Apple's A12 chip has 70% more transistors per square mm than the A11 chip

Apple's A12 chip has 70% more transistors per square mm than the A11 chip
The Apple iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max are both powered by the A12 Bionic SoC, manufactured using TSMC's 7nm process. The Apple iPhone XR will also have the same chipset under the hood when that model launches on October 26th. The 2018 iPhones will be the only smartphones available this year in large quantities that are powered by a 7nm SoC inside. Last year's A11 Bionic chipset was built using the 10nm process.

The A11 Bionic carries a transistor density of 49 million transistors/square mm. With the smaller transistors on the A12 Bionic, the density works out to 83.9 million transistors/mm, an amazing 70% difference. There are 6.9 billion transistors inside the A12. The additional transistors inside Apple's newest chipset make it more powerful and energy efficient than last year's chip.

One area where Apple is totally counting on an outsider is with the modem chip used on the iPhone. From 2011 to 2015, Qualcomm was the sole provider of this component used on Apple's smartphones. In 2016 and 2017, both Qualcomm and Intel modem chips were employed on the handsets. But last year, Apple and Qualcomm started suing each other over patent infringements and royalties. The latest news on that front came two days ago when Qualcomm accused Apple of stealing trade secrets related to its modem chips, and turning the information over to Intel.

With the animosity between Apple and Qualcomm, it should come as no surprise that Intel is the exclusive supplier of modem chips for the 2018 iPhones. The 2020 models could feature Apple's own modem chipset, which could coincide with the launch of the first iPhone models to support 5G.

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25 Comments

1. Vokilam

Posts: 1025; Member since: Mar 15, 2018

State of the art... nuff said.

10. Papa_Ji

Posts: 776; Member since: Jun 27, 2016

Only possible due to TSMC tech...

12. umaru-chan

Posts: 335; Member since: Apr 27, 2017

Apple made mobile processor is quite ahead of their competition. We'll see that even though Huawei will use the same node as Apple Kirin 980 will be much less powerful and efficient than A12, even with Huawei's cheating in the benchmark. Best in class processor with efficient ios made iPhone xs quite the beast. ios really is very efficient and TouchWiz or whatever Samsung skin name is is super heavy. 8GB ram phone loses to mere 4GB phone is indeed quite pathetic.

29. M.O.A.B

Posts: 317; Member since: Feb 13, 2015

why are you bringing ram into this ?? and if you watched phonebuff's test just a little bit more carefully you'll see that the iphone xs max failed to keep an app opened while the note 9 kept every single app opened in the background and actually took 35 seconds in the multitasking lap versus 43 seconds for the iphone, so no, it didn't lose in ram management test, nothing pathetic here.

2. MarvzIsFallen

Posts: 646; Member since: Aug 11, 2017

Amazing as always and yet geeks don’t think about this as innovation.

3. Finalflash

Posts: 4062; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

It isn't though, their GPU performance is on par with the industry and their CPUs basically just have large numbers on Geekbench only because of the tests and weighing that Geekbench has. On most other CPU tests like 3DMark they're nothing special and the most innovative thing their power hungry CPUs do is throttle when Apples bottom line needs a boost.

4. kiko007

Posts: 7465; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

Jesus Christ, your pettiness knows no bounds. You can’t even give Apple credit in the one area they actually dominate. Sad.

5. NoToFanboys

Posts: 3231; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

Sad right? You know how those trolls work. This is the one area where Apple has a huge lead. Also it doesn't require those fancy heat pipes to run well, other SoC makers need to step up their game.

9. vincelongman

Posts: 5611; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

6. slim3bdo

Posts: 119; Member since: Jun 05, 2017

True that , just like how the a11 was beaten by sd845 in almost every phone it ran on , in actual speed tests and battery performance not in the stupid benchmarks . iPhones gets throttled with heavy tasks , and thier batteries get degraded very fast , hence apple tried to cripple thier phones with ios10 . Saddly media don't pick on what actually matters , casue the media is controlled by apple .

