A12Z Bionic Chip in iPad Pro Allegedly a Renamed A12X With Extra GPU Core Enabled

Apple's new 2020 iPad Pro models are equipped with an A12Z Bionic processor that's remarkably similar to the A12X chip in the 2018 ‌iPad Pro‌ models, offering little in the way of performance improvements.


The A12Z does, however, feature an 8-core GPU while the A12X includes a 7-core GPU, which sets them apart, but new evidence shared by NotebookCheck suggests that the A12Z Bionic is simply a renamed A12X chip with a latent GPU core enabled.

According to NotebookCheck, teardown site TechInsights confirmed that the 2018 A12X chip physically has 8 GPU cores and not the 7 GPU cores that Apple includes in tech specs. One of the cores of the A12X is disabled.

The A12X and the A12Z appear to be the same physical chip on the surface, with the same number of physical CPU and GPU cores rather, suggesting the A12Z is not a new design. AnandTech has also speculated that the A12Z is a re-binned variant of the A12X.

There can be several speculative reasons as to why Apple chose to do this. It is not uncommon to see chip makers disabling physical cores and enabling them in higher SKUs. For instance, the NVIDIA Titan RTX has all 4,608 CUDA cores enabled while the RTX 2080 Ti offers only 4,352 cores despite both using the TU102 GPU.

The other likely explanation is that Apple's decision to disable one GPU core in the A12X could have been deliberate. Enabling the latent core in an interim refresh like the A12Z would save them from having to develop an A13X and instead, directly focus on the (5 nm?) A14X that is slated to debut with the 5G ‌iPad Pro‌ later this year.

In the future, TechInsights is planning to conduct a floorplan analysis to determine for certain whether there are any differences between the A12X and the A12Z in the new ‌iPad Pro‌ models.

NotebookCheck speculates that Apple is saving an updated chip design for future ‌iPad Pro‌ models, and there are indeed rumors of a second ‌iPad Pro‌ refresh this fall that could bring mini-LED displays and 5G connectivity.

Related Roundup: iPad Pro

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
5 days ago at 06:49 pm
Apple could stop producing new chip designs for the next two years and they'd probably still be faster than the competition.

The hardware isn't the limiter for the iPad line right now. Software is.
Score: 36 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
5 days ago at 07:28 pm


Because there is a better CPU available?

No...because likely the poster was anticipating a faster/better chip that IS WORTH plunking down $1000 for a product that hasn't been refreshed in 2+ years. The chip could have had a very similar name AND had much better performance, faster MHz, more cores, or a combination of all 3. Instead, it's just 1 core that was magically enabled by Apple.

Regardless of how people can rationalize Apple's decision, this is a very shady step by Apple. This is a Pro unit which means most of the people evaluating an upgrade are going to look at the tech specs (and not to mention the hefty price tag). This marketing/advertising scam was caught very quickly and Apple should be ashamed and likely will have poor sales.

And someone said here that the "real excitement is the new keyboard in May." Seriously?! People wait 2+ years for an upgrade (on a "Pro" device no less) and a)there's essentially no hardware upgrade and b)I have to wait several more months after the launch for the "real excitement" which c)just turns out to be a bleeping keyboard that d)costs several hundred bucks?!

Wow.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
5 days ago at 08:20 pm


No...because likely the poster was anticipating a faster/better chip that IS WORTH plunking down $1000 for a product that hasn't been refreshed in 2+ years. The chip could have had a very similar name AND had much better performance, faster MHz, more cores, or a combination of all 3. Instead, it's just 1 core that was magically enabled by Apple.

Regardless of how people can rationalize Apple's decision, this is a very shady step by Apple. This is a Pro unit which means most of the people evaluating an upgrade are going to look at the tech specs (and not to mention the hefty price tag). This marketing/advertising scam was caught very quickly and Apple should be ashamed and likely will have poor sales.

And someone said here that the "real excitement is the new keyboard in May." Seriously?! People wait 2+ years for an upgrade (on a "Pro" device no less) and a)there's essentially no hardware upgrade and b)I have to wait several more months after the launch for the "real excitement" which c)just turns out to be a bleeping keyboard that d)costs several hundred bucks?!

Wow.

The LiDAR scanner is the main feature of the update. If you have a 3rd gen and want the new sensor, you buy the 4th gen. If you don’t care about it, don’t. And its a better upgrade for 1st and 2nd gen owners than was the 3rd gen.

They also cut prices on upgrades, went from 4GB to 6GB of RAM and doubled the base storage. It’s a better model for the same or lower price.

Obviously, that’s worth complaining about to some ?

Wow.

PS.
a) it’s not 2+ years, it’s a year and 4+ months ?

b) no hardware upgrade?

* A12Z: GPU upgrade
* 64—>128GB Storage
* 4GB—>6GB RAM (128/256/512GB)
* single—>dual camera,
* LiDAR scanner
* Five “studio quality” microphones
* “Enhanced thermal architecture”
* WiFi 6
* U1 chip—ultra wideband

c) The new keyboard is real excitement for some, others couldn’t give a rat’s ass. If you don’t want or can’t afford it, the solution is simple: don’t buy it! Or buy the current keyboard. Or a third party keyboard. Or no keyboard. The choice is yours.
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
5 days ago at 07:14 pm


This is why I cancelled my order. Not buying a 2 year old cpu...

