Apple’s A10 Fusion chip ‘blows away the competition,’ could easily power MacBook Air – Linley Group

“Linley Gwennap, director of the esteemed chip industry research firm that bears his name, and editor of its newsletter, ‘Mobile Chip Report,’ Thursday offered up an engaging analysis of Apple’s ‘A10 Fusion’ processor, used in its latest iPhone, the iPhone 7,” Tiernan Ray reports for Barron’s.

“Based on some help from chip teardown experts Chipworks, Gwennap writes that Apple’s ‘Hurricane,’ which is one of the two different CPUs in the A10, ‘blows away the competition,’ citing Geekbench speed tests for some typical tasks compared to benchmarks for several other mobile processors used in phones,” Ray reports. “The A10 is notably faster than Samsung Electronics’s ‘Exynos 8890,’ Qualcomm’s ‘Snapdragon 820,’ and Huawei’s ‘Kirin 955,’ when compared using single-core instruction runs, writes Gwennap.”

“Interestingly, he finds, too, that ‘Apple’s new CPU actually compares better against Intel’s mainstream x86 cores,'” Ray reports. “The A10 can deliver ‘nearly identical performance’ to Intel’s ‘Skylake’ generation of ‘Core’ processors. The difference, of course, is that Intel PC chips don’t operate within the battery constraints of the A10.”

Apple’s CPU prowess is beginning to rival Intel’s. In fact, the new Hurricane could easily support products such as the MacBook Air that today use lower-speed Intel chips. — Linley Gwennap, Linley Group

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: iOS devices and OS X Macs inevitably are going to grow closer over time, not just in hardware, but in software, too:

Think code convergence (more so than today) with UI modifications per device. A unified underlying codebase for Intel, Apple A-series, and, in Apple’s labs, likely other chips, too (just in case). This would allow for a single App Store for Mac, iPhone, and iPad users that features a mix of apps: Some that are touch-only, some that are Mac-only, and some that are universal (can run on both traditional notebooks and desktops as well as on multi-touch computers like iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and – pretty please, Apple – Apple TV). Don’t be surprised to see Apple A-series-powered Macs, either.MacDailyNews Take, January 9, 2014

It’s official: Apple sends invitations for ‘hello again’ event on October 27th – October 19, 2016
Get ready, Apple’s new Macs are finally set to arrive! – October 19, 2016
All-new MacBook Pro, refreshed MacBook Air and iMac, and more coming at Apple’s October 27th special event – October 19, 2016
Apple plans to launch new Macs at special event on October 27th – October 18, 2016

macOS Sierra code suggests Apple could dump Intel processors in Macs for Apple A-series chips – September 30, 2016
The iPhone’s new A10 Fusion chip should worry Intel – September 16, 2016
Apple’s MacBook Pro not likely to sport Intel Kaby Lake processors this year – August 16, 2016
Mac sales to grow in enterprise with new Apple A-series-powered Mac – October 14, 2015
Apple is a semiconductor powerhouse; expect the first ARM-based Macs to appear in 2016 – March 31, 2015
Apple A-series-powered Macs are not only feasible, they may be inevitable – January 15, 2015
Why Apple dumping Intel processors would be disastrous – January 14, 2015
KGI: Apple is designing its own processors for Mac – January 14, 2015
Apple A9-powered MacBook Air? – December 16, 2014
Why Apple will switch to ARM-based Apple A-series-powered Macs – August 27, 2014
Intel-powered Macs: The end is nigh – August 4, 2014
Intel’s Broadwell chips further delayed; not shipping for most Macs until early-mid 2015 – July 9, 2014
Apple will inevitably drop Intel for their own A-series processors in the Mac – June 26, 2014
How long before Apple dumps Intel from MacBook Air? – June 26, 2013


  1. I still highly doubt Apple is going to put their own CPU’s in Mac’s anytime soon. I do understand some of the logic behind it, especially with Intel dragging their feet on updates. Apple has invested heavily in Thunderbolt, that is Intel’s property. The reports keep saying how close A series chips are coming close to Intel’s lower chips, but not top ones. There is also other hardware that works with Intel that Apple would not want to have to pull completely in house. External drives have become more important to Mac’s. I think a move the A series chips would push professionals away from Macs and into Microsoft.

    It is good to see Apple’s mobile chips truly desktop class. I think the 64bit move, that a lot of press laughed at, is the big reason behind this. Apple looked years into the future and now it’s paying off. With the new Samsung and Google phones not even being able to keep up with Apple’s last years models shows just how far Android is behind. Think what next year will bring. 3D Touch, haptics, great cameras need powerful chips. Next year all new iPhones could have 3D Touch, that would push developers to incorporate it. Then the Android press will not be able to avoid it.

    1. If Apple did decide to start transitioning Macs from Intel to Ax chips they would do it slowly and start with the MacBook.

      MacBook’s don’t have thunderbolt and are not the Mac’s of choice for most Windows-on-Mac users.

      As Mac’s gain enterprise acceptance, and large companies adapt to better support them, there may come a time when the gains from a MacBook Pro going to an Apple designed chip might outweigh the need for Windows support. But as you say, that time is not now.

    2. Get over it Geek it will happen, the only question is when, the hardware and software is already up and running in a back room at Apple based on Apple’s past history.

    3. The fact that Apple is able to get the performance they do from low power chips is very impressive. If you give Apple something like a 15W power budget (or more), it’s not hard to imagine how Apple would exceed Intel’s offerings.
      What’s more, Intel’s primary competitive advantage was never their chip’s architecture. It was their advanced manufacturing process. They always led the industry. As the market has shifted to mobile, we see companies like TSMC and even Samsung getting the jump on Intel for the next generation processes. The race is on for the 10nm process and Intel doesn’t look to be in the lead here.

  2. Just what ew DON’T need is, in essence, an iOS Mac with the same software limitations as the iPhone and iPad. I love my phone and iPad but I want software that is much more powerful on my Mac. Apple has been dumbing down their Mac software for a few years now such that the “desktop” version barely has any more functionality than the iOS version. Mac user since 1985 currently running over 20 Macs between may home and lab.

  3. Were Apple to put their own chips from the A Series in Macs they would have to go through a reversal of what happened with the PPC to x86 changeover. ARM chips are RISC and x86 are CISC.

    There i really nothing stopping Apple from using it’s chip designers from designing an x86 type chip to their specs and having it fabbed by the usual suspects. At this point they might even be able to get Intel or AMD to go along with an Apple customized x86 Chipset.

    1. How could a custom Intel implementation be anything but more expensive than the mainstream version?

      And x86 has so much baggage and design debt at this point. It would not be a flexible starting point for Apple to do anything serious with. And every Intel generation would require Apple to redesign any customizations.

      I think custom x86 architectures are the least likely chip future by far, relative to staying with Intel or transitioning to 100% Apple designed chips.

      1. I am not advocating they do it, just saying they have the people and money to do it.
        If Apple were to really want to set the world o it’s ear, it would use the money, resources and market position to develop – maybe with Intel or whomever- the replacement for x86.

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