Apple A14 Bionic announcement hints at 'iPhone 12' performance

Posted:
in General Discussion
During Tuesday's iPad and Apple Watch-focused "Time Flies" event, Apple debuted its newest piece of mobile-focused Apple silicon: the A14 Bionic.

Credit: Apple
Credit: Apple


Apple typically launches new chip generations with iPhone, but no new handsets were to be found at Tuesday's event. Instead, the A14 Bionic was announced alongside the new iPad Air.

The company did take time to detail some of the A14 Bionic's specifications and features, including the fact that it's the industry's first mobile chip to be built on a 5-nanometer production process. Thanks to that new ultra-small production process, the A14 Bionic manages to pack 11.8 billion transistors.

Apple says the A14 Bionic is a 6-core chip that features a 30% boost to CPU performance, and sports a new four-core graphics architecture for a 30% faster graphics boost. That is, however, compared to the previous A12 Bionic included in the iPad Air 3.

As AnandTech points out, that means that the A14 Bionic could be about 16% faster than the A13 Bionic if Apple's metrics are consistent across generations. Applying the same math to graphics yields an 8.3% boost to GPU power.

The A14 Bionic also features a 16-core Neural Engine that's twice as fast as the previous generation and capable of performing up to 11 trillion operations per second, allowing for significant boosts to machine learning. Combined with new CPU-based machine learning accelerators, Apple says machine learning tasks can be up to 10 times faster.

"This combination of the new Neural Engine, CPU machine learning accelerators, and high-performance GPU enables powerful on-device experiences for image recognition, natural language learning, analyzing motion, and more," Apple says.

The company also boasts a new advanced image signal processor, though it didn't give any details about its capabilities. Similarly, Apple didn't reveal whether the A14 Bionic features any significant power efficiency upgrades.

Although first debuted on the iPad Air, the A14 Bionic is largely expected to power upcoming "iPhone 12" and "iPhone 12 Pro" devices.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 21
    Interesting that Apple would announce the A14 on the iPad Air and not their flagship iPhone. Perhaps 5nm yields as such that the iPhone was delayed? In any case, the A14 is a very impressive piece of engineering. I would expect that Apple will also use the A14 in their future Macs. In any case, the iPad Air looks like a killer upgrade!
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 21
    karmadave said:
    Interesting that Apple would announce the A14 on the iPad Air and not their flagship iPhone. Perhaps 5nm yields as such that the iPhone was delayed? In any case, the A14 is a very impressive piece of engineering. I would expect that Apple will also use the A14 in their future Macs. In any case, the iPad Air looks like a killer upgrade!
    Expect to see an A14X announced -- likely for the coming iPad Pro. What about the Apple Silicon laptop? It's going to have a different name and be substantially different from either the A14 and A14X. 
    patchythepirateBeatscaladanianwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 3 of 21
    There are so many other areas that might see a boost. The ISP is new and coupled with the increased neural engine performance might give us some big camera upgrades (lightning fast focus, seamless digital zoom, better low light, better portrait mode, improved video stabilization, faster slo-mo modes...).

    Those transistors aren’t there doing nothing. 
    tmaywatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 4 of 21
    XedXed Posts: 1,030member
    karmadave said:
    Interesting that Apple would announce the A14 on the iPad Air and not their flagship iPhone. Perhaps 5nm yields as such that the iPhone was delayed? In any case, the A14 is a very impressive piece of engineering. I would expect that Apple will also use the A14 in their future Macs. In any case, the iPad Air looks like a killer upgrade!
    Maybe yields of the chip are part of it, but I'd imagine that the bulk of the delays from the pandemic are coming from areas where a lot of people are working very close together to manufacture the product, which means the final assembly of the iPhone, and possibly one or more components that are less automated.

    As Larry already stated, I can't see the Mac having an A14 in it. No A-series chip at all. Apple already has many categories for bespoke chips and already announced a new umbrella category, Apple Silicon.
    StrangeDayswatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 5 of 21
    thttht Posts: 4,042member
    Apple says the A14 Bionic is a 6-core chip that features a 30% boost to CPU performance, and sports a new four-core graphics architecture for a 30% faster graphics boost. That is, however, compared to the previous A12 Bionic included in the iPad Air 3.

    Apple is saying the A14 in the iPad Air 4 is 40% faster in CPU, 30% faster in GPU and 100% faster in neural versus the A12 in the iPad Air 3. If that is an average increase, than the A14 would score about 1540 in GB5 single, 4000 in GB5 multi, and 6000 in GB5 Metal. Those are awesome scores for this machine.

