This year Apple took the unusual step of unveiling its newest SoC before its iPhone event, since the newest iPad Air also includes the exact same A14 chip. However, Apple clearly didn’t want to say too much about it last month in order to save the real news for the iPhone 12 launch.
At today’s event, however, Apple pulled out all of the stops, going into the usual level of detail on the A14 Bionic, noting that it’s the first smartphone chip built on new 5nm process technology, which allows them to cram in 11.8 billion transistors — a 40 percent increase over last year’s A13.
Since no iPad ever included an A13 chip, Apple only compared the A14’s performance specs at last month’s event to the A12-series chips that had come before, and of course these were very impressive, but the A14 still represents a huge leap over what the A13 is capable of, with a performance boost that now makes it 50% faster in both core processing and graphics processing than any other smartphone chip, including the A13, along with machine learning computations that run 70 percent faster, and the Neural Engine getting an 80 percent boost over the A13’s.
As Hope Giles, Apple’s VP of Engineering Program Management for Hardware Technologies explained, Apple has accomplished this by increasing the Neural Engine to 16 cores, which results in the ability for it to now process 11 trillion operations per second. The main SoC uses a 6-core CPU with the usual two high-performance and four high-efficiency cores, along with a 4-core GPU that’s now the fastest GPU in any smartphone.