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Apple executives discuss the design of the A14 Bionic for iPad Air and beyond



To many surprises, Apple’s 2020 iPad Air was the first device to use the new A14 Bionic chipset. That SoC’s impact will not be limited to iPads either, as it will almost certainly drive the next generation of iPhones to be unveiled on October 13.

5nm A14 Bionic chip
Apple’s 5nm A14 Bionic chip

Chris Velazco for Engadget:

In a conversation with Engadget, Tim Millet, Apple’s VP of platform architecture, and Tom Boger, senior director of Mac and iPad product marketing, highlight the company’s approach to designing the A14, and what it means for the iPad Air and beyond.

Because the A14 was designed for a 5nm manufacturing process, more is happening in this system-on-a-chip than ever before … The switch to 5nm meant that Apple had far more transistors to devote to all the systems on the chip. Think: 11.8 billion kroner, up from 8.5 billion the company had to work with in last year’s A13 Bionic. As you’d expect, the huge increase in the number of transistors gave Apple the extra processing bits needed to build significantly faster, more efficient CPU and GPU cores. But it also gave Apple the ability to make more subtle improvements to the device’s overall experience …

Not surprisingly, this year’s Neural Engine is far from the first we saw in 2017. Although the original processor could perform 600 billion operations per second, last year’s A13 line increased to 6 trillion operations at the same time. Meanwhile, A14 generally obliterates the bar by making a claim 11 trillion operations per second.

MacDailyNews Take: No other company can match what Apple does by marrying high-performance, specially designed silicon with operating systems, APIs and apps optimized specifically for Apple SoC. That’s why even older iPhones consistently run rings around the will of all fans.


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