Apple’s A14 and A15 Bionic, the game-changing SoC solutions from Apple
“Apple’s A14 Bionic, fully dedicated to the iPhone12 series and iPads, arrived on the scene in 2020, and this was the right time,” asserts Ying-Wu Liu, Technology & Cost Analyst at Yole SystemPlus, part of Yole Group. “The Apple’s A15 Bionic was not far behind, offering multiple advantages for the iPhone 13 and iPad Mini series,” adds Ying-Wu Liu.
Apple’s SoCs have consistently been at the leading edge of performance and process technology. And the A14 and A15 are no exceptions. Apple’s A15 Bionic arrives as a performance leader in a smartphone processor industry expected to generate US$35 billion in revenue for chip designers.
Yole SystemPlus and Yole Intelligence, have been investigating the smartphone industry and especially processor technology for some time. They collaborate closely to identify the latest innovations and understand the technology choices made by the OEMs. They also analyze the market evolution and the strategies of the leading companies.
Today, the two companies offer a comprehensive overview of the processor industry and recent technical innovations for consumer products, with four analyses.
Apple’s A14 Bionic System-on-Chip and Apple’s A15 Bionic System-on-Chip are two reports compiled byYole SystemPlus. These reports provide insight into the technology, manufacturing cost, and selling price. They also include front-end construction analysis to reveal the most interesting features of TSMC’s 5nm process and back-end construction analysis for the packaging structure.
In parallel, Yole’s computing analysts offer two analyses: the Processor Quarterly Market Monitor and Computing and AI Technologies for Mobile and Consumer Applications.
“2020 saw OEMs build up inventory to guard against supply chain disruptions, either geopolitical-caused or just supply scarcity,” states Adrien Sanchez, Technology & Market Analyst at Yole Intelligence. “This trend is continuing into 2021 and pushing APU revenues into the high US$40 billion by 2026…”
In this dynamic context, Apple has always developed its own processors for commercial products. Among its entire processor series, the A-series has contributed the most to Apple’s sales. This is because Apple’s iPhone is powered by an A-series chip. Moreover, the A-series is also used in many other hot products such as the iPad, iPod, and Apple TV.
Titre du visueljune 2021
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According to Ying-Wu Liu: “Today, the newest generation, the A14 Bionic, is potently supporting the iPhone 12 Pro and iPad Air 4th. The A14 Bionic is a 64-bit ARM-based SoC with 6 CPUs in a big.LITTLE configuration, 4 GPUs plus a new 16-core Neural Engine. According to Apple, the A14 is the fastest smartphone chip ever, and 40% faster than the previous generation. The chip has 11.8 billion transistors and was fabricated by TSMC on a 5nm process”. This manufacturing process is also used for Apple’s M1 SoC, also analyzed by Yole SystemPlus.
As part of the A-series from Apple, the A15 Bionic SoC is the world’s fastest smartphone chip. The A15 Bionic is a 64-bit ARM-based SoC with 6 CPUs in a big.LITTLE configuration, 5 GPUs plus a 16-core Neural Engine. According to Apple, the A15 delivers 50% faster graphics performance than any smartphone chip ever made. The chip has 15.8 billion transistors, a 27% increase from its predecessor. And it was fabricated by TSMC on a 5nm process, which also applies to the Apple M1 and Apple A14 Bionic as detailed in Yole SystemPlus’s dedicated report: Apple M1 SoC.
“The most notable difference from the A14 is with GPU binning, in which the base model gets a processor with 4 active GPU cores and the Pro and iPad mini get an A15 with all 5 GPU cores active”, explains John Lorenz, Technology & Market Analyst at Yole.
This game-changing chip now powers the iPhone 13 series and iPad mini 6th, concludes Yole SystemPlus. Both the A14 and A15 SoCs contain SRAM cache in the die and integrates external LPDDR4X DRAM with the packaging. To integrate the DRAM die, Apple used standard PoP technology, including copper pillars, redistribution layers, and integrated silicon high-density capacitors.