Apple A16

The Apple A16 Bionic is a 64-bit ARM-based system on a chip (SoC) designed by Apple Inc. and manufactured by TSMC. It is used in the iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max models only.[7]

Apple A16 Bionic
General information
LaunchedSeptember 7, 2022
Designed byApple Inc.
Common manufacturer(s)
  • TSMC
Product codeAPL1W10[1]
Max. CPU clock rateto 3.46 GHz[2] 
Cache
L2 cache16 MB (performance cores)
4 MB (efficient cores)
24 MB (system cache)
Architecture and classification
ApplicationMobile
Technology node5 nm (N4P)[3][4][5][6]
Microarchitecture"Everest" and "Sawtooth"
Instruction setAArch64
Physical specifications
Transistors
  • 16 billion
Cores
  • 6 (4 efficiency, 2 performance)
GPU(s)Apple-designed 5- core GPU
History
PredecessorApple A15

Design

The Apple A16 Bionic features an Apple-designed 64-bit six-core CPU implementing ARMv8.6-A (no SM4 of v8.6, but with HCX)[8] with two "Everest" [9][10] high-performance cores running at 3.46 GHz,[2] and four "Sawtooth" [9][10] energy-efficient cores running at 2.02 GHz,[8] in a similar design to the A15 processor on iPhone 14. Apple claims the A16 is about 40% faster than the competition,[7] and it also has new efficiency cores, with their big advantage being they use a third of the power of the best efficiency cores of other phones on the market.

The A16 contains 16 billion transistors, a 6.7% increase from the A15's transistor count of 15 billion. It includes an improved neural processing unit (NPU) with 16 cores known as the "Apple Neural Engine", a new image signal processor (ISP) with improved computational photography capabilities, and a new module for handling screen-related features that Apple calls a "Display Engine".[7]

The A16 has hardware video codec encoding and decoding support for HEVC, H.264, and ProRes.[11]

During the iPhone 14 launch event Apple touted the A16 chip as the first 4 nm processor in a smartphone.[7] However, a TechInsights analysis found that the A16 was manufactured by TSMC on their N4P process.[3] "N4P", as it is called, is a de facto 5 nm fabrication process[6] that offers enhancements in performance, power and density when compared to previous products in the same 5 nm family: N5, N5P and N4.[4][5][12][6]

GPU and memory

The A16 integrates an Apple-designed five-core GPU, which is reportedly coupled with 50% more memory bandwidth when compared to the A15's GPU.[7][13]

The A16's memory has been upgraded to LPDDR5 for 50% higher bandwidth and a 7% faster 16-core neural engine, capable of 17 trillion operations per second (TOPS). In comparison, the neural engine on the A15 was capable of 15.8 TOPS. All variants of the SoC come with 6 GB of memory.[7][2] Unlike previous generations of Apple's A-Series chips, the A16 utilises a vertical version of the A12X/M1 packaging instead of traditional PoP DRAM. This system is based on an epoxy glass substrate with DRAM mounted on one side, A16 SoC on the other side, and presumably via's going through the epoxy glass that connect the two. Due to the removal of PoP wires, the A16's energy consumption per DRAM read/write transaction has been slightly reduced.[14]

ISP and Display Engine

The new image processor (ISP) found on the A16 chip improved its computational photography capabilities. It was designed to handle the higher resolution image sensor found in the iPhone 14 Pro, being capable of performing up to 4 trillion operations per photo.[7]

The Display Engine is a first on Apple A-series. It enables a better functioning "always on display" feature, and handles other tasks such as the 1 Hz refresh rate, the higher peak brightness of the display and improved anti-aliasing techniques that help smooth out rough edges in the rendering of graphics and images on device displays.[7]

Firmware

A new boot chime and shutdown chime was added, only being available in accessibility.[15] [14]

Products that include the Apple A16 Bionic

  • iPhone 14 Pro & 14 Pro Max

See also

  • Apple silicon, range of ARM-based processors designed by Apple for their products
  • Comparison of Armv8-A processors

References

  1. "iPhone 14 Pro Max Chip ID". iFixit. September 18, 2022. Retrieved October 18, 2022.
  2. "iPhone 14 Pro Max with A16 chipset appears on Geekbench with minimal performance improvement". GSMArena.com. Archived from the original on 2022-09-10. Retrieved 2022-09-11.
  3. "Apple APL1W10 A16 Bionic TSMC N4P FinFET Application Processor Digital Floorplan Analysis | TechInsights". www.techinsights.com. Retrieved 2023-02-14.
  4. "5nm Technology". TSMC. TSMC. Archived from the original on 2022-09-08. Retrieved 2022-09-10.
  5. Schor, David (2021-10-26). "TSMC Extends Its 5nm Family With A New Enhanced-Performance N4P Node". WikiChip Fuse. Archived from the original on 2022-05-29. Retrieved 2022-09-11.
  6. "Apple's 3nm iPhone chip advantage (and why it doesn't really matter)". Macworld. Retrieved 2023-02-23.
  7. Hristov, Victor. "A16 Bionic explained: what's new in Apple's Pro-grade mobile chip?". Phone Arena. Archived from the original on 2022-09-11. Retrieved 2022-09-11.
  8. "AArch64: add support for newer Apple CPUs". github.com. Retrieved 2022-09-24.
  9. "The codename of the CPU core of A16 for iPhone14 Pro is revealed-posted by leaker". iPhone Wired. Archived from the original on 2022-09-13. Retrieved 2022-09-13.
  10. Buckner, Sanjay (2022-09-13). "Apple's A16 Bionic Gets New Cores, Now Codenamed After Mountains". News Revive. Archived from the original on 2022-09-13. Retrieved 2022-09-13.
  11. "iPhone 14 Pro - Technical Specifications". support.apple.com. Retrieved 2022-11-05.
  12. "N3E Replaces N3; Comes In Many Flavors". WikiChip Fuse. 2022-09-04. Archived from the original on 2022-09-10. Retrieved 2022-09-11.
  13. "Apple A16 Bionic: All you need to know about the new chip". Trusted Reviews. 2022-09-07. Archived from the original on 2022-09-11. Retrieved 2022-09-11.
  14. "iPhone 14 Proの心臓部、「A16 Bionic」を解析する". EE Times Japan (in Japanese). Retrieved 2023-02-15.
  15. "IPhone 14 Features a Mac-Like Startup Sound While Turning on".
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