New iPhone Chips Could Lead to Some Pretty Impressive Performance Upgrades

Some back of the envelope math has expectations running high. 

by James Dennin

Some back of the envelope math has got Apple fans in a frenzy over the performance upgrades coming to the new line of iPhones it will very likely be introducing some time in the next few weeks at its 2018 iPhone keynote. Based on the chips that are likely appearing in the new iPhone processors, it seems likely that the new phones will run between 30 and 70 percent faster.

That’s according to some number crunching by CultofMac’s Ed Hardy, who used Apple’s history of performance upgrades and some details about the new A12 to gauge the extent of the improved speeds. In addition to being faster, the improved chips will also lead to processors that consume significantly less battery power.

The new chips are all made by the same manufacturer, the Taiwan Semiconductor Company, which Hardy argues achieved something of a breakthrough this year by significantly reducing the distance between its component parts from a process of 10 nanometers to seven. This alone, he estimates should theoretically improve the performance by around 20 percent alone (smaller distances between nodes means denser, more efficient chips).

Phil Schiller introduces AirPower.


Why You Should Pay Attention to Apple’s New Chips

Though the bellies of the new hardware don’t always get as much attention as the features they enable, Apple’s new chips are generating a fair bit of buzz.

Like its competitor Samsung, both companies want to be the first to bring a smartphone with seven nanometer chips to market. For a while, it looked like Samsung was winning the race, but a Bloomberg report from last May that Apple’s new chips had already entered production shifted the calculus of the race.

This is all the work of some big changes Apple has been making to its line of suppliers. During its recent July earnings call, the chips giant Qualcomm confirmed its modems would no longer be appearing in any iPhones, finally putting an end to a long, increasingly expensive deterioration of their business relationship. Qualcomm is currently supplying 7 nanometer chips for the processors in Samsung’s new flagship.

In its quest to continue pushing the boundaries of Moore’s law, Apple has increasingly turned to Taiwan Semiconductor Company almost exclusively, in 2014 inking a deal that runs through 2020 at least.

It’s a relationship that’s been highly mutually beneficial, according to some analysts, who say Apple likes TSMC’s ability to meet demand, while TSMC naturally likes having less competition for supplying different components to its anchor client.

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