Because there is a better CPU available?
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
5 days ago at 07:08 pm
People complaining on here likely won't notice the difference in performance of a so called A13X/A14X chip and would most likely dump their iPad Pro long before they feel any slow downs due to software updates. SMH

It's more likely they improved yields to the point where all eight cores are functional when produced and therefore can enable it while the A12X likely had one core fail.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
5 days ago at 07:06 pm
Recycling...it's better for the environment and for your pocketbook!

Apple's starting to have the same problem as Intel: why bother doubling performance every year if everything today is performant enough? The difference is that Apple got to that point in just a few generations.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Seemingly Unreleased Version of Logic Pro X With Live Loops Appears on Apple's Education Site [Updated]

Sunday March 29, 2020 7:23 am PDT by Hartley Charlton
Update: Apple has replaced the Logic Pro X image with an older version. Original story follows. A seemingly unreleased version of Logic Pro X has appeared on Apple's education site, as spotted by a Reddit user. The image from Apple's education products page shows a 16-inch MacBook Pro running Logic Pro X, but with a familiar interface that looks extremely similar to GarageBand's Live Loops ...

Zoom Updates iOS App to Stop Sending Data to Facebook

Friday March 27, 2020 5:35 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Zoom, a video conferencing app that many people are using at the current time to keep in touch with coworkers while working from home, was sending data to Facebook without disclosing the data sharing to customers. As of today, Zoom has updated its iOS app to remove the SDK that was providing data to Facebook through the Login with Facebook feature, according to Motherboard, the site that...

Apple Suppliers Worried About iPhone Demand, Production Ramp-Up for New iPhones Reportedly Postponed

Friday March 27, 2020 5:56 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Most of the factories in China that supply devices and components to Apple are back to churning out products, but Apple suppliers are said to be worried about how much demand there will be for the current iPhone models and the new iPhones expected in the fall. According to Reuters, a senior official at one of Apple's major supply companies said that orders for quarter ending in March are...

2020 iPad Pro Teardown Provides Closer Look at LiDAR Scanner and Confirms Incremental Update

Saturday March 28, 2020 9:56 am PDT by Hartley Charlton
iFixit today shared a video teardown of the new iPad Pro, which Apple unveiled earlier this month. iFixit found that most of the internals of the 2020 iPad Pro are the same as the 2018 model, confirming that the device is a relatively incremental update. The most notable new feature seen inside the new iPad Pro was the LiDAR scanner, which measures the distance to surrounding objects up...

Apple Watch Series 6 Could Feature Touch ID Fingerprint Sensor, Pulse Oximetry and Sleep Tracking Support

Friday March 27, 2020 11:28 am PDT by Juli Clover
The upcoming Apple Watch Series 6 set to be released this fall could include a Touch ID fingerprint sensor built into the crown of the device, according to Israeli site The Verifier, which cites "senior sources" who have worked with its staff for a "number of years" as the source of the rumor. It's not clear how the alleged Touch ID fingerprint sensor would be implemented, as the Digital...

Bloomberg: Apple's 5G iPhone Still on Schedule for Fall Launch, But Future Products Could Be Delayed

Monday March 30, 2020 2:40 am PDT by Tim Hardwick
Apple's 5G iPhone is still on track to launch within the company's typical annual fall release schedule, according to a new Bloomberg report on filed on Monday. Signs are that Apple's Chinese-centric manufacturing -- of which Hon Hai is the linchpin -- is slowly getting back on track. The next iPhones with 5G wireless capabilities remain on schedule to launch in the fall, partly because mass...

Kuo: Apple to Launch Several Macs With Arm-Based Processors in 2021, USB4 Support Coming to Macs in 2022

Thursday March 26, 2020 8:19 pm PDT by Joe Rossignol
Apple plans to launch several Mac notebooks and desktop computers with its own custom designed Arm-based processors in 2021, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said today in a research note obtained by MacRumors. Kuo believes that Arm-based processors will significantly enhance the competitive advantage of the Mac lineup, allow Apple to refresh its Mac models without relying on Intel's processor roadmap,...

Top Stories: Hands-On With 2020 iPad Pro and MacBook Air, iOS and iPadOS 13.4 Released, iPhone 12 Delay?

Saturday March 28, 2020 6:00 am PDT by MacRumors Staff
After last week's flurry of product launches, Apple's new iPad Pro and MacBook Air have started to make their way into consumers' hands, and we've gone hands-on with both of them this week. Apple this week also released iOS and iPadOS 13.4 (as well as macOS, watchOS, and tvOS updates) with a number of new features and improvements. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. ...

Deals: Huge Refurbished iPhone Sale Discounts iPhone 7, 8, X, XR, and XS (From $120)

Friday March 27, 2020 5:47 am PDT by Mitchel Broussard
Woot is back today with a big sale on refurbished iPhones, including markdowns on the iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X, iPhone XR, iPhone XS, and iPhone XS Max. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Woot. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running. As with every Woot purchase, those...

Apple Releases ProRes RAW Beta for Windows

Monday March 30, 2020 9:33 am PDT by Juli Clover
Apple today released ProRes RAW for Windows in a beta capacity (via Mark Gurman), with the software designed to allow ProRes RAW and ProRes RAW HQ video files to be watched in compatible applications on Windows machines. According to Apple, the software will let the files be played within several Adobe apps: Adobe After Effects (Beta) Adobe Media Encocder (Beta) Adobe Premiere...