Apple Watch Series 8 / Ultra's S8 chip is equipped with the same CPU as S6 / S7

The S8 chip in the Apple Watch Series 8, Apple Watch Ultra, and Apple Watch SE 2 has the same CPU as the S6 and S7 chips, according to the identifier code. The CPU in the Apple S8 SiP carries the same T8301 identifier as the CPU in the S6 and S7 chips that debuted in the Apple Watch Series 6 and Apple Watch Series 7. That explains why Apple has only compared S-series chips to S5 chips or earlier in recent years.

This also means that the Apple Watch Series 6, Apple Watch Series 7, Apple Watch Series 8, Apple Watch Ultra, and Apple Watch SE 2 all have the exact same CPU. It's worth noting that Apple may still be iterating on other parts of the SiP to accommodate new components, such as the Apple Watch Series 8 supporting new accelerometers and gyroscopes.

The Apple S6, S7, and S8 chips are all equipped with 32GB of storage and dual-core CPUs. When Apple first introduced the S6 in the Apple Watch Series 6, it was the last time it made a performance claim for its latest line of smartwatches, "the chip enables 20 percent faster app launch times."

The Apple S6, S7, and S8 are based on the A13 Bionic chip in the iPhone 11 series and are manufactured using TSMC's 7nm process. Apple transitioned from the A14 Bionic chip to TSMC's 5nm process, and the iPhone 14 Pro's A16 Bionic is the first Apple chip to be manufactured using the 4nm process.

One explanation for Apple's failure to advance CPU technology in its S-series chips is that the advancements brought about by using the A14 chips and cores in TSMC's 5nm or 4nm process could be mostly performance improvements, but that's no longer important for the Apple Watch . Waiting for TSMC to produce the 3nm process, which will enter mass production by the end of this year, may yield more meaningful efficiency gains -- even more so for the Apple Watch, as it helps extend battery life.

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