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Examining Apple’s Chip Team Bloopers in A16 Bionic Chip

Yusuf Balogun
Yusuf Balogun
Yusuf is a law graduate and freelance journalist with a keen interest in tech reporting.

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Since the release of M1 in 2020, Johny Srouji, Apple’s senior vice president of the hardware and chip team, has begun to be known to the world for his tremendous excellence in Apple’s self-made chips. Also, he frequently appeared in public gatherings telling people about the immense work of Apple’s self-developed chips.

In September 2022, when everyone thought that Apple would make another great leap forward with the M chip, the A16 Bionic flashed the Keynote on performance and specifications without much ink. After the release of the iPhone 14 Pro, numerous assessments of the A16 Bionic were meaningless.

Even with the ordinary iPhone 14, Apple seldom employs the outdated A15 Bionic processor, breaching the norm that new chips should only be used with new phones.

Apple’s A16 Bionic Chip

Before the introduction of A16 Bionic, Arm unveiled a new generation of public version architecture that prioritized CPU efficiency while progressively introducing support for ray tracing on the GPU. Indeed, the GPU displayed strong performance and the popularity of ray tracing in the flagship chips of the Android camp launched at the end of the year, including Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, MediaTek Dimensity 9200, and others.

By the end of the year, the performance of Android flagship phones had been enhanced thanks to a higher SoC energy efficiency performance. At the same time, the ambitious Apple chip team had given the GPU various cutting-edge specs, performance, and capabilities, and of course, it also enabled ray tracing. Additionally, the A16 Bionic’s processing capability was adequate during development.

Apple’s Chip Team Bloopers on A16 Bionic 

The A16 Bionic GPU, however, is unable to cool down at the prototype stage because of defects in the technical design, and high-frequency calls would naturally experience increased energy consumption. Apple ultimately decided against the new architectural GPU in favour of a more reliable upgrading plan. It eventually evolved into the SoC for the iPhone 14 Pro series by using the A15 Bionic GPU and only making incremental calculations improvements.

The new GPU, which was initially anticipated to be powerful, does not exclude switching to the iPhone 15 (or A17 Bionic), assuming that the Apple chip team manages to resolve issues with high-load power consumption, heat buildup, and other issues. The A16 Bionic, which may have been a supernova in the history of A-series chips, is also rendered unnecessary by the change in design.

Replacing the A16 GPU design is comparable to a butterfly in South America fanning its wings, causing a storm in North America. This storm may be compared to the re-planning of Apple’s whole iPhone 14 series of positioning, sales, and other initiatives. It also directly impacts the chip team’s plans for products and staff.

Apple was able to restructure the GPU team, as well as project managers and other key employees, as a result of the technical errors to solve new GPU issues and revive A-series processor updates. Along with staff changes, Apple’s pool of top talent has started to shrink.

“In the past few years, the performance of A-series chip GPUs has been limited, mainly due to the optimization of the original architecture, rather than redesign,” said Dylan Patel, the Chief analyst at Semi Analysis, After William left, Apple’s A-series chip CPU performance growth has slowed significantly. slow.”

Enhancing Apple’s Chip Team

Jobs, though, was aware that money couldn’t buy these top skills when he hired them to build Apple’s chip team more than 10 years ago. They thus question if they can create top-tier chips from scratch on the basis that they want to execute historical feats with Apple.

Indeed, this approach was quite helpful. Apple hired Silicon Valley’s most affluent semiconductor talent at the time, and 10 years later it got its wish. The historic task that Jobs highlighted has been met, but the Apple chip team’s legendary coherence is starting to break down. Johny Srouji needs to plan new goals and regain his glory.

Ian Cutress, the chief analyst at More Than Moore, said, “Based on Apple’s recent personnel changes, it is still unknown whether Apple can maintain its advantage.”

Recently, not only the A-series chips but also the top-of-the-line M Extreme processors have produced faults. The ongoing revisions made by Apple’s semiconductor team have an impact on the delayed release of M2 Pro, M2 Max, and other processors.

Apple’s M2 Pro and M2 Max may surpass the first wave of devices using TSMC’s 3nm technology, which is already in full production. The 3nm M2 Pro and M2 Max functioned well enough rather than merely benefiting from the advantages of an improved process, which is the underlying assumption. The same generation of M chips using multiple techniques may become another milestone for Apple’s chip team.


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