The A11 Bionic chip powering last year's iPhones delivers such a performance boost that even Android phones debuting months later have been unable to top it. And the next Apple-designed processor in this year's iPhone looks like it's going to raise the bar even further.
That processor would be the A12, which is slated to appear in the new iPhone models Apple is prepping for a fall release. Benchmarks of a phone running on the new processor just appeared on Geekbench's site, and they showcase a chip that improves on last year's performance.
The phone listed in the Geekbench results is called an iPhone 11,2, and it's running a version of iOS 12. According to BGR, the phone in question is either the rumored 6.5-inch iPhone X Plus or the 5.8-inch iPhone X that will replace the current model. Those are two of three models Apple is widely expected to announce in a few months.
In the results posted at Geekbench, this A12-powered prototype iPhone had a single-core score of 4,673 and a multi-core score of 10,912 on Geekbench 4. That compares to the current iPhone X's scores of 4,055 and 10,375, respectively. So we're looking at gains of 15 percent in single-core performance and 5 percent in multi-core with the new chip.
Those are modest gains, but the real story here is that they should allow the new iPhones to continue to enjoy a big performance edge over the top-of-the-line Android models. The OnePlus 6, which features a Snapdragon 845 chipset, turns in the best non-iPhone Geekbench 4 score we've seen at 9,098. But that's well behind the A11-powered iPhone X. And it looks like the A12-powered phone will extend the gap even further.
Even more noteworthy is the fact that the OnePlus 6's score was posted by a configuration packed with 8GB of RAM. The leaked Geekbench score for the A12 device looks like it had 4GB of memory.
Based on earlier reports, the A12 is expected to be Apple's first 7-nanometer chipset. (The A11 was built using a 10-nanometer process.) Because it's smaller, the A12 should offer Apple more design flexibility while also boosting speed and efficiency. Based on these early Geekbench numbers, those promised benefits seem to be panning out, though we'll have to wait until we can get our hands on the finished phone to say for certain.
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Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. He's been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he's been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.