Apple's new A12X Bionic is the most powerful mobile chipset to date

Apple's new A12X Bionic is the most powerful mobile chipset to date
As part of its iPad Pro (2018) introduction today, Apple announced that the chipset powering its newest tablet computers is the A12X Bionic, and to those following mobile tech in general, this means one thing: this is the fastest mobile processor ever created. The current leader is the A12 Bionic found in the just recently released iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR, and that one is already quite the little beast, so how much further is the A12X going to take things when the new iPad Pro 11" and 12.9" (2018) launch next week?

Apple has not released specific numbers when it comes to the improvement brought by the A12X versus the A12; the company focused more on the comparison against the last-generation iPad Pro tablets and their A10X Fusion chips. However, they did mention that the A12X houses 10 billion transistors, and that appears to be 45% more compared to the A12, which has 6.9 billion transistors.

Now, that doesn't mean the A12X will have 45% better performance than its phone version, because there's more to CPU performance than the sheer number of transistors, but it's definitely an indication that solid improvements have been made to the chip. Loading up its iPads with stronger chipsets than those in iPhones has long been a practice for Apple, and that makes a lot of sense. The reasons they are doing this is 1) because thermal management is easier in the more spacious body of the tablet, versus the cramped insides of the phone; and 2) because the iPad can supply more power to the processor, without burning through its battery supply in a snap (an iPad has a way bigger battery than an iPhone).

Apple did go through some specific performance numbers to try to give us more context on how much faster the new iPad Pros are going to be, compared to the previous-generation iPad Pros. The new, 7nm A12X Bionic chipset is going to enable up to 35% better single-core performance, and up to 90% better multi-core performance. These are substantial upgrades, partly thanks to the new 8-core design. The A10X Fusion in the previous iPad Pros, AND the A12 in the iPhone XS, XS Max and XR have a 6-core CPU architecture.

Switching gears to the new GPU, we immediately see that it's a new, 7-core unit, and not the same 4-core GPU as in the A12. The graphics processing increase from the previous generation iPad Pro is expected to be very substantial – up to 2x! Apple even threw a fun stat for us to marvel at: the graphics power of the new iPad Pro 11" and 12.9" (2018) is 1000 times bigger than that of the original iPad! Sure, it's been 8 years, but this still sounds like quite the enormous amount of progress. And another fun stat: Apple claims these new iPads will be more powerful than 92% of all "portable PCs" sold between June 2017 and June 2018. It's not clear exactly what kinds of devices "portable PCs" means here, but from the looks of it Apple may be including all notebooks and tablets.

Software developers will always find ways to put the increased processing power to good use, and we already know some of the titles that will take advantage. Adobe has promised to release full-blown Photoshop CC for the iPad in 2019, while a demo by game company 2K revealed that a new NBA 2K Mobile game with console-quality graphics is in development for the iPad (see header image). Obviously, Apple itself will also be looking to put its hardware to good use, as the company continues to advance its push into the field of Augmented Reality.

Do you find your current tablet powerful enough for your needs?




1. kiko007

Posts: 7520; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

Yo that’s pretty impressive. I suppose I’ll get me an 11’ model.

2. Well-Manicured-Man

Posts: 707; Member since: Jun 16, 2015

It is powerful but it needs at least 8 GB ram and a feature complete MS office version for iOS in order to be really useful and in order to replace a notebook. Why creating an iPad that is faster than 92% of all notebooks if it cannot run a feature complete MS office?

4. AmashAziz

Posts: 2934; Member since: Jun 30, 2014

You're right. But it runs desktop Photoshop and mobile versions of MS office atleast.

7. Well-Manicured-Man

Posts: 707; Member since: Jun 16, 2015

I agree. Lets see how much ram it has. I doubt it is 8GB but if it turns out to be 8, I could imagine MS will create a feature complete version of office for iOS.

16. strategic_developer

Posts: 1627; Member since: Jul 17, 2018

RAM isnt the issue for MS Office, it's the chipset. And also if they make the mobile versionexactmy like the desktop version, then what would be the point of the desktop version? ARM chips are not the same as x86, no matter what benchmarks claim. Microsoft has a version of Offi e for ARM, that it had kn the early Surface model. Did you see how terrible it was?

