In the clamor of the Apple event we have been blinded with the new three models of iPhone. The iPhone Xs, Xs Max and Xr and the new Watch. But with these presentations we have forgotten the real protagonist of the party, the A12 bionic chip.
It is funny that in the last years, Apple always treated the processor as a black box, not wanting to burden consumers with technical details on how it works. However, there has been a difference in the trend, allowing the latest silicone to take the limelight and showcase all the technical details behind the engine in the latest iOS devices.
The A12 bionic chip is a 7nn chip. It is showcased as the fastest one in the market right now and promises not only a change in the new iPhone Xs, but also in the entire application industry. Let’s see why:
Inside the A12 bionic chip
The performance of the A12 bionic chip is even faster than the A11 of the previous range of iPhones. According to Geekbench, it has a single-core score of 4,813 and a multi-core score of 10,266.
But raw horse power isn’t what makes a phone great. The heart of the chip is a six-core CPU with two performance cores that are up to 15 percent faster than the A11 and consume 40 % less power. Four “efficiency” cores, handling lower-intensity tasks, should consume 50 percent less energy.
Apple claims that the four-core GPU in the A12 Bionic is 50 % faster than the A11 Bionic. The additional speed and technologies support technologies like tessellation, multilayer rendering, and lossless memory compression.
The company is also promising a faster Secure Enclave associated with the new chipset, which is used for tasks like Face ID authentication. When paired with streamlined algorithms in iOS 12, the new hardware should speed up Face ID recognition versus that in the iPhone X.
However, one of the cores, and here is where the magic starts, is a dedicated neural engine. Coupled with the raw processing power it will open a new era in app processing. Particularly apps which use the company’s machine learning framework, Core ML, which the new A12 Bionic runs nine times faster than last year’s chips.
On stage, Apple showed off a new app named Homecourt, that watches you play basketball while it records the number of shots and passes you make and miss. This sort of real-time analysis isn’t possible without a chip with meaty AI processing.
This allows a level of machine learning unheard of in a phone, allowing the iPhone to predict what you are going to do. Where you are going to go (spooky). Which photos you’ll probably share. And even, what apps you’ll open.
Now that we have made clear the technical details of the A12 bionic chip, we can actually see how it’ll improve our user experience with the new iPhones.
iPhone Xs and Xs Max Camera
The camera of iPhones has always had high quality, as it reduces the noise and increases the luminosity at night. In the iPhone Xs and Xs Max we find a dual 12 megapixel camera array.
It takes pictures in HDR and in real time, allowing the phone to collect a lot of color and light information in each photo. This allows us to adjust the light and the depth of field. We can also blur the background completely. Or adjust colors without losing quality, as if images were in raw format.
In addition, the camera is so precise that it allows facial recognition, making a fingerprint cumbersome (although we’re not sure that this option is as secure as Apple taunts). This option, beyond comfortable, reinforces the security with which Apple reminds us that we can make payments from our iPhone.
With these features, we need a large processor to keep the smartphone working. But we also need some great graphics, and that’s where the A12 bionic chip plays another interesting role. It uses the neural engine to analyse shots, stitch them together to get the best parts of each and produce the best quality image with a massive amount of post processing,
Graphic design for virtual reality and augmented reality
The A12 bionic chip of the new iPhone Xs and Xs Max and iPhone Xr includes in the silicon a four core that streamlines the loading and rendering of graphics by 50%. This enable us to play games in high resolution and at high speed. But above all, it displays a more fluid use of virtual reality.
Why do we need such a powerful speed? We all know that virtual reality is still in its infancy and many of us do not know what to do with it beyond playing a game. It is clear that it’ll be the new boom in mobile technology since Google, Samsung, Facebook and more are playing with it. But Apple wants to be the winner of this competition.
For this, Apple has already launched an SDK for developers (ARKit). And now, it has given developers more power to create the next-gen era of augmented reality apps.
We probably won´t notice it too much in our daily tasks. However, it ensures that the quality of applications will continue to raise the bar of what is possible. This is a competition, both for developers and suppliers, and the maximum beneficiary is the end user.
One step beyond the A12 bionic chip
The capacity of the A12 bionic chip is so great that it could exceed the inches of the smartphone and land on their own computers. There is only one month to announce the new models, so we will have to wait to see the real life performance this powerhouse will deliver.
The bar has remained high, as high as the huge price of output of the iPhones Xs and Xs Max. We can only wait and see how Google the new Pixel 3 and the flagships of Samsung and the new competitor, Xiaomi, respond to the “king of the hill”
You can watch the full Apple keynote here:
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