction of 7 nanometer based processors known as A12/A12X Bionic with further improvements in power efficiency over previous generations.
For 2020’s series’ chip – reportedly dubbed “A14” – Apple will be using TSMC’s most advanced 5 nanometer FinFET CMOS technology hoping to achieve higher levels of speed with similar or better levels efficiency than last years models while also making additional improvements on features like machine learning and artificial intelligence processing capabilities that require large amounts of power compute operations to complete tasks quickly.
5nm Fabrication Process
The A16 chip is designed on the 5 nm fabrication process. It uses FinFET transistors, three-dimensional field-effect transistors (3D FETs) that exhibit improved performance over traditional transistors. This new technology improves power efficiency and increases overall device performance, making it attractive to manufacturers of mobile devices.
It also enables the A16 chip to pack more components into a smaller space than past generations of chips — such as those used in older iPhones — resulting in faster speeds and more features.
The smaller scale of the 5nm process also allows for an increased number of transistors compared to larger processes, allowing for greater performance gains. This, coupled with new techniques like nanowire interconnects, makes the A16 a powerhouse of efficiency and speed by shrinking components to previously unachievable sizes. Additionally, this new technology can increase battery life by consuming less energy than previous generation chipsets without sacrificing performance or functionality.
In conclusion, Apple’s A16 chip has been well received by users because its 5nm fabrication process has resulted in increased power efficiency and capabilities that far surpass those of previous generations. In addition, this powerful chipset allows for better speeds and features while maintaining battery efficiency, making it well worth the investment for any user who desires top-of-the-line features and specs in their device at an affordable cost.
Comparison with A14 and A15
The latest news from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo suggests that TSMC’s roadmap indicates that this year’s A16 chip for the iPhone will stick to the 5 nm fabrication node, just like the A14 and A15 chips that preceded it. It’s a move that’s sure to be met with mixed emotions – while it’s not the newest and most advanced technology, it’s an efficient, shallower node that Apple should benefit from in terms of cost and performance.
Let’s look deeper into comparing the A14, A15, and A16 chips.
The A16 chip significantly improves performance over Apple’s previous A14 and A15 chip designs. The architecture of the A16 Bionic consists of six CPU cores — two high-performance cores up to 3.1 GHz and four energy-efficient cores up to 2.4 GHz — with a dedicated neural engine for AI and machine learning tasks, allowing apps to execute complex inference operations up to twice as fast compared to its predecessor.
It also includes an integrated graphics processor that supports a unified memory architecture that allows apps to fetch data and instructions from the same pool of memory, rather than having different pools for each type that strain system performance. This should reduce the latency, improve decoding speed and lead to more fluid graphics, whether gaming or augmented reality apps running smoothly on your device.
In comparison, Apple’s previous A14 Chip had four processing cores — two high-performance cores and two energy efficiency cores — with the same level of GPU power as the new A16 design but without dedicated neural engine capabilities. The major change introduced with this new chip generation is its 12-core Neural Engine able to provide up to 13 TOPS (trillions of operations per second) – this is five times faster than its predecessor! This means that understanding speech, recognizing faces or tracking movements are now faster than ever thanks to this powerful chip inside your iPhone.
The A16 Bionic chip has several impressive features that make it even more power efficient than its predecessors, the A14 and A15. The biggest improvements are found in the CPU, where the new chip features four high-performance cores and four energy-efficient cores. The performance increase is courtesy of a 6-core architecture and much larger 10nm architecture which gives the chip a higher clock speed thus improving power efficiency even more.
In addition to physical improvements, Apple has implemented many software improvements such as machine learning acceleration on the processor’s neural engine, low-power hardware acceleration for Face ID authentication, better GPU performance and support for dynamic refresh rates. Combining these enhancements with improved fabrication processes yields significant power savings over its preceding chips.
Compared to its predecessors, the A16 has an impressive 40% increase in power efficiency thanks to its overall design and structural improvements. With this improvement, users can expect better battery life and improved overall performance without drastically reducing battery life or having devices run too hot due to increased energy consumption from powerful applications and services.
tags = Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo pointed , A16 chip, iPhone 14, A15 chip, Apple’s chips, kuo tsmc iphone macs cpumayo9to5mac