For the first time ever, the new iPhone 14 models didn’t receive the latest SoC, and instead it was reserved for the Pro models. And it’s not a big deal anyways, because last year’s A15 is still plenty fast, and as we have seen with recent Geekbench leaks, the performance difference isn’t that big compared to this year’s A16 Bionic.
The A16 Bionic SoC is likely built on TSMC’s N4P node, which is often called a 4nm node, but it’s more of an enhancement to the 5nm family. The N4P is said to deliver a 11% performance boost over the last N5 node, and a 22 percent improvement in power efficiency. That also shows in the recent Geekbench scores, where the A16 Bionic scores 1887 in single-core, and 5455 in multi-core. This is a 5-7% gain over the A15 Bionic in single-core, and a 10-12% gain in multi-core.
Apple A16 (Crete) – big core: Everest, small core: Sawtooth
— Longhorn (@never_released) September 12, 2022
Some if these improvements can also come from the new cores used in the A16 Bionic. Twitter user, Longhorn, was able to find the names of the new cores from xCode. The new chipset is called Crete, with the new efficiency cores being codenamed Sawtooth, and the performance cores are codenamed Everest. Apple has stuck to its traditional 6-core chip design this time around too, with two high-performance cores and four efficiency cores.
Moreover, it seems Apple has finally run out of natural phenomenon codenames where we saw names like Lighning, Thunder, Avalanche and Icestorm. The new codename theme is clearly based on mountain ranges. Apple will likely continue the new naming scheme for upcoming chipsets, till they run out of mountain ranges, that is.
It is being speculated that the real improvements of the A16 Bionic lies in power efficiency, but that can only be confirmed when initial reviews hit. There’s no doubt that the iPhone 14 Pro models will have better battery life, but not all of it will be coming from the SoC itself, as the new phones now have an improved LTPO display which saves power, along with a bigger battery on the iPhone 14 Pro.
No New Cores for the Apple Watch
Everyone was thrilled to know that this year’s Apple Watches had been updated with the new S8 SoC. And even better, this was across all the newly released watches, from the $799 Apple Watch Ultra to the $250 Apple Watch SE.
But now a new article from MacRumors confirms that Apple’s S8 SoC is new only in name, as the S8 chip shares the same T8301 identifier, seen on the previous gen S7 and S6 chips. Meaning, it’s the exact same dual-core CPU with 32GB of internal storage, first seen on the Apple Watch 6, minus the additions needed for the new sensors. These cores are based on Apple’s A13 SoC and are fabricated on TSMC’s 7nm architecture.
Although, does Apple really need to change anything on that front? Probably not. Because the company is clearly the market leader in the smart wearables category under the $500 mark, and the only other possible competitor, Google, still hasn’t figured things out. New SoC or not, Apple Watches are still the smoothest experience out there, and the Cupertino Giant is very comfortable with doing iterative updates every year.
One of the biggest gripes with smart watches is battery life, and of course a new SoC built on a more advanced node will help with that. But Apple doesn’t care much for that, as all the smart watches (not smart bands), are one day devices, and Apple’s watches achieve that comfortably. And when they design a multiple day watch for fitness and sports enthusiasts, they simply make the Watch bigger and fit in a bigger battery, like with the Apple Watch Ultra.