Apple A15 Bionic Chip: 15 billion transistors, new graphics and Ai

 The A15 Bionic chip powers the entire iPhone 13 line, ranging from the iPhone 13 mini to the iPhone 13 Pro Max. Apple says the new CPU has two high-performance cores and four cores for energy efficiency. Apple's chip designs have kept its phones faster than the competition for years. But what kind of performance advantage are you getting over the previous A14 Bionic?

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iphone 13 pro | Image : Apple

Design: Super-fast Neural Engine Performs up to 15.8 trillion operations per second

The Apple A15 Bionic is a 64-bit ARM-based system on a chip (SoC) designed by Apple Inc. It is used in the iPhone 13 Mini and iPhone 13, iPhone 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max, and the 2021 iPad Mini. Apple A15 Bionic will supposedly become “the fastest chip in a smartphone”, with Apple looking to increase its lead over the competition. 

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Image : Apple

The Apple A15 Bionic features an Apple-designed 64-bit six-core CPU implementing ARMv8 with two high-performance cores called Avalanche and four energy-efficient cores called Blizzard. Transistors are the core circuitry elements that process and store data on chips, and the count this year, 15 billion, is significantly higher than the 11.8 billion on the A14 chip that powers iPhone 12 models introduced in 2020. The A15 includes dedicated neural network hardware that Apple calls a new 16-core Neural Engine. The Neural Engine can perform 15.8 trillion operations per second, faster than A14's 11 trillion operations per second. The 16-core neural engine is dedicated to speeding up artificial intelligence tasks using today's machine learning technology. That's useful for an increasing breadth of tasks, including generating Siri's synthetic voice, recognizing information in photos, focusing on faces in photos and unlocking your phone with Face ID. The A15 also includes a new image processor with improved computational photography capabilities. Designing its own chips gives Apple several advantages. It can set its own priorities in features and release timing. It can better integrate its own software. And more broadly, it can set its own destiny better, a benefit embodied in the "Cook doctrine," named for CEO Tim Cook, to "own and control" the main technologies in its products. A15 is manufactured by TSMC on their second-generation 5 nm fabrication process, N5P.

GPU: iPhone 13 Pro’s A15 Bionic chip has more powerful GPU than regular iPhone 13

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Image : Apple

The A15 integrates an Apple-designed five-core GPU for the iPad mini 6, iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max models while the GPU from the A15 Bionic chip in the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini features four cores. Apple says The GPU from the A15 Bionic chip in the iPhone 13 mini and iPhone 13 delivers 30% better graphics performance compared to the “competition.” As for the A15 Bionic chip in the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max, the GPU has an extra core for a total of five cores that deliver up to 50% better performance compared to the competition, ideal for video apps, high-performance gaming, and the slate of new camera features. While Apple claims that this new silicon provides up to 50-percent better performance than the competition but it didn't actually provide a comparison to its own A14 chip.

Last year's A14 was incredibly impressive, setting a new standard and providing the basis for Apple's M1 chip that powers its new Mac computers. As good as that is, Apple is a master at squeezing an incredible amount of performance from its ARM processors while maintaining outstanding efficiency and the A15 represents that state of the art in 2021.