Friday, November 25

iPhone 14: what the new 4nm chip could mean to you

Based on the latest rumors and supply chain leaks, Apple may not be able to reach the 3 nanometer process for its next-gen A-series chips for which it’s still rumored iPhone 14. Currently, the iPhone 13 range and its A15 Bionic chips are in the 5nm process, so jumping to 3nm could have offered a major boost in performance and power efficiency.

But a recent report from DigiTimes, also based on supply chain sources, notes that Apple’s chipmaker has a 4nm process node that will be used for the upcoming A-series chip, likely called A16.

Apple has been using the 5nm node for the last three generations of iPhones. So a step towards a smaller node, which actually translates to packing more transistors into a slice of silicon and thus more power, makes sense if Cupertino wants its phones to maintain their performance advantage over rivals from Qualcomm and Exynos from Samsung.

But what does all this mean for iPhone 14 users? Sure, more transistors are great, but will they really make a difference to iPhone use in the real world? This is how a 4nm chip could affect the iPhone 14.

The Apple A Series Advantage

(Image credit: Apple)

As it stands, Apple’s A15 Bionic chip outperforms virtually every chip found in competing flagship Android phones. That has long been the case for every generation of A-series chips.

Wayne Lam, senior director of analyst house CCS Insight, explained to us that getting a clear idea of ​​how good the A-series performance is can be tricky, but it depends on Apple’s tight control over its devices from the silicon level. down to the software.

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“For example, iPhones have always required less DRAM memory in each comparative design generation. If the latest Android offering is a Qualcomm chip with 8GB or 12GB of RAM, Apple’s similar designs would only require 4GB or 6GB, ”Lam said. “This design difference is huge and benefits Apple in terms of component cost (Apple can spend less on memory and more on making its processors) and speaks to the efficiency of Apple’s design versus the competition. [chips] from Android «.

With this in mind, Apple’s only major competition in raw chip performance is basically itself, which means it could be argued that going 4nm rather than sticking to 5nm won’t make much of a difference in how fast you get. what an iPhone feels like; after all, we haven’t found a mobile game that a modern iPhone has a hard time running.

iPhone 14 in 4nm: more than just a power boost

(Image credit: Front Page Tech | Renders by Ian)

Avi Greengart. President and Principal Analyst at consumer technology analyst firm Techsponential, noted that there is more to be gained from a switch to 4nm manufacturing than just raw power.

“While Apple’s silicon already leads the industry in performance per watt, there is always room for efficiency improvements that extend battery life, artificial intelligence improvements for computational photography and other machine learning tasks, dedicated coprocessors for tasks specifics and more graphics capabilities, “Greengart told Tom’s. Guide.

Obviously, improvements in battery life will always be appreciated. While the iPhone 13 Pro achieves an impressive 11 hours and 42 minutes in our tests, we are always eager to see more endurance in smartphones.

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But the possible improvements in AI and computational photography are even more compelling. With the iPhone 13 Pro Max crowning our best camera phone list, Apple has already shown its skills in image signal processing. Features like cinematic mode, which offers pro-level rack focus on videos and can automatically switch subjects, is a perfect example of what AI can do.

However the Google Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro With Google’s AI-centric Tensor chip, they’ve delivered really impressive phone shots with features like Magic Eraser, and they’ll likely only get better with software updates. So the improved AI processing in a next-gen iPhone, facilitated by a 4nm chip, could help Apple continue to deliver best-in-class photography.

Smarter Siri, more compelling AR

Enhanced artificial intelligence via a new 4nm chip could also make Siri a more capable virtual assistant, as it currently lags behind the likes of the Google Assistant and Alexa. More onboard processing means more smart features overall, let’s say better speech recognition or the ability to automatically customize a phone for a specific user.

As Apple has tight control over its developer ecosystem, we’d be pretty confident that it would work to deliver the tools and development kits for app makers to take full advantage of any next-gen performance and AI processing enhancements. We’d love to see it offer improved AR features, as well as games that really look console-quality, rather than looking like stunning visuals that fall apart once you look closely.

So even if Apple can’t make the jump to 3nm, accessing the 4nm compute node could offer a number of benefits. But they may not be immediately obvious to users, especially if they update every generation of iPhone.

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“Will this be a drastic change from today’s A15 chips? It doesn’t matter: people don’t update their phones every year, ”Greengart explained. “However, the cumulative improvements matter quite a bit when you compare a three- or four-year-old phone to one that uses the latest generation silicon.”

With that in mind, in addition to early rumors suggesting a new phone design and the possible return of Touch ID, the The iPhone 14 could end up being a phone worth waiting for.

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