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
14 weeks ago
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
14 weeks ago


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: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
14 weeks ago


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: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
14 weeks ago


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

Because there is a better CPU available?
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
14 weeks ago
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
14 weeks ago
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

Apple Officially Obsoletes First MacBook Pro With a Retina Display

Wednesday July 1, 2020 3:40 am PDT by
As expected, Apple's first MacBook Pro with a Retina display is now officially classed as "obsolete" worldwide, just over eight years after its release. In a support document, Apple notes that obsolete products are no longer eligible for hardware service, with "no exceptions." This means that any mid-2012 Retina MacBook Pro 15-inch models still out there that require a battery or other...

New Mac Ransomware Found in Pirated Mac Apps

Tuesday June 30, 2020 11:44 am PDT by
There's a new 'EvilQuest' Mac ransomware variant that's spreading through pirated Mac apps, according to a new report shared today by Malwarebytes. The new ransomware was found in pirated download for the Little Snitch app found on a Russian forum. Right from the point of download, it was clear that something was wrong with the illicit version of Little Snitch, as it had a generic installer...

Unreleased iMac With 10-Core Comet Lake-S Chip and Radeon Pro 5300 GPU Shows Up in Geekbench

Wednesday July 1, 2020 10:48 am PDT by
Benchmarks for an unreleased iMac equipped with a 10th-generation Core i9 Intel Comet Lake-S chip and an AMD Radeon Pro 5300 graphics card have surfaced, giving us an idea of what we can expect from a refreshed 2020 iMac. The Geekbench benchmarks, which appear to be legit, were found on Twitter and shared this morning by Tom's Hardware. The iMac in the benchmarks would be a successor to the...

Leaker: Future iPhone Models to Come in 'Exquisite' Thinner Box

Wednesday July 1, 2020 1:57 am PDT by
Leaker L0vetodream this morning posted a tweet corroborating recent rumors that Apple's "iPhone 12" lineup won't come with EarPods or a charger in the box, adding that this will also eventually apply to the existing second-generation iPhone SE. L0vetodream also claims that future iPhone packaging will be "thinner" and "exquisite," which would make sense if Apple's handsets are set to come in ...

Apple's A12Z Under Rosetta Outperforms Microsoft's Native Arm-Based Surface Pro X

Monday June 29, 2020 10:31 am PDT by
Apple's Developer Transition Kit equipped with an A12Z iPad Pro chip began arriving in the hands of developers this morning to help them get their apps ready for Macs running Apple Silicon, and though forbidden, the first thing some developers did was benchmark the machine. Multiple Geekbench results have indicated that the Developer Transition Kit, which is a Mac mini with an iPad Pro chip, ...

Kuo: iPhone 12 Models Won't Include Charger in Box, 20W Power Adapter Will Be Sold Separately

Sunday June 28, 2020 7:56 am PDT by
iPhone 12 models will not include EarPods or a power adapter in the box, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said today in a research note obtained by MacRumors. This lines up with a prediction shared by analysts at Barclays earlier this week. Kuo said that Apple will instead release a new 20W power adapter as an optional accessory for iPhones and end production of its existing 5W and 18W power adapters...

Rosetta 2 Benchmarks Surface From Mac Mini With A12Z Chip

Monday June 29, 2020 7:48 am PDT by
While the terms and conditions for Apple's new "Developer Transition Kit" forbid developers from running benchmarks on the modified Mac mini with an A12Z chip, it appears that results are beginning to surface anyhow. Image Credit: Radek Pietruszewski Geekbench results uploaded so far suggest that the A12Z-based Mac mini has average single-core and multi-core scores of 811 and 2,781...

Display Analyst Once Again Says No 120Hz ProMotion Display Coming to iPhone 12 Pro

Wednesday July 1, 2020 11:29 am PDT by
Apple's iPhone 12 models will not feature an upgraded 120Hz ProMotion display, according to display analyst Ross Young. Young previously said that Apple would not implement ProMotion technology until it adopted low-power LTPO display technology, a move Apple is not expected to make until 2021. In a tweet shared this morning, Young said that the none of his contacts have been able to...

Apple Seeds Third Betas of iOS and iPadOS 13.6 to Developers [Update: Public Beta Available]

Tuesday June 30, 2020 10:06 am PDT by
Apple today seeded the third betas of upcoming iOS and iPadOS 13.6 updates to developers, three weeks after seeding the second betas and over a month after releasing iOS/iPadOS 13.5 with Exposure Notification API, Face ID updates, Group FaceTime changes, and more. iOS and iPadOS 13.6 can be downloaded from the Apple Developer Center or over the air once the proper developer profile has been...

The New York Times Ends Apple News Partnership and Pulls All Articles

Monday June 29, 2020 11:17 am PDT by
The New York Times today announced that it is pulling out of Apple News, as the service does not "align with its strategy of building direct relationships with paying readers." Starting today, articles from The New York Times will no longer show up in the Apple News app. The news site says that Apple has given it "little in the way of direct relationships with readers" and "little control...