'S2' Articles

A Closer Look at Apple's CPU Improvements for iPhone 7 and Apple Watch

At last Wednesday's media event, Apple introduced two new processors - the A10 Fusion for iPhone 7 and 7 Plus and the S2 for Apple Watch Series 2. Although Apple only briefly covered the S2 during the presentation, it did spend a good deal of time talking about A10 Fusion. The 'Fusion' suffix refers to the heterogeneous architecture that the A10 features, which has two high-power, high-throughput cores and two much smaller cores that are more power efficient. Apple also introduced another very important piece of standalone silicon in its new AirPods, dubbed the W1 chip. In total, this represents a great deal of engineering work done by Apple over the last year, and the A10 is the most significant to Apple's system-on-a-chip (SoC) line since the company's transition to 64-bit. Apple unveiled the biggest technical changes featured in the A10 at the very beginning, boasting a four-core CPU with 3.3 billion transistors. While Apple never disclosed a transistor count for the A9, it very likely fell somewhere in the middle between the 2 billion count on the A8 and the 3.3 billion of the new A10. A transistor count well under 3 billion seems probable for the A9; otherwise it would have been worth boasting about on its own. The 3.3 billion number for the A10 is well over 50 percent larger than the A8, and the large jump is likely mostly thanks to the addition of two new, albeit small, CPU cores along with a greatly enhanced image signal processor (ISP). Apple also disclosed that the GPU remains a six-cluster design, while benchmarks suggest that the L1 and L2 cache