iPhone 12 to Have Major Performance Improvements [Updated]

Apple's upcoming iPhone 12 lineup is likely to see major performance and efficiency improvements thanks to the A14 Bionic Processor.

Our first glimpse at the A14 comes from the just announced iPad Air 4, which is the first device to sport the next-generation Apple-designed processor. The 64-bit desktop-class A14 Bionic chip sees a considerable leap in performance and efficiency, according to Apple.

Early benchmarks suggest that the A14 is a 6-core chip with a base frequency of 2.99GHz and 3.66GB of memory, achieving a score of 1,583 in single-core and 4,198 for multi-core.

This is markedly higher than the 1,336 in single-core and 3,569 in multi-core for the A13 Bionic from 2019's iPhone 11 lineup. Roughly compared, that means the iPhone 12 will be 18.4% faster in single-core performance and 17.6% faster than the current top-of-the-line iPhone. Here are speed comparisons of the upcoming iPhone 12 processor with other recent iPhone models (single core performance):

  • iPhone 6s / SE - 196% Faster
  • iPhone 7 / Plus - 117% Faster
  • iPhone 8 / Plus / X - 75% Faster
  • iPhone XR / XS - 44% Faster
  • iPhone SE (2020) / 11 / 11 Pro - 18% Faster

Compared to the A12Z chip from the 2020 iPad Pro, the A14 does better than the A12Z in single-core at 1,118 and slightly lower than in multi-core at 4,564. The A12Z has an extra GPU core compared to the A12X, however. These early benchmarks indicate that the A14 offers noteworthy speed enhancements, even over the impressive A13 chip from last year.

Apple says the A14 Bionic chip has a "next-generation" 16-core Neural Engine that delivers 11 trillion operations per second, which is more than twice as many as the A12 chip. There are new-to-mobile accelerators that reportedly deliver up to 10 times better machine learning performance. There is also improved image signal processing and it is the first commercial chip to be manufactured with a 5nm process. This combination of the new Neural Engine, CPU machine learning accelerators, and high-performance GPU enables powerful on-device experiences for image recognition, natural language learning, analyzing motion, and more.

Apple's October 13 event, which is widely expected to see the unveiling of the iPhone 12 lineup, was teased with the tagline "Hi, Speed." This is highly likely a nod to 5G connectivity and the A14 chip.

Update: If Apple's iPad Air 4 releases ahead of the iPhone 12 lineup, hands-on reviews and early benchmarks will be able to give a more precise picture of how the A14 Bionic chip will perform in the iPhone 12 models. The ‌iPad‌ Air 4 with the A14 Bionic is due to go on sale at some point this month, and as marketing materials arrive at Apple Stores, the launch does not seem to be far away.

Apple noticeably withheld some of the fanfare about the A14 chip when announcing the iPad Air 4, instead presumably reserving it for the unveiling of the iPhone 12, which is expected on Tuesday, 13th October at the Apple "Hi, Speed" event.

Related Roundup: iPhone 12
Buyer's Guide: iPhone 12 (Buy Now)

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