Om Malik: ‘An Exclusive Look Inside Apple’s A13 Bionic Chip’

Om Malik, writing for Wired:

The answer to that question clearly illustrates the inherent advantage of Apple owning the whole stack. To learn about how that vertical integration manifests itself in a chip like the A13 Bionic, I sat down with Schiller and Anand Shimpi, who in a past life was an influential semiconductor- and systems-focused journalist who founded the website AnandTech. Shimpi is now part of Apple’s Platform Architecture team.

The new A13 outpaces last year’s A12 handsomely, with a 20 percent performance gain across all of its main components: the six CPU cores, its graphics processor, and the neural engine. For an already high-performing chip to see such a significant boost is sort of like watching Usain Bolt beat himself in a sprint.

Power efficiency and CPU / GPU performance are important, no question. But they’re not everything. I would never argue that Apple’s A-series chips are the main reason to use iPhones and iPads. If the tables were turned and it were Apple’s chips that were significantly slower and consumed more power, I’d still use and recommend iOS because of its user interface, apps, and overall experience. It’s the same reason I never considered switching away from the Mac during the latter years of the PowerPC era, when Intel-based PCs clearly had performance and performance-per-watt advantages.

But the tables aren’t turned. Apple’s A-series chips are faster and more power efficient than anything available for Android. Can you imagine what Android enthusiasts would say if it were the other way around? They’d have a field day. Instead, they just pretend it isn’t an issue.

How fast is the A13 CPU? So fast that it beats every Mac available in Geekbench 5’s single-core benchmark. Now think about how fast the A13X will be in the next iPad Pros.

Thursday, 19 September 2019