Apple A14 and A14X SoCs

The leaker Longhorn (@never_released) has information on the A14 and A14X.
@never_released said:
Apple A14 names 'cause it's never too early:

Apple A14: t8101
Apple A14X: t8103
Furthermore, the A14X is apparently scheduled for 2020:
@never_released said:
The good news for you: Apple A14X exists, so come back next year. :)
Also mentioned is a list of Apple CPU codenames.
@never_released said:
Tempest ASC2, ASC3, ASC4
Chinook ASC2, ASC3, ASC4
Lightning, Icestorm, Firestorm
@never_released said:
Firestorm and Icestorm aren't for 2019
Tempest and Chinook are for the A12 while Lightning is for the A13 (along with Thunder). Perhaps Firestorm and Icestorm are the cores in the A14?
 

wco81

Legend
Would this be the tock in the tick-tock cycle?

There's talk about 2020 iPhones being the start of some "super" upgrade cycles by iOS installed base. But more because of expected new form factor and 5G than some big CPU or GPU performance jumps, which are not really noticed by the general consumers anyways.
 
Mark Gurman claimed a few months ago that the 2020 iPhones will have "a much beefier processor," although no further details on the SoC were provided in the rumor.

EDIT: Changed "report" to "rumor."
 
Last edited:

wco81

Legend
Mark Gurman claimed a few months ago that the 2020 iPhones will have "a much beefier processor," although no further details on the SoC were provided in the rumor.

EDIT: Changed "report" to "rumor."

What "report"? I skimmed over the article, and everything looks like speculation. Did I miss something?

They already have a lot on the plate with a new form factor and 5G baseband.

They may even integrate a fingerprint sensor under the screen and get rid of the notch.

Would be a lot to change in one year so if they also delivered a big jump in processing performance as well, it would be a big update.
 

Laurent06

Veteran
They already have a lot on the plate with a new form factor and 5G baseband.

They may even integrate a fingerprint sensor under the screen and get rid of the notch.

Would be a lot to change in one year so if they also delivered a big jump in processing performance as well, it would be a big update.
Yes definitely. And that's indeed the "much beefier processor" part that I questioned. In hindsight, the article might have meant "beefier SoC", and not CPU.
 

pcchen

Moderator
Moderator
Veteran
Supporter
While people seem to not like the "notch" currently housing the FaceID system, Apple replaced the fingerprint system with it because it's actually much easier to "steal" a fingerprint when someone's asleep or unconscious. There were stories of children using their parents' fingerprint to unlock an iPhone so they can play games. If a child can do that, then it's not really a very secure system. FaceID, on the other hand, is much harder to "steal" because it's much harder to fake attention.
Therefore, my guess is that it's unlikely that Apple would get rid of FaceID. The rumored fingerprint system is probably going to compliment FaceID instead of replacing it.
 

Gubbi

Veteran
FaceID, on the other hand, is much harder to "steal" because it's much harder to fake attention.
True story. My 17 year old nephew passed out drunk on a bench after a party. Some concerned passerbys unlocked his phone with his face and called his mom.

My brother had a meltdown.

Cheers
 

Entropy

Veteran
Single core is a bit better.
Apple didn’t say if it uses LPDDR4x or LPDDR5, so bandwidth is lower down to half, graphics is roughly half, Neural Engine/ML is up.
.
..
Meh.
 

wco81

Legend
Well they touted the hell out of the Neural Engine/ML cores in the A14.

But the examples of apps. using this is some mech game and Pixelmator, which probably aren't used that widely.

Do they use ML heavily for computational photography in the iPhone? Then there is good reason to optimize the operations for those modes like Night Side and the fake bokeh stuff.

If they said that the ML cores in the Apple Silicon Macs will speed up Photoshop and Lightroom functions over Intel Macs, that would perk up my interest but I'm guessing Adobe isn't going to be in a hurry to optimize for Apple Silicon.

So the ML stuff on iPad at least is mostly hype.
 

Arnold Beckenbauer

Veteran
Supporter
Now does it have better performance than the iPad Pro released earlier this year?
Don't think so, SC performance yes, here is, what Apple says about A12 vs. A13:
Fastest CPU in a smartphone
The CPU’s two performance cores are up to 20% faster and use up to 30% less power. And its four efficiency cores are up to 20% faster and use up to 40% less power.

Fastest GPU in a smartphone
The Apple‑designed GPU is up to 20% faster and uses up to 40% less power. Perfect for high‑performance gaming and the latest AR experiences.

https://www.apple.com/iphone-11-pro/

And now A12 vs. A14:
6‑core CPU

The new six-core CPU with four high-efficiency cores and two high-performance cores gives you a huge jump in performance and is faster than most PC laptops.

