We already know a great deal about the upcoming iPhone 9, iPhone X Plus, 8S/XS or whatever naming convention Apple comes up with. Even if we didn’t though, one thing would be pretty obvious: the next generation of iPhones will be faster. But how much faster?
That’s a question that Macworld’s Jason Cross has decided to dig into, analysing recent developments in processor manufacturing and past annual improvements in iPhone performance to come up with some educated guesses.
Building on the A10 Fusion and A11 Bionic chips, the upcoming A12 processor will be the first to use TSMC’s 7nm process. Out of the box, TSMC claims, this should see a marked improvement over 10nm processors like the A11 Bionic with “1.6X logic density, ~20% speed improvement, and ~40% power reduction.”
Theoretically, that means that if Apple were to just use the 7nm manufacturing process to make smaller A11 Bionic chips, you could expect a chip that was 40% smaller and using 40% less power to run at the same speed. Or if it ran at the same power, you could get an extra 20% performance out of it.
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But that isn’t going to happen: The A12 chip will clearly offer more advancements and Cross reckons that Apple will up the 4.3 billion transistors found in the A11 to as many as six billion in the A12.
That, Cross believes, will see a multi-core Geekbench score of around 13,000, up from the 10,174 the A11 chip delivered, which isn’t as big a leap as achieved between A10 and A11, where performance came close to doubling. “Why? Because the A11 made a major architectural change to the way multi-threaded performance works,” Cross explains.
“It introduced a new second-generation performance controller that, for the first time, allowed the two big cores and the four little cores to all work at the same time,” he writes. “That had a huge impact on multi-core performance. The A12 may have faster cores, and may even be more efficient about using them all at once, but it won’t have the advantage of suddenly being able to use more of them at the same time than ever before.”
This modest improvement will likely also be matched in the GPU department. While the improvements could be in the 40% range, memory bandwidth would prevent this being visible in real-world gaming scenarios. Instead, gains of 15-25% are supposedly more likely.
The whole report is well worth reading, highlighting other possible improvements to idle battery life and the possibility of a single-world iPhone, rather than versions for different regions. You can read it in full here.
Is this a big enough improvement for you, or are you hoping for more? Let us know what you think on Twitter: @TrustedReviews