Apple claims iPhone 6s/Plus’ A9 battery performance only varies 2-3% between TSMC and Samsung variants in ‘real-world usage’

“Apple has addressed the spate of chatter about differences in performance between A9 chips used in its new iPhone 6s and 6s Plus,” Matthew Panzarino reports for TechCrunch.

“We’ve known for a while that some A9 chips were produced by TSMC and others by Samsung, a longtime Apple silicon partner,” Panzarino reports. “Recently, people have been pushing and prodding at devices using both chips, coming up with numbers that point to theoretical 50-minute differences in battery life.”

Apple provided a statement to TechCrunch:

With the Apple-designed A9 chip in your iPhone 6s or iPhone 6s Plus, you are getting the most advanced smartphone chip in the world. Every chip we ship meets Apple’s highest standards for providing incredible performance and deliver great battery life, regardless of iPhone 6s capacity, color, or model.

Certain manufactured lab tests which run the processors with a continuous heavy workload until the battery depletes are not representative of real-world usage, since they spend an unrealistic amount of time at the highest CPU performance state. It’s a misleading way to measure real-world battery life. Our testing and customer data show the actual battery life of the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, even taking into account variable component differences, vary within just 2-3% of each other.

“Though there have been a bunch of articles and videos about how much power one chip or the other uses, the tests have largely been what Apple calls ‘manufactured,'” Panzarino reports. “Basically, they are unrealistic machine-driven tests that do not and can not reflect real-world usage.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: So, if you’re shooting a time lapse video, a feature that Apple has promoted and offered for years, and your iPhone 6s with a Samsung-stamped A9 runs out of battery significantly faster than another iPhone 6s with a TSMC-stamped A9, that’s not of concern to Apple nor is it supposed to be of concern to the customer? That’s a specific case of “real-world usage” via a feature that is offered and promoted by Apple, no less. Surely the lawyers will take note of that fact, too.

We’re not satisfied with Apple’s statement and Apple customers should not be either.

Chipgate: Did you get the good A9 or the crap A9 in your iPhone 6s/Plus? – October 8, 2015
Samsung stole trade secrets from TSMC to win Apple A9 stamping deal – August 26, 2015
TSMC sues former ex-employee over leaking trade secrets to Samsung – February 9, 2015
TSMC overtakes Samsung in FinFET, confident they will land Apple A9 orders – October 7, 2014


  1. If everyone really thinks the difference is significant, Apple just needs to add $25 to the price of one, and subtract $25 from the price of the other, and allow exchanges to those who give hoot.
    Of course if there was a difference charged between the two, the same complainers would say that the difference is insignificant and the price difference too great!

  2. As someone who was about to purchase a new iPhone, I don’t think this is a good enough response from Apple. I’ll admit I’m suffering from Fear Uncertainty and Doubt, and these are real fears. Yes the “tests” on YouTube are hopelessly small and entirely unscientific sample sizes, but put together with reviews like this, , and now Apple’s own admission, that there is at least a “difference” in the real world however small, they’ve sewn enough uncertainty and doubt that I will delay my purchase until I can be sure that I get a phone with the longer lasting chip.

    And I’m a Apple fan, so if I’m going to postpone my purchase, how many less loyal customers will too, in this all important “holiday quarter”?

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