Apple A16 Bionic: Apple’s most powerful and much more efficient chip

We have a new SoC for Apple cell phones. It is the Apple A16 Bionic, a chip that was announced that governs the new iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max.

Contrary to what happened on other occasions, details about this chip are scarce, but everything points to this being a conservative revision of last year’s model. One that puts all the focus on one section: efficiency.

A processor for first division iPhones

For the first time since the iPhone was launched, Apple has launched its new iPhone family with first-division and second-division handsets.

iPhone 14

The rumors that had been going around came true, and the Apple A15 Bionic is the brain of the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus, which are certainly further than ever from their bigger models in terms of specifications. Indeed, the A15 Bionic is still a great SoC, but the decision is certainly shocking.

So comes the Apple A16 Bionic, the most advanced mobile SoC in Apple’s history. Interestingly Apple spent much less time than usual unpacking its features and details, perhaps because of the sheer number of products on display during the event.

The Apple A16 Bionic boasts 4 nm

Apple indicated that the new Apple A16 Bionic focuses on three areas: power efficiency, display, and camera. To achieve this, this SoC has 16 billion transistors, 1,000 more than what the Apple A15 offered.

A16 Bionic performance

More important than the number is the photolithography used in this processor: this is the first Apple chip manufactured with 4-nanometer technology, which is key to improving efficiency without compromising (or even improving) performance.

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Apple boasts the fastest chip in the smartphone segment, and the data support this claim. During the presentation, they indicated that the fastest processor of 2022-probably the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, although they did not specify in the Android mobile arena was still behind the Apple A13 Bionic of 2019.

That data is striking and makes the comparison with the Apple A16 Bionic, which Apple claims is up to 40% more powerful than its competitors, even more striking.

That data seems to be confirming itself in the first benchmarks that are being leaked and that reveal that with the A16 Bionic you get 1,879 points in Geekbench with a single core: the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 gets for example 1,323. The A15 Bionic scored 1,728 points, for example.

The SoC features a six-core CPU: two high-performance and four high-efficiency cores. The high-performance ones have been improved with that new manufacturing process.

Apple A16 Bionic

They now consume 20% less power compared to those in the A15 Bionic. The high-efficiency cores are also even more efficient, although they did not give too specific data.

The Neural Engine is now capable of executing 17 trillion operations per second, which is crucial for the computational photography that continues to gain traction in iPhones.

The GPU has the same five cores that the A15 Bionic also had, but what we gain here is 50% more memory bandwidth, something important if we play video games or use applications with high graphics requirements.

Another new feature is the new Display Engine that allows us to offer that low refresh rate mode that works at 1 Hz and is used in the new active display feature of the iPhone 14 Pro/Max. It also allows us to achieve higher brightness on the screen, and improve anti-aliasing if we play video games on these devices.

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The combination of these elements and the ISP allows four trillion operations per photo to be executed in just an instant. Not only that: this ISP is also the engine behind the new camera system options in these smartphones.

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