    For comparison, the A13 is 1330, 3360, and 6400 in GB5 single, multi and Metal. The Core i9-10910 in the iMac 5K, the 10-core, scores about 1300 and 9500 in GB5 single and mutli-core. CPU-wise, the iPad Air is an awesome value at its price point.

    The GPU score though, is rather mysterious. It's no faster than the A13 in Metal. It's actually a regression. Maybe Apple downclocked the GPU for segmentation? There aren't any technical reasons why it would be slower than the A13.

    aderutterwilliamlondonwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 6 of 21
    BeatsBeats Posts: 2,532member
    Xed said:
    karmadave said:
    Interesting that Apple would announce the A14 on the iPad Air and not their flagship iPhone. Perhaps 5nm yields as such that the iPhone was delayed? In any case, the A14 is a very impressive piece of engineering. I would expect that Apple will also use the A14 in their future Macs. In any case, the iPad Air looks like a killer upgrade!
    Maybe yields of the chip are part of it, but I'd imagine that the bulk of the delays from the pandemic are coming from areas where a lot of people are working very close together to manufacture the product, which means the final assembly of the iPhone, and possibly one or more components that are less automated.

    As Larry already stated, I can't see the Mac having an A14 in it. No A-series chip at all. Apple already has many categories for bespoke chips and already announced a new umbrella category, Apple Silicon.

    Apple said Macs will have their own family of chips.

    Eventually I see the same chip across the board from Glasses to Mac. That's at least a decade from now.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 21
    That Apple is releasing the A14 iPad Air at an unspecified date in October suggests to me that it is waiting to have its release coincide with that of the A14 iPhones.

    That Apple uses the A14 in the Air also makes an A14X iPad Pro release in the next months very likely to differentiate the Pro models further.

    I also wonder if there is anything about the A14 that Apple hasn't told us yet. The raw performance boost seems less impressive than in the previous years.
    edited September 2020 muthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 21
    XedXed Posts: 1,030member
    Beats said:
    Xed said:
    karmadave said:
    Interesting that Apple would announce the A14 on the iPad Air and not their flagship iPhone. Perhaps 5nm yields as such that the iPhone was delayed? In any case, the A14 is a very impressive piece of engineering. I would expect that Apple will also use the A14 in their future Macs. In any case, the iPad Air looks like a killer upgrade!
    Maybe yields of the chip are part of it, but I'd imagine that the bulk of the delays from the pandemic are coming from areas where a lot of people are working very close together to manufacture the product, which means the final assembly of the iPhone, and possibly one or more components that are less automated.

    As Larry already stated, I can't see the Mac having an A14 in it. No A-series chip at all. Apple already has many categories for bespoke chips and already announced a new umbrella category, Apple Silicon.

    Apple said Macs will have their own family of chips.

    Eventually I see the same chip across the board from Glasses to Mac. That's at least a decade from now.
    In no future do I see Glasses and Watch having the exact same chip as a MacBook Pro or Mac Pro. In a decade I expect to see even more diversity of chips, not fewer and certainly not a single chip.
    StrangeDaysmuthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 21
    Looking forward to buying the iPhone 12 Pro 5.4” with midnight blue, 6GB RAM, 512GB storage in October sometime!
    edited September 2020 watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 21
    mcdavemcdave Posts: 1,763member
    tht said:
    Apple says the A14 Bionic is a 6-core chip that features a 30% boost to CPU performance, and sports a new four-core graphics architecture for a 30% faster graphics boost. That is, however, compared to the previous A12 Bionic included in the iPad Air 3.

    Apple is saying the A14 in the iPad Air 4 is 40% faster in CPU, 30% faster in GPU and 100% faster in neural versus the A12 in the iPad Air 3. If that is an average increase, than the A14 would score about 1540 in GB5 single, 4000 in GB5 multi, and 6000 in GB5 Metal. Those are awesome scores for this machine.

    For comparison, the A13 is 1330, 3360, and 6400 in GB5 single, multi and Metal. The Core i9-10910 in the iMac 5K, the 10-core, scores about 1300 and 9500 in GB5 single and mutli-core. CPU-wise, the iPad Air is an awesome value at its price point.

    The GPU score though, is rather mysterious. It's no faster than the A13 in Metal. It's actually a regression. Maybe Apple downclocked the GPU for segmentation? There aren't any technical reasons why it would be slower than the A13.