7. zunaidahmed

Posts: 1182; Member since: Dec 24, 2011

I use my phone to render videos on the go, and I am pretty sure it does the job best in the industry. Speed test as in switching 20 apps and running them one by one to see which has the fastest animation? You call that "actual speed test"? Dude, you gotta be joking but if you like that, might as well look at the ios12 speed tests, Apple changed the animation speed so now it beats all the android phones now, especially with the 4GB ram. I don't really see throttling in real life when I play games or render videos for a 10-15 mins. Other than that, my only complain would be the short battery life, if Apple could have fit a 4000mah battery into the XS max, it would have been perfect.

8. whatev

Posts: 2112; Member since: Oct 28, 2015

Hold your mammaries and educate yourself https://youtu.be/W68nuVxOXaE

11. obedchuni

Posts: 308; Member since: Jun 16, 2014

Well Apple is pretty ahead in terms of chip designing, They introduced first 64 bit and from then on they never looked back, They design the chip and TSMC makes the chip and this time around its 7nm which bought great improvement to the battery life and ios 12 is just icing on the cake, I think their GPU is good but the optimization makes them even better for gaming which android lack this time, hope in the future they can reach that level but not right now...

15. Fred3

Posts: 332; Member since: Jan 16, 2018

The Snapdragon is catching up. The 855 will barely beat the A11. I think in two yrs the Snapdragon will be ahead.

16. Sakeem

Posts: 856; Member since: Sep 05, 2012

Since this chip is so powerful, why does Apple limit phablet like features on the XS Max?

17. kiko007

Posts: 7465; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

Because they limit “features” on every product they make? And to be completely honest... nobody asked for these “features” except people like us anyway? You think your grandma cares about split-screen? You think your mom cares about icon packs? Hell no. And to be completely honest I don’t want any of that crap either. I like iOS because it’s not trying to be Android and Vice Versa. Some parts of Android are great... others suck. That’s why I use iPhones as primary devices. Y’all gotta stop projecting what nerds want onto the general market... it doesn’t work like that.

18. Sakeem

Posts: 856; Member since: Sep 05, 2012

Kiko.....did I say on every product they make? I'm specifically talking about the XS Max. No one cares until they are introduced on the device. No one cares until they show it off in a keynote. It exists on the Ipads. Why not on a 6" and over screen? Why not just have those options? Since when are options bad? Would my grandma (rest in peace) or my mom have a XS Max anyway? It's not projecting. The phone is powerful and can do much more than it's allowed to do. A coworker of mine just got a XS Max the very first thing she said to me was, "i wish I could do split screen. I want to write notes as I watch this video." So it's not just nerds. There are everyday people that have a little idea about tech and want the iphone to do just a bit more.

19. kiko007

Posts: 7465; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

3D Touch: introduced on the iPhone 6S series. Completely irrelevant to the general public. Animojis: Introduced with the iPhone X. Completely irrelevant to the general masses. Split-Screen: introduces on the iPad series two years ago. Completely irrelevant to the general public. I’m playing the numbers game here. People just do not care about phone fluff. All that stuff sounds amazing and cool and totally awesome... until you forget it exists and move on with your day. Again, please... please stop trying to make the iPhone into just another phone. I like my simple app launching experience with no hiccups, no lag, and no hassle. The majority of people seem to agree with my assessment as almost nobody I’ve ever met wanted to watch a video while typing or whatever. Kinda defeats the purpose considering you can’t really watch something and type on virtual keys anyway.

21. Sakeem

Posts: 856; Member since: Sep 05, 2012

" Again, please... please stop trying to make the iPhone into just another phone." Huh??? Isn't that what it is??? A phone??? What exactly do you mean by just another phone? It is just another phone that runs a different OS. That's it. Is there a link you can direct me to that shows these numbers you speak of? Or the "majority of people seem to agree with my assessment...." how many people are we talking? All of this started with the A12 chip and it being leaps and bounds more powerful that anything on the market and why does the XS Max not take more advantage of it? That's all. Not every other phone they released, just the XS Max with that huge screen. I doubt the addition of pic in pic or split screen will slow the phone down at all. Animoji is phone fluff and irrelevent. I agree with that, but to put true multi-tasking.....especially those that use Iphones as their work devices.....as mere phone fluff or irrelevant is a stretch in my opinion. I think more people than you realize would find those things useful everyday tools.

