If you've been waffling on whether to pony up for a new iPhone 12 when Apple finally debuts its new phones, the latest news from the company that makes iPhone processors may sway your decision.
The new A14 Bionic chip likely to power this fall’s iPhones promises to be a big leap forward from the A13 Bionic that helps the current iPhone lineup set the pace for smartphones.
During its annual technology symposium this week, TSMC — which makes the Apple-designed chips for the iPhone — laid out some of the benefits of the new 5-nanometer process likely to be used in the next iPhone processors. Anandtech (opens in new tab) has the nitty-gritty details, but a table comparing the upcoming A14 Bionic to the current A13 Bionic suggests the new chipset will boost performance by 15%. The chip could also consume 30% less power.
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A lot of the added performance and power efficiency sounds like it’s coming from the move to a 5nm process for the A14. The A13 is a 7nm chip, and as transistors become smaller, more can fit inside of a chip housing. The A13 Bionic model currently features 8.5 billion chips. The A14 Bionic version will come packing a whopping 15 billion chips.
With this in mind, it may shake out that the iPhone 12 series could be one of the first smartphones to utilize an 5nm chip, beating the rest of the Samsung Galaxy family to the punch. TSMC is already preparing its newer 5nm node, known as N5P, for volume manufacturing next year. Currently, TSMC estimates that it will be capable of offering a 10% upgrade to energy efficiency or a 5% upgrade to performance when it becomes available. If this is the case, the new version of the chip is highly likely to appear in the next crop of iPhones meant for release in 2021.
In addition, TSMC referenced a 3nm design that’s coming in the second half of 2022, presumably for the iPhones coming out that year. We’re looking at 10% to 15% performance gain then.
Previous A14 leaks —including information from TSMC itself — have touted the chip’s performance potential. Way back in the spring, leaked benchmarks have pointed to performance that rivals the iPad Pro, and there’s been some talk that A14-powered phones could theoretically be as fast as Apple laptops.
All we have to do now is wait for the new iPhones sporting these faster chips. The iPhone 12 could be unveiled as early as September, according to the latest rumors, with the phones themselves shipping in October.