The iPhone 13 benchmark scores top them all yet show Apple went for stability
Apple has been at the forefront of mobile processing power in its iPhones for a while now, largely because it has been developing its chipsets in-house, optimizing them for performance when managed by its own mobile iOS.
With the advent of ever-diminishing processor nodes, however, each generational gain from an Apple A-series processor to the next has been shrinking, too, and Apple A15 won't be an exception, it seems.
Apple A15 vs A14 benchmark scores
Even though it manages to beat the upcoming Samsung Exynos 2200 for the Galaxy S22 series in scores, a recent iPhone 13 processor benchmark leak pegged it topping off at 198 FPS in GFXBench Manhattan 3.1, a record score among peers, yet only about 14% higher than what the A14 musters.
This is rather explicable, given that the efficiency gains between the first and second generation of the 5nm process are roughly the same, and manufacturers have to make a tradeoff between peak performance and power draw, often settling for stability thus something in-between.
The fact that Apple chose stability and throttles to achieve sustained performance is proven by the second pass of the benchmark which saw frames drop to 140-150 per second to keep the A15 from overheating and introducing undesired outcomes to the system.
According to the TSMC foundry's latest quarterly press conference, the first devices with processors built on the next-gen 3nm node would come next year. The iPhone 13, on the other hand, will flaunt just an improved second-gen 5nm A15 processor.
Apple's focus with it, judging from the benchmark tip, is obviously improved efficiency rather than increased performance. Understandably so, given the high 120Hz refresh rate display rumors for its upcoming iPhone 13 Pro series, and the fact that the A-series chipsets are already powerful enough for anything iOS throws at them.