Apple’s A10 Fusion chip miracle

“Before Chipworks published its in-depth tear-down of the Apple iPhone 7, I had expected that the A10 Fusion chip inside the device would measure in at around 150 square millimeters,” Ashraf Eassa writes for The Motley Fool. “Such a chip would be substantially more expensive than the company’s prior generation A9 processor, which measured in at 104.5 square millimeters.”

“Although Chipworks’ tear-down does reveal that the A10 is larger than the A9, Apple appears to have performed something of a miracle with the A10 in terms of chip size,” Eassa writes. “According to Chipworks, the A10 chip measures in at 125 square millimeters, or approximately 20% larger than the TSMC-built A9 from last year. The larger size means that Apple will be able to get fewer chips from each silicon wafer that it buys from TSMC.”

“There’s a pretty significant difference between 125 square millimeters and 150 square millimeters in terms of chip cost,” Eassa writes. “Thanks to Apple’s ability to pack more functionality into a given amount of space than it could with the prior generation A10 chip, it was able to save — at least per this, admittedly crude, estimate — nearly $5 per chip. It may not seem as though a savings of roughly $4.85 per chip is a big deal, the reality of the situation is that this savings when multiplied across the 120 million-plus iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus phones that the company is likely to ship over the next year is significant — approximately $582 million.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: No other company can match Apple’s iPhone and the gulf between the iPhone and the iPhone wannabes is growing significantly. With little or no profit in Android phones, no other company can remotely keep up with Apple’s investment in smartphone innovation. Soon, even the blindest of fragmandroid settlers will be able to see it.

The iPhone’s new A10 Fusion chip should worry Intel – September 16, 2016
Apple’s remarkable new A10, S2, W1 chips alter the semiconductor landscape – September 15, 2016
Wired reviews Apple’s iPhone 7/Plus: ‘Fantastic’ – September 14, 2016
Sprint, T-Mobile: iPhone 7/Plus pre-orders up 4X over last year; Apple shares surge – September 13, 2016
USA Today’s Baig reviews Apple’s iPhone 7/Plus: ‘A strong handset for sure’ – September 13, 2016
WSJ reviews Apple’s iPhone 7/Plus: ‘Get over the headphone thing and upgrade’ – September 13, 2016
Mossberg reviews Apple’s iPhone 7/Plus: It’s a great phone, but where’s my headphone jack? – September 13, 2016
The Verge reviews Apple’s iPhone 7/Plus: ‘The future in disguise’ – September 13, 2016


  1. “Soon, even the blindest of fragmandroid settlers will be able to see it.”

    Sadly, this is not even remotely true. I know Androiders who swear by their phones and wouldn’t part with them no matter how many times they explode. People are NOT rational (and we really shouldn’t expect them to be). They love what they love for whatever reason and NOTHING will change that (for the vast majority).

    For example, many simply do not need a “desktop level” device in their pocket. They talk on the phone, send text messages and listen to some music. Really, that’s all they do. And spending the extra $ on an iPhone makes no sense for them.

    We who know better can only pity them. But don’t delude yourself thinking that they will come around to seeing the light. Its just not going to happen…

    1. Absolutely, for so many the decision is which costs less, because that’s how they view the “better” deal. Take for example the Yugo, universally panned as a poor piece of engineering, calling it crap would have been an improvement, yet, lots of folks bought them. There’s just no accounting for how stupid humans can be.

      1. You are right. People aren’t rational. There are deplorable people out there who will vote for a racist liar like Donald Trump while they make up grossly exaggerated lies about me and my health. Would you trust a man who thought that bringing up Obama’s birth certificate would make for a great talking point? At least I had the decency to cover up my scandals by using my own email server. Trump is just so shamelessly naked with his lies.

      2. In most of these cases it has little to do with stupidity, but technologically ignorant buyers that receive their advice from commission-driven salespeople, carriers that attempt to marginalized iPhones, and ‘the computer whiz kid’ nerd-droid that will push them towards Android as ‘being better than iphone’.

        Due to their Luddite status, and their low-usage, many never realize their mistake, or if they are realizing the marginal nature f the smartPhone they bought, they assume that’s just the way smartPhones are these days.