    I did the same extrapolations and the A14 comes in just below the current mid-range 13” MBP.  When you apply them to the current A12X they show a new chip which competes with the mid-range core i9 in the 16” MBP but with much higher single-thread performance and better thermals.

    I wonder how an 8 performance-core SoC would look, it should easily beat current desktop and even lower end Pro desktop machines.

    The graphics are strange, almost as if they’re holding back on consumer products and saving the good stuff for the Pro market.  Perhaps this signifies less emphasis on raw compute in favour of dedicated Metal/ray trace logic. Exciting times.
    williamlondongrayfox691watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 21
    mcdavemcdave Posts: 1,763member

    karmadave said:
    Interesting that Apple would announce the A14 on the iPad Air and not their flagship iPhone. Perhaps 5nm yields as such that the iPhone was delayed? In any case, the A14 is a very impressive piece of engineering. I would expect that Apple will also use the A14 in their future Macs. In any case, the iPad Air looks like a killer upgrade!
    It never made sense to me why they launched flagship silicon in a product that didn’t need it or showcase it well. They should have led with iPads since the iPad Pro was released.
    aderutterwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 21
    The A14 doesn’t seem like a major jump up from the A13, kind of equivalent to the A12Z but with less power draw.
    This of course bodes well for the next iPad Pro with A14X.
    It bodes even better for the unknown Apple Silicon in the forthcoming AS Macs.
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 21
    We should understand that this unusual announcement of A14 prior to iPhone.

    So we can be sure Apple haven't told us all about it so they have something to amaze people when unveiling iPhone 12.
    Power efficiency and examples of its powerful Neural Engine and ISP chip at least
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 21
    Beats said:
    Xed said:
    karmadave said:
    Interesting that Apple would announce the A14 on the iPad Air and not their flagship iPhone. Perhaps 5nm yields as such that the iPhone was delayed? In any case, the A14 is a very impressive piece of engineering. I would expect that Apple will also use the A14 in their future Macs. In any case, the iPad Air looks like a killer upgrade!
    Maybe yields of the chip are part of it, but I'd imagine that the bulk of the delays from the pandemic are coming from areas where a lot of people are working very close together to manufacture the product, which means the final assembly of the iPhone, and possibly one or more components that are less automated.

    As Larry already stated, I can't see the Mac having an A14 in it. No A-series chip at all. Apple already has many categories for bespoke chips and already announced a new umbrella category, Apple Silicon.
    Eventually I see the same chip across the board from Glasses to Mac. That's at least a decade from now.
    There's no more reason to put the same chip in all devices and form factors in ten years from now as there is today over ten years ago. Different use cases have differing requirements and that guides the specialization. 
    muthuk_vanalingamfastasleepwatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 21
    tmaytmay Posts: 5,433member
    mcdave said:

    karmadave said:
    Interesting that Apple would announce the A14 on the iPad Air and not their flagship iPhone. Perhaps 5nm yields as such that the iPhone was delayed? In any case, the A14 is a very impressive piece of engineering. I would expect that Apple will also use the A14 in their future Macs. In any case, the iPad Air looks like a killer upgrade!
    It never made sense to me why they launched flagship silicon in a product that didn’t need it or showcase it well. They should have led with iPads since the iPad Pro was released.
    It was always driven by the release date of the product against the availability of TMSC to produce the A series SOC at the leading node.

    This year, the iPhone delays gave the advantage to an iPad release, especially since Apple will need magnitudes more A14's for iPhones anyway.

    As an aside, Apple is likely using all of the production of the 5nm node, excepting that which Qualcomm needs for the X60 modem, both of which are necessary for the iPhone 12 launch. Bad news for competitors.

    The original link was to Digitimes,

    https://www.macrumors.com/2020/06/18/iphone-12-x60-5g-modem-digitimes/
    edited September 2020 watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 21
    Xed said:
    karmadave said:
    Interesting that Apple would announce the A14 on the iPad Air and not their flagship iPhone. Perhaps 5nm yields as such that the iPhone was delayed? In any case, the A14 is a very impressive piece of engineering. I would expect that Apple will also use the A14 in their future Macs. In any case, the iPad Air looks like a killer upgrade!
    Maybe yields of the chip are part of it, but I'd imagine that the bulk of the delays from the pandemic are coming from areas where a lot of people are working very close together to manufacture the product, which means the final assembly of the iPhone, and possibly one or more components that are less automated.

