Friday, March 24, 2023
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Apple A17 Bionic might be more focused on Battery Optimization

Apple stated that its next SoC would bring a 20% boost in power savings for the A16 Bionic, and the company may aim for the stars in battery savings when it debuts the A17 Bionic next year. However, this may imply that the next-generation chipset does not bring a significant performance boost, which may not matter to the average iPhone buyer, but it may imply that competitors such Apple Qualcomm and MediaTek will be able to capitalise on the opportunity.

TSMC recently announced the start of mass manufacturing of 3nm chips at its new Fab 18 facility in the Southern Taiwan Science Park (STSP). This hub will most likely be utilised to mass produce the A17 Bionic in the second half of 2023, but there was an intriguing metric on the advantages of adopting 3nm technology. The new process will save up to 35% more power than the 4nm node (TSMC refers to it as an upgraded version of 5nm), however there was no information offered on performance boost.

A17 Bionic
Apple’s A16 Bionic slide does not compare it with the A15 Bionic when it comes to CPU performance

According to Bloomberg, the company’s chairman, Mark Liu, the new 3nm technology will increase power efficiency by 35%, although no one mentioned performance benefits. This is not to say that the A17 Bionic will not see any performance improvements over the A16 Bionic, but there may not be significant enough differences to warrant inclusion in Apple’s marketing slide when the iPhone 15 series is announced.

Apple did not directly compare the A16 Bionic to the A15 Bionic or, for that matter, the A14 Bionic. Its slide was compared to the A13 Bionic, showing that the corporation has been unable to achieve equivalent performance metrics for inclusion in its speech. The explanation for this is straightforward: Apple has lost a significant amount of semiconductor talent to competition, resulting in a tremendous brain drain. For this reason, the A15 Bionic missed adequate CPU performance advancements over the A14 Bionic.

If Apple’s plans for the A17 Bionic are followed, it may follow the same path. However, just because TSMC’s latest 3nm process saves 35% on power does not guarantee that the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Ultra will benefit instantly.

A17 Bionic
Even here, no performance comparison was mentioned by Apple when highlighting the A16 Bionic’s features

Apple will have complete freedom to exploit the higher transistor density of 3 nm, which may imply modifying performance while losing some battery life. However, Apple would have little incentive to go down this path because the A16 Bionic remains the fastest mobile SoC in existence at the moment.

However, because the A17 Bionic may have improved power efficiency, Apple might use this advantage to incorporate capabilities that the A16 Bionic had to jettison, such as ray tracing capability, which could not be introduced due to unacceptable power consumption, among other problems.

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Nivedita Bangari
Nivedita Bangari
I am a software engineer by profession and technology is my love, learning and playing with new technologies is my passion.


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