Apple has reportedly kicked off production of its newest processor — the A13 chip that will be powering its 2019 iPhone lineup later this year. According to Bloomberg, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) started early test production of the new A13 chip back in April, and sources say that mass production could be ready to begin by the end of this month.
Apple’s A-series chips are at the heart of the company’s iPhones and iPads, and even devices like the Apple TV and HomePod, and Apple’s choice to develop its own silicone for its devices has led to even tighter integration within the company’s hardware and software ecosystem, and the kind of performance gains and advanced features that can be expected with the ability for Apple to tailor each generation of CPU and GPU to meet its own specific requirements. The result has been that iPhones regularly run circles around competing Android smartphones in performance benchmarks, and last year’s A12 Bionic chip even rivalled some of the best desktop CPUs available.
With specs like that, we can only imagine what Apple will be able to accomplish with its A13 chip, and it seems likely we’ll also be seeing a more powerful variant of it coming to any new iPad Pros that Apple releases this year.
The Bloomberg report also offers some new details on the 2019 iPhone lineup, noting that of course the A13 will be featured in all three of the new iPhone models expected this year. While Bloomberg stops short of speculating on what Apple will choose to actually call the new models — names like “iPhone 11” and “iPhone XI” have been bandied around, but nobody knows for sure yet — the successors to the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max are internally code-named D43 and D44, respectively, while the iPhone XR update has been dubbed N104.
All three versions are expected to look very similar to the current versions, although Bloomberg confirms the reports that the XS updates will gain a third rear ultra-wide-angle camera, while the iPhone XR will get a second camera.
The third camera will mean that users of the 2019 iPhone XS and XS Max successors will be able to capture larger and more detailed photos, and the new lens is also said to offer a broader range of zoom. Apple is also reportedly working on a new feature for this year’s iPhones and iOS 13 that will fit people back into a photo who may have accidentally been cut out. The dual-camera system on the XR version is also expected to offer increased zoom as well.
While Bloomberg doesn’t say much about the big square camera bump we’ve been hearing about, the report does note that the iPhone XS and XS Max successors will only be about half a millimetre thicker, and that the back camera array “will fit into a square on the top left.” Although rumours appeared earlier this week that the iPhone XR’s successor may also get the square camera bump, Bloomberg’s report mentions nothing about this, although it does confirm earlier reports that the newest iPhones will be able to wirelessly charge other devices such as AirPods.