    As Larry already stated, I can't see the Mac having an A14 in it. No A-series chip at all. Apple already has many categories for bespoke chips and already announced a new umbrella category, Apple Silicon.
    More or less I think you are right. I doubt the launch order had anything to do with yield but rather (as you said) the pandemic. Apple ships far more iPhones than iPads and thus the preparation for that launch would have far more factors impacted by the pandemic earlier this year. 

    like you my gut is telling me that the Mac chips will be different from the A series chips. Granted anything can happen but I would assume it might make sense for there to be a way to describe the line from low end to high end in a digestible way. Adding new letters after the "A" might get confusing once you get up to higher performance Macs. Additionally, higher performance chips will have different thermal envelopes and cooling systems to go along with them and so I assume slightly different architectures? But, at this point anything and everything is up for grabs. That's what I find so exciting this time around. We all have no idea what's going on back there. Once the first Macs with AS are launched it should shed allot of light on how things could look for the rest of the line.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 21
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    karmadave said:
    Interesting that Apple would announce the A14 on the iPad Air and not their flagship iPhone. Perhaps 5nm yields as such that the iPhone was delayed? In any case, the A14 is a very impressive piece of engineering. I would expect that Apple will also use the A14 in their future Macs. In any case, the iPad Air looks like a killer upgrade!
    Yes!   A14 is a bigger update than many seem to realize.   1/4 of the chip is dedicated to Neural Engine AI/ML type processing, that is huge.   That Apple would allocate that much die space to Neural Engine should highlight where Apple is going with future software including the OS.   I see A14 as Apples transition to a new world of software, an introductory platform really.   As such we should see a future version of Siri operating largely locally on the iOS device, possible as soon as next years WWDC.
    tmaywatto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 21
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    larryjw said:
    karmadave said:
    Interesting that Apple would announce the A14 on the iPad Air and not their flagship iPhone. Perhaps 5nm yields as such that the iPhone was delayed? In any case, the A14 is a very impressive piece of engineering. I would expect that Apple will also use the A14 in their future Macs. In any case, the iPad Air looks like a killer upgrade!
    Expect to see an A14X announced -- likely for the coming iPad Pro. What about the Apple Silicon laptop? It's going to have a different name and be substantially different from either the A14 and A14X. 
    Apple has already said that they have a whole family of processors coming.   However I still can see an A series (A14X most likely) going into a Mac Book type laptop.  An X version would be plenty in such a laptop as it already supports everything a Mac Book needs.   The Mac Book Airs and Pros need a better solution and that will likely be its own family type.    Desktops would be a third line of Mac processors.   
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 21
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    Beats said:
    Xed said:
    karmadave said:
    Interesting that Apple would announce the A14 on the iPad Air and not their flagship iPhone. Perhaps 5nm yields as such that the iPhone was delayed? In any case, the A14 is a very impressive piece of engineering. I would expect that Apple will also use the A14 in their future Macs. In any case, the iPad Air looks like a killer upgrade!
    Maybe yields of the chip are part of it, but I'd imagine that the bulk of the delays from the pandemic are coming from areas where a lot of people are working very close together to manufacture the product, which means the final assembly of the iPhone, and possibly one or more components that are less automated.

    As Larry already stated, I can't see the Mac having an A14 in it. No A-series chip at all. Apple already has many categories for bespoke chips and already announced a new umbrella category, Apple Silicon.

    Apple said Macs will have their own family of chips.

    Eventually I see the same chip across the board from Glasses to Mac. That's at least a decade from now.
    Never going to happen.   There will always be people wanting more performance in their desktop and laptop machines.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 21
    mcdavemcdave Posts: 1,763member
    wizard69 said:
    larryjw said:
    karmadave said:
    Interesting that Apple would announce the A14 on the iPad Air and not their flagship iPhone. Perhaps 5nm yields as such that the iPhone was delayed? In any case, the A14 is a very impressive piece of engineering. I would expect that Apple will also use the A14 in their future Macs. In any case, the iPad Air looks like a killer upgrade!
    Expect to see an A14X announced -- likely for the coming iPad Pro. What about the Apple Silicon laptop? It's going to have a different name and be substantially different from either the A14 and A14X. 
    Apple has already said that they have a whole family of processors coming.   However I still can see an A series (A14X most likely) going into a Mac Book type laptop.  An X version would be plenty in such a laptop as it already supports everything a Mac Book needs.   The Mac Book Airs and Pros need a better solution and that will likely be its own family type.    Desktops would be a third line of Mac processors.   
    You don’t think the comparison of A12/14 to other devices was warming us up the that being the entry-level Mac processor? The A14X would be overkill and draw more power.
    watto_cobra
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