Apple Says A13 Bionic Chip Was Designed With Performance-Per-Watt Focus

In a feature for WIRED, Om Malik sat down with Apple's marketing chief Phil Schiller and chipmaking engineer Anand Shimpi to discuss the A13 Bionic chip in the new iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max.


Malik first provides an overview of the A13 chip's specs and performance improvements:

  • 8.5 billion transistors, an approximately 23 percent increase over the A12 chip's 6.9 billion transistors

  • Six-core CPU: two 2.66GHz high-performance cores named Lightning and four efficiency cores named Thunder

  • Quad-core graphics processor, an Apple-designed image processor, and an octa-core neural engine for machine learning that is capable of one trillion operations per second

  • Up to 20 percent performance increase across all of the main components, including the CPU, GPU, and neural engine

  • Up to 30 percent more power efficient than the A12 chip

Schiller told Malik that one of the biggest examples of the performance increase this year is text-to-speech on iPhones.

"We've enhanced our iOS 13 text-to-speech capabilities such that there is much more natural language processing, and that's all done with machine learning and the neural engine," Schiller explained.

Shimpi noted that when designing its A-series chips, Apple focuses on both performance and efficiency. "We talk about performance a lot publicly. But the reality is, we view it as performance per watt. We look at it as energy efficiency, and if you build an efficient design, you also happen to build a performance design."

The article notes that Apple's chipmaking team will study how apps are being used on iOS devices to optimize future chip designs. "For applications that don't need the additional performance, you can run at the performance of last year's and just do it at a much lower power," Shimpi said.

Machine learning also plays a big role in the A13 chip, helping to manage battery life and optimize performance, according to Schiller. "There wasn't machine learning running ten years ago. Now, it's always running, doing stuff."

Related Roundups: iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
9 months ago
Silicon design team doesn't get enough credit - they've made an incredible chip compared to the competition.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
9 months ago
For those wondering, yes, that is Anand Shimpi, founder of AnandTech. I freaking love that he is a chipmaking engineer at Apple now.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
9 months ago
1 trillion operations a second...... I can't even begin to imagine. It's mind boggling to think how far we have come since the original iPhone
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
9 months ago


All so people can open Facebook 0.4 times faster!

Or not open it at all since Facebook is the DEVIL!
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
9 months ago


In other words, it's based on ARM A77+A55.

https://developer.arm.com/ip-products/processors/cortex-a/cortex-a77

Nope. Apple A* chips aren't based on ARM Cortex designs. They implement the ARM ISA, but don't use ARM's designs.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
9 months ago
Can’t wait for 13X for iPad Pro
That’s gonna be a beast!
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Apple Doubles the Price of RAM Upgrade on Entry-Level 13-Inch MacBook Pro

Saturday May 30, 2020 4:00 pm PDT by
Apple today doubled the price for upgrading the RAM on the entry-level 13-inch MacBook Pro, with customers in the United States now being charged $200 to move from 8GB to 16GB compared to the previous $100 upgrade price. Similar increases are seen in other countries, such as moving from €125 to €250 in Germany and from £100 to £200 in the United Kingdom. Current pricing on RAM upgrade for ...

8 Mac Tips and Tricks You Might Not Know

Friday May 29, 2020 12:36 pm PDT by
There are tons of hidden features and shortcuts for Macs that Apple has built into macOS over the years, ranging from shortcuts to keyboard commands to other little hacks to make Mac usage just a bit simpler. In our latest YouTube video, we highlighted several of these tips and tricks, and some of them might just be new to you. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Tr...

Apple Begins Selling Refurbished iPhone XR Models

Thursday May 28, 2020 9:50 pm PDT by
Apple today began selling certified refurbished iPhone XR models in select colors and capacities for the first time in the United States. Refurbished iPhone XR models are priced at a roughly 16 percent discount compared to current pricing on brand-new units, knocking $100–120 off of the regular price. In addition to the 64GB and 128GB capacities matching current brand-new iPhone XR models, ...

Top Stories: macOS 10.15.5, New Powerbeats Pro Colors, iPhone 12 and 13 Rumors, and More

Saturday May 30, 2020 6:00 am PDT by
This week saw an interesting mix of news and rumors on the Apple front, led by the release of macOS 10.15.5, which brings a new battery health feature to newer Mac notebooks, while we also saw the official announcement of new colors for the Powerbeats Pro earphones. On the rumor front, we heard a few tidbits about not just this year's iPhone 12 but also next year's iPhone, while we saw...

Powerbeats Pro Debut in Four New Colors: Spring Yellow, Cloud Pink, Lava Red, and Glacier Blue

Friday May 29, 2020 10:00 am PDT by
Following a couple of leaks in recent weeks, Beats today is officially announcing four new colors for its Powerbeats Pro wireless earphones: Spring Yellow, Cloud Pink, Lava Red, and Glacier Blue. The new earphones will go on sale June 9 and sell for the same $249.95 price as the existing color options. Aside from the colors, the new Powerbeats Pro models are otherwise identical to the...

Apple Releases macOS Catalina 10.15.5 With Battery Health Management Features, Fix for Finder Freezing

Tuesday May 26, 2020 1:59 pm PDT by
Apple today released macOS Catalina 10.15.5, the fifth update to the macOS Catalina operating system that was released in October 2019. macOS Catalina 10.15.5 comes two months after the launch of macOS Catalina 10.15.4, which introduced Screen Time Communication Limits. macOS Catalina 10.15.5 is a free update that can be downloaded from the Mac App Store using the Update feature in the...

Apple Making It Harder to Avoid Nagging macOS Update Notifications

Thursday May 28, 2020 8:13 am PDT by
With the release of macOS Catalina 10.15.5 and related security updates for macOS Mojave and High Sierra earlier this week, Apple is making it more difficult for users to ignore available software updates and remain on their current operating system versions. Included in the release notes for macOS Catalina 10.15.5 is the following:- Major new releases of macOS are no longer hidden when...

Leaker Shares Details on 'iPhone 13' Camera [Updated]

Wednesday May 27, 2020 4:27 pm PDT by
The next-generation iPhone 12 lineup coming in fall 2020 isn't out yet, but Fudge (@choco_bit), a leaker who sometimes shares information on upcoming Apple devices, today offered up details on what Apple has in store for the 2021 iPhone 13's camera setup. A simple design drawing depicts a device with a four camera array, which Fudge claims will have the following features: 64-megapixel...

More Photos and Video of Apple's Redesigned Leather Loop Watch Band Surface

Thursday May 28, 2020 10:50 am PDT by
Images of a new version of the Leather Loop that Apple appears to have in development surfaced yesterday, and today, Vietnamese site Tinhte.vn has shared additional photos and videos that give us a clearer picture of what to expect from the new band. The bands come in colors that include red, hot pink, blue, black, and brown, with some of the bands featuring different colored accents at the...

Tile Writes to EU Accusing Apple of Abuse of Power

Friday May 29, 2020 4:29 am PDT by
Bluetooth accessory maker Tile has written to the European Union accusing Apple of abuse of power and of illegally favoring its own products. According to a report by Financial Times, in a letter sent on Tuesday to the European Commissioner for Competition, the accessory maker said that Apple is making it harder for users to use Tile products on iPhone because it has its own rival Find My...