'A9' Articles

New A9-Based 4-Inch iPhone to Replace iPhone 5s, iPhone 6 and 6 Plus

Apple's next-generation 4-inch iPhone is more likely to include variants of the A9 and M9 motion coprocessor chips, allowing for always-on Hey Siri, according to 9to5Mac. The report claims the so-called "iPhone 5se" will likely replace the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in Apple's fall 2016 smartphone lineup, while the iPhone 5s will then be discontinued.Because the iPhone 7 will include a faster chip potentially known as the A10 processor, Apple likely does not want its new 4-inch iPhone to fall two processor generations behind in just six months.9to5Mac and other sources originally expected the new 4-inch iPhone to have an A8 chip with M8 motion coprocessor, but Chinese website MyDrivers last week said the device will have an A9 chip instead. Apple has allegedly tested multiple prototypes with both A8 and A9 chipsets, likely fueling the conflicting reports. Today's report also claims the new 4-inch iPhone will have 16GB and 64GB storage models available, which again corroborates Chinese website MyDrivers. Other possible specs reported elsewhere include a 1,624 mAh battery, 1GB of RAM, Bluetooth 4.2, Apple Pay, VoLTE and 802.11ac WiFi, but 3D Touch appears unlikely. The next-generation 4-inch iPhone reportedly entered mass production last week, ahead of a rumored March event announcement, alongside the iPad Air 3 and Apple Watch updates including new bands and possibly other minor improvements. The smartphone is expected to ship in late March or early

Controlled Testing Supports Apple's Claim of Nearly Equal iPhone 6s Battery Life With TSMC and Samsung Chips

Last week Apple addressed concerns over battery life discrepancies between the TSMC and Samsung A9 chips used in the iPhone 6s and the 6s Plus, suggesting a real world battery life difference of only two to three percent between the chips despite Geekbench battery tests that had pointed towards a bigger gap. Ars Technica has now conducted controlled battery life tests on two iPhone 6s models, one with a TSMC chip and one with a Samsung chip, and its findings line up with Apple's statement. The site used two AT&T models, both with SIM cards removed and screen brightness set at the exact same level. In Wi-Fi browsing, WebGL, and GFXBench tests, there were performance differences mostly in favor of the TSMC iPhone, but the variation between the two phones was slight. There was a more significant performance difference on the Geekbench 3 test, but as has been covered earlier, that test is not reflective of real world usage. Aside from the Geekbench test, which saw a battery life difference of 28 percent between the two devices, the TSMC iPhone and the Samsung iPhone scored within two to three percent of each other. In Ars' opinion, in the real world, there's going to be little difference between a Samsung iPhone and a TSMC iPhone.So there are definitely circumstances under which the TSMC phone will last longer than the Samsung phone, but it's not a universal problem. A Samsung chip that's mostly idling or even one under modest CPU and GPU load, though, is going to behave in just about the same way as a TSMC chip. And the kinds of CPU-intensive work that the Samsung

Apple Claims TSMC vs Samsung A9 Chip Variants Result in Only 2-3% Difference in 'Real World' Battery Life

Over the past several days, a slew of battery tests on the iPhone 6s and the iPhone 6s Plus have revealed some performance differences between models that have an A9 chip manufactured by TSMC and those with an A9 chip created by Samsung. While various benchmarking and real world usage tests have shown differences of 6 percent to 22 percent, in favor of TSMC chips, Apple says that its own testing has shown battery life variations of only two to three percent. In a statement given to TechCrunch, Apple says that it has done internal testing and gathered customer data to determine the performance difference between the two chips in the iPhones. With the Apple-designed A9 chip in your iPhone 6s or iPhone 6s Plus, you are getting the most advanced smartphone chip in the world. Every chip we ship meets Apple's highest standards for providing incredible performance and deliver great battery life, regardless of iPhone 6s capacity, color, or model. Certain manufactured lab tests which run the processors with a continuous heavy workload until the battery depletes are not representative of real-world usage, since they spend an unrealistic amount of time at the highest CPU performance state. It's a misleading way to measure real-world battery life. Our testing and customer data show the actual battery life of the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, even taking into account variable component differences, vary within just 2-3% of each other.Apple says that early battery benchmark tests conducted by customers, such as those we shared yesterday, are not reflective of real world usage

Samsung and TSMC iPhone 6s Chips Show Smaller Real-World Battery Impacts Compared to Benchmarks