22. Sakeem

Posts: 856; Member since: Sep 05, 2012

" Again, please... please stop trying to make the iPhone into just another phone." Huh??? Isn't that what it is??? A phone??? What exactly do you mean by just another phone? It is just another phone that runs a different OS. That's it. Is there a link you can direct me to that shows these numbers you speak of? Or the "majority of people seem to agree with my assessment...." how many people are we talking? All of this started with the A12 chip and it being leaps and bounds more powerful that anything on the market and why does the XS Max not take more advantage of it? That's all. Not every other phone they released, just the XS Max with that huge screen. I doubt the addition of pic in pic or split screen will slow the phone down at all. Animoji is phone fluff and irrelevent. I agree with that, but to put true multi-tasking.....especially those that use Iphones as their work devices.....as mere phone fluff or irrelevant is a stretch in my opinion. I think more people than you realize would find those things useful everyday tools.

23. kiko007

Posts: 7465; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

This isn’t some new thing. Apple’s A series chips have been more powerful than their Snapdragon counterparts for LITERALLY 5 generations now. That doesn’t mean Apple should add genuine nonsense to appease an incredibly small minority of individuals. Period. You can argue usefulness all day to your blue in the face but at the end of the day people use their phones for a select few things and playing YouTube while doing spreadsheets is NOT one of them. The world doesn’t operate under the same guidelines as the Internet. My father DESPISES Android because of all the fluff it has just for the sake of it. And yet, it cannot get the simple s**t right, like messaging and keeping malware off of phones. Do you not realize the irony of having every “feature” under the sun except basic stuff like a default messaging app? So no, I’m steadfast against any of that fluff coming to the iPhone outside of JB. Tell your coworker to stay on the lowest iOS number possible and wait for Jailbreak if he wants the extra “features”. That’s what I do when iOS gets boring or I feel adventurous.

25. Sakeem

Posts: 856; Member since: Sep 05, 2012

PA needs to fix this comment section. Anyway..........Kiko...you have your opinion, I have mine...and you know what........that's ok. To me, this was never a why doesn't Iphones do what Android phones do. I wasn't bashing Apple. I wasn't comparing the Note 9. I never even brought up Android in my responses. I was just asking why limit what the largest Iphone, the XS Max......not all the other iphones currently for sale, just the XS Max.......why limit what it could do in terms of phablet features, when the chip can more than handle them. That's all. One phone model. Not the entire fleet. Value is subjective. As far as my coworker goes, I'm not sure what she was watching or doing as she just randomly said what she said. She still bought it despite not having that so, she is more than happy with her purchase I'm sure.

28. apple-rulz

Posts: 1870; Member since: Dec 27, 2016

Very well said!

24. kiko007

Posts: 7465; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

This isn’t some new thing. Apple’s A series chips have been more powerful than their Snapdragon counterparts for LITERALLY 5 generations now. That doesn’t mean Apple should add genuine nonsense to appease an incredibly small minority of individuals. Period. You can argue usefulness all day to your blue in the face but at the end of the day people use their phones for a select few things and playing YouTube while doing spreadsheets is NOT one of them. The world doesn’t operate under the same guidelines as the Internet. My father DESPISES Android because of all the fluff it has just for the sake of it. And yet, it cannot get the simple s**t right, like messaging and keeping malware off of phones. Do you not realize the irony of having every “feature” under the sun except basic stuff like a default messaging app? So no, I’m steadfast against any of that fluff coming to the iPhone outside of JB. Tell your coworker to stay on the lowest iOS number possible and wait for Jailbreak if he wants the extra “features”. That’s what I do when iOS gets boring or I feel adventurous.

27. akistz

Posts: 31; Member since: Sep 26, 2018

Apple designed chipsets are always ahead of competition. The xs and xs max are quite the beasts there. Cmon apple add the app in app feature don’t let the power go to waste

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