Apple’s upcoming A17 Bionic chip promises to be a huge leap forward in terms of performance and possibly battery life as well.
While last year’s A16 Bionic chip was only a moderate improvement over its predecessor, that could really help the A17. In fact, it was rumored that the A16’s incremental gains were caused by Apple’s “over-ambitiousness in adding new features,” forcing it to downsize — which could benefit the A17 a year later.
Here’s everything we know about Apple’s next big chipset.
A17 Bionic chip release date
There is some speculation that this year’s iPhone 15 family might be launched in October, but that’s just what one analyst predicted. Either way, we don’t have long to wait to see how the A17 Bionic processor performs.
There is not much mystery here. Aside from the iPhone 12, which had the excellent excuse of a global pandemic, every numbered iPhone in the past decade was released in September. Even with the Corona virus, the performance of the iPhone 12 fell only for one month.
The most reliable sources so far indicate that September 12th is the day of the September Apple event. If this is the case, we should see pre-orders open on Friday (September 15th) and the phones going on general sale a week later (September 22nd).
A17 Bionic: What are the iPhone 15 models?
The bad news is that not all iPhones will rock the new internal component. Until last year, both the Pro and feature phones shipped with the same chipset, but in an effort to sell the more expensive model, Apple made the A16 Bionic chip exclusive to the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max.
This is why we expect the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max models to feature only the power of the A17 Bionic chip. The regular iPhone 15 will inherit the A16 from last year’s Pro models.
It’s also possible that the A16 could end up in an iPad or two, too. Notably, the iPad mini 6 comes with the A15 chipset, and the iPad mini 7 is rumored to be imminent.
Specifications and performance of the A17 Bionic chip
The first thing to note about the upcoming A17 Bionic chip is that it is said to be the first chip from Apple to adopt the 3nm manufacturing process.
The A16 is a 4nm chipset, and the smaller manufacturing process in its successor means you can fit a lot more transistors in the same space (between 18 and 24 billion, according to some rumors). This is expected to result in 35% better energy efficiency than its predecessor, which will always help improve battery life.
It also means a significant performance boost, and the recently leaked benchmarks seem to confirm that, assuming they prove legit. Geekbench results show an almost 23% boost in single-core performance, and a whopping 26% jump in multi-core performance.
|Row 0 – cell 0||Geekbench 6 (single core)||Geekbench 6 (multi-core)|
|Apple A17 Bionic (alleged)||3,269||7,666|
|Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 for Galaxy (alleged)||2,233||6,661|
|Apple A16 Bionic||2,514||6,361|
|Snapdragon 8, the second generation of the Galaxy||1,867||4,949|
A later leak claimed that the phone would have a single-core score of 3269 and a multi-core score of 7666. The type of benchmark used wasn’t clear, but indications are that it’s Geekbench 6. These numbers differ slightly from the previous leak, but either way they indicate that the chip A17 Bionic gets a huge performance boost.
There are no such graphic benchmarks to consider yet, but a deep dive from The Information revealed that the A16 Bionic chip released last year was originally slated to offer a “generational leap” for the GPU including support for ray tracing.
This was abandoned, as it reportedly made the phones very hot and hit the battery hard, but hopefully some of the gains can be regained now that Apple is embracing the 3nm manufacturing process.
One thing you should be aware of is a slightly sketchy rumor that suggests that Apple’s chipmaker TSMC will change how it manufactures the A17 Bionic chip in 2024. While that’s clearly a cost-saving exercise, reports vary. About whether this will improve, impair or impair performance. No difference at all. Hopefully more will become clear soon.
Finally, since Apple hasn’t made its own 5G modems yet (the iPhone SE 4 may be the first test), the A17 Bionic will likely be paired with the Snapdragon X70 5G chip. This isn’t a huge upgrade over the X65 in the iPhone 14 Pro, but it does have an AI processor to monitor and optimize connections for smoother networks.
Outlook A17 Bionic
A relatively modest upgrade from the A15 to the A16 means that the A17 Bionic chip could represent a huge leap forward for Apple. With the A16 Bionic chip still leading the performance charts, Apple will be pretty confident it’s ready to retain the title of fastest smartphone with iPhone 15 Pro.
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