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.

a13 bionic chip iphone 11 pro
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 Forum: iPhone

Top Rated Comments

Wilson1313 Avatar
58 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)
macduke Avatar
58 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)
Maclver Avatar
58 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)
jonnyb098 Avatar
58 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)
chucker23n1 Avatar
58 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)
Precursor Avatar
58 months ago
Can’t wait for 13X for iPad Pro
That’s gonna be a beast!
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

Beyond iPhone 13 Better Blue Face ID Single Camera Hole

Six Reasons to Wait for Next Year's iPhone 17

Thursday February 22, 2024 4:20 am PST by
Apple's iPhone development roadmap runs several years into the future and the company is continually working with suppliers on several successive iPhone models concurrently, which is why we sometimes get rumored feature leaks so far ahead of launch. The iPhone 17 series is no different, and already we have some idea of what to expect from Apple's 2025 smartphone lineup. If you plan to skip...
iPhone Notch

Apple Explored These Notch and Dynamic Island Designs for iPhones

Friday February 23, 2024 2:05 pm PST by
With the iPhone 14 Pro models in 2022, Apple introduced the Dynamic Island, which can morph and expand to display system alerts, sports scores, and a variety of other information. The feature makes the space surrounding the front camera and Face ID sensors useful compared to the notch on older iPhone models. Apple explored a variety of ideas for the iPhone's notch area over the years before...
General Apps Messages

Apple Announces 'Groundbreaking' New Security Protocol for iMessage

Wednesday February 21, 2024 6:00 am PST by
Apple today announced a new post-quantum cryptographic protocol for iMessage called PQ3. Apple says this "groundbreaking" and "state-of-the-art" protocol provides "extensive defenses against even highly sophisticated quantum attacks." Apple believes the PQ3 protocol's protections "surpass those in all other widely deployed messaging apps," according to its blog post:Today we are announcing...
Next Generation CarPlay Porsche 1

Apple Launching Next-Generation CarPlay This Year With These New Features

Wednesday February 21, 2024 2:03 pm PST by
Apple recently updated its website to confirm that the first vehicle models with next-generation CarPlay support will debut "in 2024." This wording is shown on Apple's regional websites for the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and many other countries. The iOS 17.4 beta includes code-level references to eight new CarPlay apps:Auto Settings: This app will let you manage paired iPhones...
cracked glass vision pro

Handful of Apple Vision Pro Units Develop Identical Crack in Cover Glass

Friday February 23, 2024 4:46 am PST by
A small number of Apple Vision Pro owners have claimed that their headsets developed a hairline crack down the middle of the front cover glass, despite having never been dropped or mishandled. Photo of hairline crack in Vision Pro front glass (credit: Reddit user Inphenite) The first report was posted in the subreddit /r/VisionPro about 18 days ago, and several more have appeared in the last...
iOS 17

iOS 17.4 Will Add These New Features to Your iPhone

Monday February 19, 2024 6:52 am PST by
Apple last month confirmed that iOS 17.4 will be released in March, and the update includes several new features and changes for the iPhone. Key new features in iOS 17.4 include major App Store changes in the EU and Apple Podcasts transcripts. The update also adds new emoji and includes preparations for the launch of next-generation CarPlay later this year. More details about the new...
New Macs iPads iOS 17 4

What to Expect at Potential Apple Event in March: iPads, Macs, and More

Friday February 23, 2024 8:35 am PST by
Apple often holds its first media event of the year in March, so the company could be just weeks away from announcing new products. Below, we have outlined what to expect from a potential Apple Event this March. Past Apple Events in March Apple has held five events in March since 2015:Monday, March 9, 2015 Monday, March 21, 2016 Tuesday, March 27, 2018 Monday, March 25, 2019 Tuesday,...
Oled iPads and MackBook Pro Notch

Apple's OLED Roadmap: New iPad Mini, Foldable iPad Pro, and More

Wednesday February 21, 2024 5:29 am PST by
Apple is planning to launch at least nine new devices with OLED displays across the iPad and MacBook product lines, according to an updated forecast from research firm Omdia that sets out the company's plans in detail. As widely rumored, Apple's push to transition to OLED will apparently be jump-started by the release of new 11- and 13-inch iPad Pro models this year. The displays will...