40%faster than the previous generation

4‑core GPU

A14 Bionic delivers blazing-fast graphics so you can render 3D objects or play an immersive high-frame game from anywhere.

30%faster graphics
https://www.apple.com/ipad-air/
A12Z is 4+4 and 8 GPU cores, IIRC.
 

wco81

Legend
Makes sense that they wouldn't put more performance in a lower-priced SKU.

I have a 2017 iPad Pro but TBH, I think the $329 iPad would more than serve my needs. I'm not using the Pencil, not using the overpriced keyboard, not playing graphics-intensive games on it.


The performance which the widest number of users would need is for video, watching the various streaming services. So if Netflix and some of the other majors services started using codecs like AV1 or H.266, then it would be useful to have decoders for these newer codecs in hardware.

Far more useful than all those ML cores or whatever in what is mainly a consumption device.

Rumors are that there will be a new iPad Pro early next year, with a 5G option. That honestly would be more useful to me and would get me to upgrade because I usually get a lot of prepaid data when traveling and use my iPad Pro to share mobile connections with other devices.
 

Entropy

Veteran
The development from A13 to A14 seems to overwhelmingly be focussed on machine learning, with more die space dedicated to it than CPU and GPU combined. (!)
There was a good article on ars technica about Apples use of AI, but what this design reveals is that they see a lot of future development in that area. And invest to be there.

I was disappointed in not seeing any mention of either memory capacity or memory speed. I fear this means that they are still using a 64-bit interface to LPDDR4x and less RAM than you would want. FFS.

Overall, I still see the old mini and Pro models to be slightly preferable, and for a new release that’s pretty damn lacklustre. Taking the vanilla iPad to two year old iPhone chippery, and wedging the new iPhone chip into an iPad Pro housing (though the green sure is pretty!) doesn’t impress.
 

Arnold Beckenbauer

Veteran
Supporter
https://www.anandtech.com/show/1608...-a14-soc-meagre-upgrades-or-less-power-hungry

What we do know though is that it’s in reference to the A12 chipset, and the A13 already had claimed a 20% boost over that generation. Simple arithmetic thus dictates that the A14 would be roughly 16% faster than the A13 if Apple’s performance metric measurements are consistent between generations.

On the GPU side, we also see a similar calculation as Apple claims a 30% performance boost compared to the A12 generation thanks to the new 4-core GPU in the A14. Normalising this against the A13 this would mean only an 8.3% performance boost which is actually quite meagre.
But
In other areas, Apple is boasting more significant performance jumps such as the new 16-core neural engine which now sports up to 11TOPs inferencing throughput, which is over double the 5TOPs of the A12 and 83% more than the estimated 6TOPs of the A13 neural engine.

...

I was disappointed in not seeing any mention of either memory capacity or memory speed. I fear this means that they are still using a 64-bit interface to LPDDR4x and less RAM than you would want. FFS.

....
It's Apple. They never talk about such things.

I think, all iOS devices since last year have => 3 GB RAM (even iPhone SE 2020 has 3 GB RAM), so the new iPad and iPad Air should have 3 GB RAM or more (4 GB for the iPad Air?).
 

Entropy

Veteran
It's Apple. They never talk about such things.

I think, all iOS devices since last year have => 3 GB RAM (even iPhone SE 2020 has 3 GB RAM), so the new iPad and iPad Air should have 3 GB RAM or more (4 GB for the iPad Air?).

Well they are totally up front about storage, so I have never understood why RAM capacity is such a shameful secret. Well, yes, it is pretty shameful, but so are the prices they charge for NAND, so I fail to see much difference. (iPad Pros have more RAM btw)

Also, they don’t mention the RAM type, so I’d assume that means they stay at LPDDR4x. The modest uptick in graphics performance reinforces that assumption. But having to wait for an iFixit teardown to know for sure is just irritating. I can totally understand that they don’t have that information in their presentation (Oooh, band colours!) but why they omit it from their tech spec sheets is inexplicable.
 

Pressure

Veteran
It’s clear that they are holding somewhat back when Apple Silicon is expected before the end of the year.

It will still be the fastest phone / tablet SoC at every metric you can throw at it.
 

Entropy

Veteran
It’s clear that they are holding somewhat back when Apple Silicon is expected before the end of the year.

It will still be the fastest phone / tablet SoC at every metric you can throw at it.
Probably.
I concede that the investment they make in ML may be valuable, primarily for photograhy and videography. That said, personally I would have been just as happy if they had spent that money/power on faster secondary storage and larger RAM.

Also, beefing up ML is a non-event for Mac SoCs. The benefit for Macs is more nebulous, (and it seems to simply be more of the same units), whereas core-enhancements or GPU advances would have been more readily applicable. But it’s not really fair to let that colour the assessment of the A14.
 
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