Apple's A14 and A15 bionic chips become a game-changing SoC solution

Regarding Apple’s A-series bionic chips, Ying-Wu Liu, a technology and cost analyst at System Plus Consulting, said: “Apple’s A14 Bionic chip is completely dedicated to the iPhone 12 series and iPad. It will come out in 2020, and the timing is right. A15 Bionic chips followed closely, providing multiple advantages for the iPhone13 and iPad Mini series."

Apple's SoC has always been in a leading position in performance and process technology, and the A14 and A15 are no exception. Apple's A15 Bionic chip has become a performance leader in the smartphone processor industry and is expected to bring in 35 billion US dollars in revenue for chip designers.

Yole Développement (Yole) Technology and Market Analyst Adrien Sanchez said: “In 2020, OEMs have established inventories to prevent supply chain disruptions caused by supply shortages. This trend will continue until 2021, and APU revenue will be boosted by 2026. Up to 40 billion U.S. dollars."

In this dynamic context, Apple has been developing its own processors for commercial products. In the entire processor series, the A series contributed the most to Apple's sales. This is because Apple's iPhone is driven by A-series chips. In addition, the A-series is also used in many other popular products such as iPad, iPod, and Apple TV.

Ying-Wu Liu said: "Today, the latest generation of A14 bionic chip strongly supports iPhone 12 Pro and the fourth generation of iPad Air. The A14 Bionic chip is a 64-bit ARM-based SoC with 6 CPUs in big.LITTLE configuration. 4 GPUs and a new 16-core neural engine. According to Apple, the A14 is the fastest smartphone chip ever, 40% faster than the previous generation. The chip has 11.8 billion transistors and is manufactured by TSMC on a 5nm process.” This manufacturing process is also used in Apple's M1 SoC.

As part of Apple's A-series, the A15 Bionic chip SoC is the fastest smartphone chip in the world. The A15 Bionic chip is a 64-bit ARM-based SoC with 6 CPUs, 5 GPUs and a 16-core neural engine in big.LITTLE configuration. According to Apple, the graphics performance of the A15 is 50% faster than any previous smartphone chip. The chip has 15.8 billion transistors, an increase of 27% over its predecessor. And it is manufactured by TSMC with a 5nm process, which is also suitable for Apple M1 and Apple A14 bionic chips. "The most significant difference between A15 and A14 is the GPU merger, where the basic model processor has 4 active GPU cores, while all 5 GPU cores obtained by the Pro and iPad mini A15 are active", Yole Technology and Market Department analyst John Lorenz explained.

System Plus Consulting concluded that this game-changing chip now powers the iPhone 13 series and the sixth-generation iPad mini. Both A14 SoC and A15 SoC include SRAM cache in the chip and integrate external LPDDR4X DRAM in the package. In order to integrate DRAM chips, Apple uses standard PoP technology, including copper pillars, redistribution layers and integrated silicon high-density capacitors

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