The iPhone 13 will be equipped with a new chip, the A15 Bionic, more powerful than the current one and with lower power consumption. But that's not the only news about Apple's upcoming chips
From the current A14 Bionic to the next A15 Bionic, passing by A14X, A14T and a new GPU: this is the roadmap of Apple's ARM architecture chips for the next twelve months, according to China Times. A line of new chips that will equip the first MacBooks and iMacs without Intel CPUs (respectively with A14X and A14T and with the new GPU) and, next year, also the new iPhone 13 (with A15 Bionic).
All this is already in production in Taiwan, in TSMC factories, to avoid that next year there will be a repeat of the delays in the presentation of the iPhone caused, this year, by the Covid-19 emergency. The new A15 processor, according to China Times, will be an optimization of the current A14 and will be more powerful thanks to TSMC's new N5P production process, similar but more efficient than the one used today for the A14. All this, indirectly, is causing a small earthquake in the world of electronics: Apple would in fact have booked so much production capacity to saturate the lines of TSMC and to push Qualcomm (which, like Apple, designs the chips but does not produce them) to have them built by direct rival Samsung.
A15 Bionic: what we know so far
At the moment chip experts are still trying to understand how fast Apple's A14 Bionic chip, just presented, really is. On the A15 successor there's no definite news, but if it's true as rumored that it will be produced with TSMC's N5P process we can expect decent performance improvements.
The N5P process is one of three 5nm processes that TSMC can use to produce chips. Rispetto all’N5, con cui è realizzato l’A14 di Apple, dovrebbe permettere un aumento di velocità del 7% e una riduzione dei consumi del 15%, ma a parità di design del chip. Ovviamente, però, oltre al nuovo processo produttivo con l’A15 Bionic arriverà anche un nuovo design del SoC. Quindi i miglioramenti prestazionali che possiamo attenderci superano quel 7%.
A14 X, A14T e Apple GPU: cosa sappiamo fino ad ora
Il secondo aspetto molto interessante del report di China Times è quello relativo ad altri due chip Apple: l’A14X e l’A14T. Si tratta dei famosi processori “Apple Silicon" annunciati dalla casa di Cupertino a fine giugno, con la promessa di portare sul mercato un Mac senza processore Intel entro due anni e con la realistica ipotesi di presentare i primi modelli già a fine 2020.
Both A14X, which will be intended for MacBooks, and A14T, which will be intended for iMacs, will be produced by TSMC with the current production process 5N to 5 nm, just like the normal A14 Bionic that equips iPhone 12 and iPad Air 2020. These chips will be accompanied by a GPU for graphics, developed in house, to emancipate itself not only from Intel but also from AMD and Nvidia.
The well-known analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities has predicted that the first devices equipped with the new chips will be a 13.3-inch MacBook and a 24-inch iMac, to be presented between late 2020 and early 2021. According to other reports, however, an ultralight 12-inch MacBook with an A14X chip will arrive in late 2020.