The new iPhone comes out always faster and more powerful than the one that came before it. This year iPhone 12 looks to be a landmark year for Apple’s phones where performance is concerned because many expect the A14 Bionic processor powering the iPhone 12 to be the world’s first 5-nanometer system-on-chip.
That’s not certainly a revelation in and of itself; we’ve heard rumors that Apple is eyeing 5nm since 2019. However, MacWorld’s Jason Cross has put that spec into context, revealing what the new manufacturing process will mean for future iPhones.
It’s presumably going to be a powerhouse — not just when you compare it to upcoming Android flagships, which will utilize the 7nm Snapdragon 865, but maybe even Apple’s own MacBook Pro.
“This is a big upgrade,” Cross writes. “The 5nm mode is not a half-step by any stretch, but it is the next ‘full node’ after 7nm … [Apple’s chip supplier] TSMC says it delivers 80 percent more logic density and can run either 15 percent faster at the same power as its 7nm chips, or 30 percent lower power at the same performance level.”
Based on TSMC’s predictions, the A14 could pack as many as 15 billion transistors. That far surpasses the count in the large majority of consumer CPUs and GPUs, Cross says, and that alone should elicit an 8% advantage over the A13 in terms of single-core Geekbench 5 performance.
If you then add the increased clock speeds of the silicon’s many cores and more effective planning around the chip’s architecture, Cross thinks the A14 will deliver a 200- to a 300-point performance hit. That would fall in line with the generational enhancements Apple has made over the last three years to its A-series hardware.
But it’s the multi-core Geekbench 5 performance that will be the true sign of the A14’s strengths. Cross is prophesying a score between the 4,500 and 5,000 marks, which would place the A14 in the iPhone 12 in the mix of “6-core mainstream desktop CPUs or high-end laptop CPUs,” and to the MacBook Pro comparison.
Geekbench is a poor indicator of cross-platform performance, but Primate Labs, the company that makes Geekbench, says this latest version has been “designed from the ground up” for exactly these kinds of comparisons — so take that for what you will.
Now let’s talk about LPDDR5 RAM should rush things up as well while using less power from the phone’s battery. Cross notes that the quality of LPDDR5 RAM also makes it more likely that Apple will go and pack its next-gen iPhones with 6GB of memory, rather than 4GB like in the phones right now, which should assist background processes and multitasking.
You should go read Cross’ story for the complete insights. While the predictions are nice, we’ll still need to wait for more reports and hard details about the A14 to really know where it holds its position for now. However, this report has certainly started our engines on all cylinders about the capabilities of Apple’s next cellphone processor.