17. AmashAziz

Posts: 2934; Member since: Jun 30, 2014

Founder of geekbench stated scores are comparable across platforms. I will take his words over yours.

19. strategic_developer

Posts: 1627; Member since: Jul 17, 2018

Dude. You are talking about 2 separate platforms. ArM chips throttle after 30 mins of high peak output. Intel chips when kept properly cool, can sustain full peak output for hours. You think an ARM. An run a server farm like Intel chips? Look at the apps on x86 vs ARM. Windows has over 50M lines of code. Windows runs apps that have as much as 10 times more code. Without active cooling even an Intel chip would fail. Andeoid has has much as 15M lines of code. Most apps on Andeoid or IOs have less than half that much. Think of it this way, yes a motorcycle and a exotic car and both doniver 200 mph. But a car can hold that sustain speed for far longer vs a motorcycle. In this. As active cooling would be equal to fuel. The motorcycle would burn all it fuel before the car would. Clock speed and benchmarks ste not the full story. Many apps on iOS or Android dont eve use 1GB of ram while, many on Windows require at least 4GB.

33. c.m.s

Posts: 239; Member since: Dec 10, 2017

There is no question about Apples ARM CPU is getting really competitive in terms of performance compared to Intel, look at anandtech SPEC2006 result. Of course using active cooling would help, it does matter if its x86 or ARM so don’t see your point.

31. kryme

Posts: 469; Member since: Oct 24, 2013

I never understand why u would say it CAN NOT run ms office.... U blame apple for Microsoft short comings

32. Nine1Sickness

Posts: 896; Member since: Jan 30, 2011

They mean to tell me my 200Mhz Pentium 1 Windows 95 computer is strong enough to run full MS Office, but a 2018 iPad cant?

3. JCASS889

Posts: 594; Member since: May 18, 2018

photo shops min requirements are a core 2 duo, really not impressive.

6. AmashAziz

Posts: 2934; Member since: Jun 30, 2014

And how well you can run Photoshop on a 2 core CPU?? Especially when doing intense work, 2-core CPUs lag a lot.

23. strategic_developer

Posts: 1627; Member since: Jul 17, 2018

You just told me an ARM chip can compete head to head with today's Intel chips, but you saying photoshop will run like crap on core2duo? Actually it wont. Photoshop is not a CPU intensive app, its ram intensive. Now to be fair, yes an older chip yes will struggle vs a newer one. Facts have shown that a desktop Windows PC with a slower CPU and more RAM can many times outperform a desktop with a better CPU and less ram. If you had a C2D rendering a 4k video in Premier, and you were using Windows X64 and you had 16-32GB of ram installed, photoshop can perform very well even on C2D. The C2D is basically 2 Pentium 4s on the same die. By today's standards a P4 is certainly not as powerful as today's Core. But Photoshop hasn't really change. It just has an updated UI. How .uch PS bigdog down your chip, depends on what you are rendering and what tools you are using. But my present desktop PC running Windows 7 and 10, is using an old socket 775 Core2Quad Extreme Edition with 16GB of ram and its fast and I have a a N nvidia 10xx GPU with water cool and the COu is overclocked to 4.1ghz. I neverdeop below 60FPS on any game. I love it!!!! ArM can't sustain 60FPS even when playing a video recorded at 60 FPS. It will drop frames as it heats up.

34. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

Wow 60 fps. That's pretty low for a 10xx. And yes it works on an older CPU. But even a simple i3 will blow your Core2Quad out of the water. Your CPU is slowing down your GPU, not to mention the 775 socket based CPUs are missing instruction sets that some games are using. ps Photoshop is pretty CPU intensive. Yes, memory is more important but rendering, filters and such take a lot longer on slower/older cores. Even switching from i5 to i7 makes a lot of difference.

