“Since we first learned that the A9 SoC in Apple’s iPhone 6s lineup is dual sourced – that is that it’s being made by two different vendors with two distinct manufacturing processes – one major question has remained in the process of reviewing these two phones,” Ryan Smith and Joshua Ho report for AnandTech. “The main issue under question here is whether the TSMC A9 or Samsung A9 have any difference in performance and power consumption. If there is a difference, the question then becomes whether the difference is significant.”
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. – Apple Inc.
Apple “are of course one of the few parties able to actually analyze a large number of phones, and perhaps more to the point, having a wide variation in battery life on phones – even if every phone meets the minimum specifications – is not a great thing for Apple. It can cause buyers to start hunting down phones with ‘golden’ A9s, and make other buyers feel like they’ve been swindled by not receiving an A9 with as low the power consumption as someone else,” Smith and Ho report. “To be clear there will always be some variance and this is normal and expected, but if Apple has done their homework they should have it well understood and reasonably narrow. The big risk to Apple is that dual sourcing A9s in this fashion makes that task all the harder, which is one of the reasons why SoCs are rarely dual sourced.”
Smith and Ho report, “As for AnandTech, we’ll continue digging into the matter. Unfortunately all of the iPhones we’ve received and purchased so far have used TSMC A9s – it’s a silicon lottery, after all – but whether there is a real and consistent difference between the TSMC and Samsung A9s is a very interesting question and one we’re still looking to ultimately be able to address.”
Read more in the full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: We expect there to be some variable between SoCs, of course. Chips are stamped and sorted to certain tolerances. The dual-sourcing at different manufacturing processes (16nm vs. 14nm) is the problem here. And, again, the problem is: Apple is effectively subjecting customers to a random lottery drawing. Some customers get superior iPhones and some get inferior iPhones. All at the same price via unmarked boxes. This is wrong.
Apple should have higher regard for their customers and Apple customers should expect better from Apple.
If you are looking for a media outlet to defend Apple Inc. over Apple product users, you’re in the wrong place.
Apple’s claim of a 3% discrepancy in “real world usage” simply does not address the core issue. A clear example would be time-lapse recording, a feature Apple builds into their iPhones and promotes. Here’s how an iPhone 6s performs when recording a long video – again, “real world usage” via a feature that Apple promotes – with a TSMC-stamped A9 vs. a Samsung-stamped A9:
Apple may have made a huge mistake in having Samsung stamp inferior A9 chips – October 9, 2015
Apple claims iPhone 6s/Plus’ A9 battery performance only varies 2-3% between TSMC and Samsung variants in ‘real-world usage’ – October 8, 2015
Chipgate: Did you get the good A9 or the crap A9 in your iPhone 6s/Plus? – October 8, 2015