The news that Apple dual sourced its A9 chips for the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus has been a point of discussion over the past few weeks, especially when new battery tests on the phones pointed towards the TSMC chips outperforming those made by Samsung. Following the news, several YouTubers have begun creating videos to compare the dual sourced chips in both battery-straining tests and basic real-world scenarios. In the first video, Austin Evans compared identical models of the iPhone 6s -- one with the Samsung chip and one with the TSMC chip -- and calibrated their screens so they had the exact same brightness. After running the GeekBench 3 battery test until they both ran down to 50 percent battery life, Evans discovered that the TSMC iPhone 6s lasted fifty minutes longer than the Samsung version, "resulting in a nearly 1.5 times difference in battery life." Thermal imaging also showed the Samsung device running hotter than the TSMC version. Evans also ran a lighter battery test, playing the same hour-long YouTube video on each device to see how a more day-to-day scenario would affect each chip. In the end, he saw only a one percentage point difference in battery drain, noting that while heavy-use cases could see the TSMC chips come out on top, highlighting the differences between benchmarks and real-world usage. The next video is from Jonathan Morrison, who compared each chip by running a 30-minute timelapse with all the same settings and brightness running on each device. After the test, the Samsung iPhone 6s was down to 84 percent battery, while the TSMC

TSMC's A9 Chip Outperforming Samsung's in Early iPhone 6s Battery Benchmarks

Following the launch of the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus last month, it was discovered that Apple is dual sourcing the A9 chip for the new devices from both TSMC and Samsung, with the chips from the two companies measuring at slightly different sizes due to different processes used in manufacturing the chips. As users began to determine which chips were used in their devices, data began to point toward a 60/40 split in favor of TSMC, although the ratio has shifted toward 50/50 as more data has been obtained. Benchmarks have suggested there is little if any difference in chip performance between the two A9 variants, but some recent battery testing (via Engadget) is hinting at the possibility of significantly better battery life for models with the TSMC-manufactured A9 chip. We should caution that data points remain few at this time and controlling for variables to accurately focus the comparison only on the differences in the A9 is difficult, but these limited tests are generating significant amounts of interest in our discussion forums and elsewhere. Perhaps the most dramatic result comes from a reddit poster who compared Samsung and TSMC versions of the iPhone 6s Plus using the battery life test included in Geekbench 3, finding the TSMC version lasting nearly two hours longer than the model with Samsung A9 chip. Geekbench battery tests on TSMC (left) and Samsung (right) iPhone 6s Plus variants Ran this test a couple times and results were consistent. Always about a 2 hour difference in duration. Both phones were tested using the same backup, same settings. Also tried

Samsung and TSMC Begin Production of A9 Chips for 'iPhone 6s'

Apple manufacturing partners Samsung and TSMC have started volume production of A9 chips for the so-called "iPhone 6s," according to DigiTimes. The report claims Apple requested last-minute changes to the chip layout, requiring both chipmakers to rework wafers, but the modifications are not expected to impact the release schedule of the next-generation iPhone. Apple's iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and new iPod touch are powered by the A8 chip TSMC will reportedly begin mass production of A9 chips based on a 16nm process in the fourth quarter of 2015, and is also expected to manufacture fingerprint sensors and audio chips on a contract basis for future iPhones. Conflicting reports have surfaced over the past several months suggesting that Samsung, TSMC or a combination of the two would be responsible for A9 chip production. DigiTimes has a mixed track record at reporting on Apple's upcoming plans, but it does have close connections with the overseas supply chain, and A9 chip production in July is reasonable with less than two months until the next iPhone is expected to launch. Apple will reportedly order a record-breaking 85-90 million "iPhone 6s" units from suppliers by the end of 2015. The much-rumored "iPhone 6s" and "iPhone 6s Plus" are expected to be announced in September and could feature the same 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch screen sizes, an A9 processor with 2GB of RAM, Force Touch, a faster Qualcomm LTE chip, an improved 12-megapixel rear-facing camera and 7000 Series aluminum. The overall design of the smartphones will likely be nearly identical to the iPhone 6 and

