08/14 Update below. This post was originally published on August 11
The iPhone 12 range is not just going to be fast, it’s going to blow the rest of the industry away, according to new information provided by prolific industry insider Komiya. The tipster reveals Apple’s new A14 chipset inside the range will offer CPU and GPU gains of 40% and 50% respectively. That equates to a multi-generational increase on the iPhone’s A13, which is already the fastest smartphone chipset on the market.
08/13 Update: fellow Apple leaker iHacktu has directly countered Komiya’s A14 performance claim, saying the chipset will see a CPU gain of circa 30% and a GPU boost of 38%. While smaller, these numbers would still represent the biggest generational performance leap in years and the chipset is also expected to be significantly more power efficient. Much of the hype for the A14 centers on its 5nm manufacturing process (details below) and the iPhone 12 lineup will be the first smartphones to debut it. Which leaker is right? Differing benchmarks and levels of software optimization mean both could be under different scenarios. Either way, the A14 is going to massively extend Apple’s already commanding lead in smartphone performance.
08/14 Update: new iPhone 12 design details have leaked with reports that Apple will swap out the stainless steel chassis used by the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max for ‘aerospace aluminum’ in the new Pro models. The new material is allegedly more durable and more resistant to hot and cold temperatures. This latter ability is more likely aimed at optimizing performance of the ballistic new A14 chipset function, than Apple designing the new phones specifically for improved use in deserts and poles! I have some skepticism about this change, given such a material change would usually leak a lot sooner than this. That said, with the iPhone 11 Pro Max already weighing 226g (7.97 oz) and the iPhone 12 Pro Max set to get even larger, weight saving measures may be necessary.
Furthermore, this makes sense. Last month, popular YouTuber Filip Koroy (aka EverythingApplePro) revealed the A14 would deliver a massive performance upgrade to compete with what the iPhone 8’s A11 chip achieved over the iPhone 7’s A10. That was a game-changing leap, with the A11 offering 70% improved multitasking performance but, even then, its high performance CPU and GPU cores were just 25% and 30% faster. Meanwhile, back in January, the iPhone 12 was tipped to outpace the MacBook Pro.
So, compared to more modest recent gains (A13 20%, A12 15%), how has Apple suddenly leapt forward again? The big enabler is the A14’s move from a 7nm to 5nm manufacturing process. This means more transistors in the same space (Koroy says 15 billion Vs 8.5 billion on the A13), as well as increased power efficiency. The latter of which would explain the iPhone 12 lineup’s surprisingly small batteries.
But is speed a big selling point? I think so. While plans for so-called Apple Silicon in Macs and MacBooks is exciting news, the real appeal of its ever improving presence in iPhones is longevity. Consequently, while more obvious crowd pleasing upgrades have hit the rocks, the A14 has the potential to make the iPhone 12 line-up some of the most future proof smartphones in history.
During this turbulent time, that might just be the most pleasing crowd pleasing upgrade of them all.
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