5. Ghost04

Posts: 522; Member since: May 03, 2014

What I see , most people just use ipads for media consumption and giving it to kids to play Candy Crush . By the way , its the most portable media watching device

25. strategic_developer

Posts: 1627; Member since: Jul 17, 2018

That's all it's good for. Which is why it shouldn't cost that much. A Surface for the same price and do what an iPad can do and many thing it cant. Having said that, I also understand many dont need a portableX86/64 Windows PC all the time. The iPad is a very nice low level alternative that can do email. Internet and more. But it's simply not an $800 computer. It should be at most $500. When you consider its justbrunming a blowup version of iPhone OS. It should not be priced like Windows or OSx desktop because it can't do the exact same thing. The hardware inside the iPad is also far cheaper than it is on a desktop as well. So the iPad price is basically just about profit. The price wouldn't be an issue if it ran or dualbooted OSX. But it doesnt. On the Surface I can run Windows, and then use Bluestacks and run all my Android apps with no issue with the full power of X86/64. When i use to buy Smasung tablets, and i wish Apple did this, is be able to connect iPhone to an iPad and use the phone when you need right from the iPad screen or OSX screen. The iPad also needs to support multiple account. The fact that it doesnt it a shame. That way one family in my case of 3, ca. All ha e their own account with their own apps and where runs dont have to e turned on an kfd. Each user have it's own runs, just like Windows and Samsung tablets offer. Apple is so behind in this area. The iPad can do more and it's such a was aste of cou power the fans brag about with a tablet that dows half as much as a computer of the same price.

8. CreeDiddy

Posts: 2270; Member since: Nov 04, 2011

Listen to all of those who are Qualcomm, Kirin, Exynos right now...they won't approach these numbers until 2020-2021. My prediction was right...I said at least 5000 single core / 16,000 multicore We will actually have 5400+ / 18,000+ This mean A13 is primed and ready for next year to extend that lead... A13 prediction = 5800 / 21,000

9. JCASS889

Posts: 594; Member since: May 18, 2018

all you care about huh? those numbers dont mean anything on a restricted ios.

28. rouyal

Posts: 1583; Member since: Jan 05, 2018

What would they mean on “unrestricted” android? Change icon packs, swap roms, and torrent faster? I mean, really.

29. CreeDiddy

Posts: 2270; Member since: Nov 04, 2011

Android sells there phones this way...don’t you realize that? Unfortunately Android speeds up their annimations during apps to help compete with iOS. iOS has the powerful chipsets in ARM mobile.

10. JCASS889

Posts: 594; Member since: May 18, 2018

all you care about huh? those numbers dont mean anything on a restricted ios.

12. KonaStang4.6

Posts: 285; Member since: Nov 04, 2011

can you use apps ? bank ? browse the internet ? play games ? Sounds like you can do what you need to. You know, people can own MORE THAN ONE TYPE OF DEVICE. Ask me how I know...

26. strategic_developer

Posts: 1627; Member since: Jul 17, 2018

Yet all those tablets you mention do more than the iPaf? Are you aware Samsung tablets allow multiple account with each having it's own setting? Oh and the fact they all support mass storage donyou ca load a ybedternal file? That fact you can trabsferbyour screen to any smart TV without a cable or beed of AirPlay support? All you care about is benchmarks where no one using an iPad will ever even reach its full potential. You should be looking at how so much power is being waste on kiddie games and funcrions. The iPad to this day, still doesess than the 2014 Galaxy Note 10.1. Just stop it dude!

11. midan

Posts: 3097; Member since: Oct 09, 2017

Finally real Photoshop made for touch interface

13. japkoslav

Posts: 1539; Member since: Feb 19, 2017

Hardware wise .. yeah, more than enough. Software wise? Stoneage.

14. iami67

Posts: 334; Member since: Oct 18, 2011

Love the article title Apple s most powerful mobile chipset to date No way really and here i thought would put a older slower chip in their new products lol Smart move apple

15. gamehead unregistered

On par with an Xbox one s graphically. Yes it’s an old console, but mobile has come a long way

22. alaw.14

Posts: 427; Member since: Sep 10, 2013

This maybe first teraflop mobile (ios and android) device.

35. vincelongman

Posts: 5745; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Likely the first teraflop tablet SoC released The A10X was over 700FLOPs Nvidia's Tegra Xavier is 1.4 TFLOPs but it's yet to be used in anything and it's about double the TDP too Next year's Qualcomm 8150/855 will be the first teraflop phone SoC Not that these TFLOPs are comparable but interesting none the less

38. alaw.14

Posts: 427; Member since: Sep 10, 2013

Yep the next adreno is gonna be something.

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