Apple A13 SoC

Discussion in 'Mobile Devices and SoCs' started by iMacmatician, Nov 26, 2018.

  1. wco81


    Mar 20, 2004
    Likes Received:
    West Coast
    True, iPhone will debut the next Apple Ax iteration.
  2. iMacmatician


    Jul 24, 2010
    Likes Received:
    A timeline of rumored release dates:
    • Rumors that do not specifically refer to an iPad Pro are represented by outlined rectangles. The ones that ended up being about the iPad Air or low cost iPad updates last year are not included.
    • The left end of each bar is the earliest date in the timeframe given or one day after the publication date of the rumor, whichever is later.
    • The bar for an open-ended timeframe, e.g. "as early as the first half of 2020," is four times the length of the duration ignoring the "as early as" part. The exact length is arbitrary but should be fairly long due to the uncertainty in these timeframes.
    9. and
    18. and
    23. (first rumor)
    24. (second rumor)
    30. (two bars, one for a 12.9" iPad Pro and the other for a 10.2" iPad)

    The rumors claiming 2019 were incorrect, but I think that enough rumors mention both halves of 2020 such that two iPad Pro updates this year are likely. For this post I will assume that Apple will release a new iPad Pro in the first half of this year.

    The -X series SoCs are used in the iPad Pros and other high-end iPads, and every AnX SoC so far has been released between the An and the A(n + 1). The -X series of SoCs are fairly common: the A5X was the first -X chip, and from the A5 generation to the A12 generation there have been six -X SoCs (A5X, A6X, A8X, A9X, A10X, A12X, so 75%). However, it is by no means a lock for any given generation.

    An early rumor from Ming-Chi Kuo claimed that the iPad Pro will get a processor update. Shortly before the iPhone 11 announcement, Bloomberg claimed that the iPad Pro update "will get similar upgrades to the iPhones, gaining upgraded cameras and faster processors," which hints at an A13 generation SoC. Neither rumor specifically mentioned an "A13X" though. The claimed release date for both rumors was 2019 which was wrong, however, the CPU details may still be correct. On the other hand, @never_released has claimed that there is no A13X.

    Another possibility is that Apple skips the A13X and releases the A14X early. According to Ming-Chi Kuo, there will be an 12.9" iPad Pro in 2020 H2 with a mini-LED display and an A14X. @never_released has also mentioned the existence of an A14X. More recently, DigiTimes claimed that the H2 2020 iPad Pro will use a 5 nm A14 processor, although it might be an umbrella term for the A14 generation given that the iPhone is also mentioned in that rumor.

    Apple might introduce both the A13X and A14X this year, much like the A5X and A6X in 2012. Apple SoCs are generally not replaced for at least one year, so this possibility seems unlikely, however it makes more sense if one or both of these possibilities is true.
    1. Apple originally planned an iPad Pro update in 2019.
    2. The A13X doesn't get replaced later this year. Both Ming-Chi Kuo and DigiTimes have specifically mentioned a 12.9" mini-LED iPad Pro without reference to any other display size (except for an old rumor from Kuo). If only the 12.9" gets updated in 2020 H2, then whether the 12.9" mini-LED iPad Pro replaces the existing 12.9" or lands in a separate tier and a higher price, the A13X sticks around until 2021.
    None of the rumors technically rule out a 2020 H1 iPad Pro update with an A14 generation SoC on 7 nm. However, this scenario seems unlikely to me, since the A4 and A5 were the only A-series SoCs debut on the iPad. Since then, each generation has started on the iPhone first, then moved to the iPad and/or other devices or remained iPhone-only.

    Apple could use the same A12X as the current iPad Pros (or a variant), possibly with a clock bump. The A12X in both the late 2018 and early 2020 iPad Pros sounds strange, but it does have precedent.
    • The iPad 2 (2011) and iPad 3 (2012) use the same CPUs in their SoCs, the A5 and A5X respectively.
    • The iPad mini 2 (2013) and iPad mini 3 (2014) both use the A7.
    • The low-cost iPad 6 (2018) and iPad 7 (2019) both use the A10.
    Unlike the A4 and A5 situation above, these examples are not confined to one particular timeframe or type of iPad.

    iPad SoCs:
          Mainstream iPad    iPad mini           iPad Pro                  Low cost iPad
    2010   iPad         A4
    2011   iPad 2       A5
    2012   iPad 3       A5X
           iPad 4       A6X   iPad mini     A5
    2013   iPad Air     A7    iPad mini 2   A7
    2014   iPad Air 2   A8X   iPad mini 3   A7
    2015    ↓                 iPad mini 4   A8    iPad Pro (12.9")   A9X
    2016    ↓                  ↓                  iPad Pro (9.7")    A9X
    2017   (discontinued)      ↓                  iPad Pro 2         A10X   iPad 5   A9
    2018                       ↓                  iPad Pro 3         A12X   iPad 6   A10
    2019   iPad Air 3   A12   iPad mini 5   A12    ↓                        iPad 7   A10
    13 product updates
    10 CPU generation updates
    • Source: Wikipedia.
    • The two different sizes for the iPad Pro are treated as a single product.
    • Every iPhone and iPod touch update (since the A4) has included an SoC update.

    Personally I think the A12X (or a similar A12 generation SoC) possibility is the most likely out of the above options, but I'm not entirely sure.
    #62 iMacmatician, Mar 9, 2020
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2020

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