Every year in Fall Apple launches a new iPhone series. Last year it was the iPhone 12 series and this year we will see the launch of the iPhone 13 series. But the current tech industry is shaken up a bit due to the ongoing processor or chip shortage going on around the globe. The demand for microprocessors in recent times has grown immensely and the supply is not able to catch up to it. But Apple does not want to have any delays in the launch of the iPhone 13 series. So they have now already started working with TSMC for the mass production of the A15 Bionic chip that will power up the entire iPhone 13 lineup of smartphones.
Apple A15 Bionic vs A14 Bionic
This time around TSMC is again going with a 5nm manufacturing processor, but for the A15 Bionic they are using an improved 5nm process known as N5P. In terms of lithography, both the A14 Bionic and A15 Bionic will be the same, but the improved 5nm mode should result in improvements in terms of power efficiency and performance. Some sources mention that TSMC’s 5nm technology is receiving another upgrade with the introduction of the N4 nodes. These 4nm nodes will be used in the manufacturing of the upcoming Mac processors, Apple’s M lineup of processors.
The improvements in terms of power efficiency and performance are essential for Apple as the upcoming iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max are said to offer 120Hz LTPO OLED screens and 5G modems. Both of them will drain quite a lot of battery and the A15 Bionic chip with its improved 5nm process needs to make up for it.
CPU & GPU
Like A14 Bionic SoC, the upcoming A15 Bionic chip may also pack 6-cores with a 2+4 configuration. The first two cores could be built for high performance and the remaining four cores will likely be assigned for power efficiency. Talking about the clock speeds, it is currently not known, however, we could see a maximum frequency of 3.2GHz. For the GPU, we may see a new four-core GPU that will offer better performance compared to the A14 chip’s GPU. The tipster Tron on his Twitter account said that the power consumption of the A15 Bionic chipset will be 8.5W whereas the predecessor A14 chip consumes only 7W.
Tipster Tron has also tipped GeekBench benchmark scores of the upcoming A15 SoC. We see A15 bionic has scored 1724 points (highest) in the single-core test while on the multi-core test the highest score recorded is 4320 points. On the other hand, the last-gen A14 Bionic has managed to achieve upto 1606 points for single-core and 4305 points for multi-core. So, the improvement is less impressive. It should be noted that these are not final scores as the chip is currently is in the development phase.
In case of GPU, only average power consumption per watt is shown
it consumes about 8.5W
higher than the 7W level of the A14.
— Tron ❂ (@FrontTron) February 3, 2021
iPhone 13’s A15 chipset is in production
Initially, TSMC had a target of 100,000 monthly wafers for the first half of 2021 and 120,000 monthly wafers for the second half of 2021. But TSMC is now on track to scale output of 140,000-150,000 monthly wafers for the second half of 2021. By the end of 2021, these 5nm nodes should alone accommodate for 20% of TSMC’s total wafer revenue. The revenue might be on the lower side in the first two quarters of 2021, but TSMC is expecting to pull out impressive revenue numbers in the last two quarters of 2021. TSMC is dependent a lot on Apple’s order for A15 Bionic chips, and Apple is also dependent on timely delivery of the A15 Bionic chips to ensure a smooth launch of the iPhone 13 series later this year.