TSMC May Supply 30% of A9 Chip Orders for Next-Generation iPhone

Earlier this month, a report indicated that Samsung would produce the A9 chip for the next-generation iPhone. Now, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, a reliable source on Apple's future plans, says that he expects Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) to supply 30% of the chip orders for the next-generation iPhone. This is the latest turn in what has become a back-and-forth affair in determining the companies that will supply A9 chips for next-generation iPhones. We believe key reasons in Apple’s (US) last minute decision to recruit TSMC are: (1) unstable yield rate at GlobalFoundries (US); (2) TSMC’s 16nm FinFET Turbo has exceeded Apple’s expectations in yield rate and performance; and (3) concerns of insufficient 14nm supply from Samsung LSI (KR) due to better-than-expected market feedback of Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge, which uses the in-house 14nm FinFET-manufactured application processor Exynos 7420.Kuo notes that GlobalFoundries, Samsung's manufacturing partner, has thus far had an unstable yield rate of 30% for the A9 chip, which is below the 50% yield rate that is required for mass production. Bringing TSMC into the chip-supplying fold calms some of the uncertainties of Apple. Additionally, TSMC's 16-nanometer process has exceeded Apple's expectations. Alternatively, the Cupertino company is worried that the success of the the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge, which use Samsung's advanced 14-nanometer process for their chips, will mean that Apple won't be able to book enough chips from Samsung for the next-generation iPhone. Thus, Apple is turning

Samsung Confirmed to Produce A9 Chips for Apple's Next-Generation Devices

Samsung will provide Apple with A9 chips for its next-generation iPhone and other devices, reports Bloomberg, confirming a previous report in early February. Over the past couple of months there had been confusion and conflicting reports as to whether Samsung, Apple's longtime supplier and rival, or Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) would produce the chips. Samsung will start making Apple A9 processor chips at its Giheung plant in South Korea, the people said, asking not to be identified because the contract hasn’t been discussed publicly. Additional orders will go to Samsung’s partner Globalfoundries Inc., according to another person familiar with the arrangement.In 2013, Apple signed a chip production deal with TSMC in hopes of diversifying its supply chain resources and reducing its reliance on Samsung amid the two companies' ongoing legal disputes. It appears that Samsung's investment in manufacturing technologies won Apple over, with TSMC Chairman Morris Chang recently telling investors that the company would lose ground to Samsung in producing the most advanced chip technology possible in 2015, though he also noted the company would regain that advantage in 2016. Samsung is reportedly producing the chips with its advanced 14-nanometer process, which has outpaced TSMC's capabilities and results in smaller chips that consume less energy and provide more processing power. The Korean company is also said to be providing memory chips for Apple's next-generation devices. Thus far, little is known about what the next-generation iPhones or iPads

Samsung to Produce A9 Chips for Apple's Next-Generation Devices

Longtime Apple rival and supplier Samsung will be responsible for manufacturing the A9 chips for Apple's next-generation iPhone and iPad, Re/code confirmed today. Over the past several months, there's been a lot of confusion over whether Samsung or Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) would produce Apple's A9 chips, but recent rumors suggest that Samsung's technological advances have put it ahead of TSMC. Apple signed a chip production deal with TSMC back in 2013 with the hopes of diversifying its supply chain sources and reducing its reliance on Samsung because of ongoing legal battles, but it has been unable to break away from Samsung for its A-series processors. Both TSMC and Samsung produced 20-nanometer A8 and A8X processors for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in 2014, though TSMC handled the bulk of the orders. 20-nanometer A8 chip in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, via Chipworks At a time when Samsung's mobile division is seeing profit loss due to flagging sales, the company's semiconductor business has helped to balance out some of the losses with continued growth. During the last quarter, Samsung's chip division earned 2.7 trillion won, making supplier relationships like the one that it has with Apple highly important to the company. Samsung is reportedly already manufacturing A9 chips for Apple, built on its 14-nanometer chip process that has outpaced TSMC's production capabilities. As detailed by Re/code, the 14-nanometer process will result in smaller chips that use less power.That's because Samsung holds a technological edge over TSMC when it

Samsung to Produce Majority of Apple's A9 Chips for Next-Generation iPhone

Samsung will be the main supplier of Apple's upcoming A9 chip that will power the next-generation iPhone, reports South Korean newspaper Maeil Business (via Reuters). The newspaper notes that Samsung will supply around 75% of chips for the next iPhone, and that the processors will be produced at the company's factory in Austin, Texas. Apple's A8 chip Last month, a report from Korea's ET News said that Samsung had begun work on the processor in Texas. Previous reports noted that Samsung and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) would be producing the A9 chip, although Samsung was chosen to be the primary supplier in a deal that was said to be worth billions. BusinessKorea reported last month that Apple would be relying more heavily on Samsung for iPhone 6 and Apple Watch components including RAM, NAND flash storage, and batteries. Apple's A9 chip is expected to power the iPhone 6s and presumably the next-generation iPad Air and iPad mini. Apple is also expected to launch a larger-screened iPad Pro at some point this year, although that device has been rumored to utilize Apple's A8X processor.