        Android/Google has perfectly taken over for Microsoft, conditioning people to accept and expect mediocrity.

      1. Is Ubuntu Phone still a viable option? I like Ubuntu, don’t get me wrong, but I really haven’t heard much about their phone OS since about 2013. I really do hope it becomes more known.

    2. Have to agree, most people – on average want a deal.
      And when one considers their usage of such devices we all do not use them equally. Next, once considered the use one does with their phones try to compute that a 79$ Motorola does the job required by most. Then try to think about how many times the average person drops, sits and loses their phones. There definitely is a need and desire for low end phones. It really doesn’t matter for the masses that their is a superior phone out there that cost 10-15x more… as it is just as easy to replace a cheap phone several times and still come out ahead of what iPhone 7 plus costs.

    3. Until Apple provides an SD slot; I am not interested in their Phones. This may sound stupid, yet the fact that the iMac can harness an SD slot and still be secure Apple so then can offer an SD slot on their phones.

      Also, iPod Touch is a crippled down dream phone. If only Apple added a SIM slot and or an SD slot – oh wait… once Apple does these sort of things I guess everyone will realize the truth is… Apple only has ONE Device.

      1. You have a point. People like SD slots. Not that it helps with anything, but if you have a cheap PC without iCloud it makes sense to want a SD slot. Most people with iPhones don’t need the old tech anymore, but not everyone understands how tech works.

  2. What Apple is doing is not mentioned in context.

    It is a 3 pronged approach to dominance:
    1. Highest performance & features
    2. High performance outsourcing system for lowest cost
    3. Interactive integration between software and hardware devices: the ecosystem.

    Apple is simply moving so fast as to dominate their competitors in the high end markets. Samsung in a feeble attempt to keep up has taken a header & consumers are starting to wake up.

    The real question is if Samsung can ever ramp up R&D/QC/QA and catch Apple in the high end market?

    I do not think so after Samsung flamed out.

      1. Over a hundred car companies in the US went out of business in the last century. A handful or so survived.

        The former “luxury” brand Cadillac is now the 5th best selling luxury car in the US with 4 foreign makers above it.

        I simply do not see the arthritic GM raised from the dead by Obama as having a chance in hell of taking back #1.

        Compared to its competitors, I simply do not understand the body style, nor do I appreciate it.

        1. @Bo: “I simply do not see the arthritic GM raised from the dead by Obama as having a chance in hell of taking back #1.”
          Does that matter? The rescued GM sells millions of cars, provides hundreds of thousands of jobs, and makes a profit.
          The Cadillac CTS was Motor Trend Car of the Year in 2008 and 2014.
          RobbReport made the CTS-V its Car of the Year in 2016.
          Car and Driver made the CTS its Car of the Year in 2014, 2015 and 2016.
          The Cadillac ATS was the 2013 North America Car of the Year and the Esquire Car of the Year.

          None of which means you should like the cars. But don’t knock a good American success story just because you don’t understand the body style.

  3. I don’t know, just really want a phone with a stylus. I don’t care what company makes it. The note phones have made me thousands of dollars. I make my living using this device as my work horse. Once Apple release the plus with a pen, I’ll switch. Until then the iPhone is just another phone to me.

    1. And 2Birds, that is absolutely fine. You SHOULD buy the phone that works for you and is going to make you money. Anyone who says that the iPhone is a phone for every person everywhere is an idiot. You have a specific need and especially, you have an economic incentive to get a stylus phone. You would be a dummy not to. I actually agree with you about the stylus, too. I have an iPad Pro with an Apple Pencil and I was hoping that I would be able to use it on the 7 Plus, but that is not an option.

  4. My math says that the area of a 125mm by 125mm IC has increased by 43% over a 104.5mm by 104.5 mm IC, not 20% larger. Are all journalists this math challenged?

    You can get a LOT more components on an IC when you have that much more area to play around with!

    1. Oh, wait, I am misreading what they are saying, they’ve already multiplied the dimensions to get the area. Ignore my previous comment. Brain fart.

      Even so, you can still get a lot more components into an IC with 20% more area that the previous one.

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