The A11 Bionic probably isn’t as good as Apple initially hoped

“Apple’s custom-designed A11 Bionic chip… is an impressive chip, offering solid improvements in CPU and graphics performance over its predecessor as well as enhancements that help boost battery life, camera and video image quality, and more,” Ashraf Eassa writes for The Motley Fool. “It’s a great engineering achievement on Apple’s part.”

“Despite that, I suspect that, thanks to issues with the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company 10nm technology that the chip is built on, Apple missed some of its performance targets for the chip,” Eassa writes. “In terms of generational CPU improvement, the A11 Bionic represents the smallest gain since the introduction of the A8. Generational GPU improvement for the A11 Bionic is the smallest in four generations, coming in even worse than the A8’s improvement.”

Apple's A11 Bionic chip
Apple’s A11 Bionic chip
“I think TSMC’s 10nm technology simply didn’t deliver the kind of performance that Apple (and likely TSMC) had hoped for (something that industry analyst Daniel Matte believes to be the case), which ultimately forced Apple to run the A11 Bionic’s CPU and GPUs at lower frequencies than it had hoped,” Eassa writes. “The good news is that I think TSMC’s upcoming 7nm technology, which will almost certainly be used to manufacture most, if not all, of Apple’s upcoming A12 processors, will be analogous to TSMC’s 16nm technology — a technology that doesn’t deliver as aggressive an area reduction but enables a large performance boost.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: If “the A11 Bionic probably isn’t as good as Apple initially hoped,” we hope somebody sent several pallets of adult diapers apiece to the already hopelessly outmatched Qualcomm, Samsung et al.

A10 Fusion. A11 Bionic. A12 Thermonuclear?

If so, say hello to ProMotion displays in Apple’s next-gen 2018 iPhones.

For now, we’ll “settle” for Apple’s 10nm A11 Bionic which absolutely destroys all Android iPhone wannabes and even out-benchmarks Apple MacBook Pro!

With each passing year, and especially with iPhone X, it becomes increasingly clear – even to the Android settlers – that the competition has no chance of even remotely keeping up against Apple’s unmatched vertically integrated one-two punch of custom software and custom hardware. The Android to iPhone upgrade train just turned onto a long straightaway, engines stoked, primed to barrel away! — MacDailyNews, September 13, 2017

iPhone 8’s Apple A11 Bionic chip so destroys Android phones that Geekbench creator can’t even believe it – September 30, 2017
Apple’s A11 Bionic chip is by far the highest-performing system on the market; totally destroys Android phones – September 19, 2017
Apple’s A11 Bionic chip in iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and iPhone X leaves Android phones choking in the dust – September 18, 2017
The inside story of Apple’s amazing A11 Bionic chip – September 18, 2017
Apple’s A11 Bionic obliterates top chips from Qualcomm, Samsung and Huawei – September 18, 2017
Apple accelerates mobile processor dominance with A11 Bionic; benchmarks faster than 13-inch MacBook Pro – September 15, 2017
Apple’s A11 Bionic chip in iPhone X and iPhone 8/Plus on par with 2017 MacBook Pro – September 14, 2017


    1. So, in other words, the A11 is just as great as Apple portrayed it to be. However, they would like for it to had been better. That’s the news? That’s the big deal? Has there ever been anything tech-related that the manufacturer wouldn’t have liked to have better? There’s always limitations.

      I wish I had more hands…

      so I can give this article…

      4 thumbs down!!!!!!

    1. Ever notice that the monikers ‘best ever’, ‘best in class’, ‘most advanced’,’ and ‘most powerful’ seem to no longer mean anything to folks when concerning Apple. People seem to be bored with Apple maintaining it’s spot so regularly in the tech world…like it’s sports or music.

  1. I saw a video on YT from an Android guy. While he acknowledged the lead, he speculated that a good part of it comes from the immense size of the on-chip cache the A11 has, together with Apple’s ability to customize the chip exactly for its purpose (where as other manufacturers’ chips are more general-purpose and need to be adaptable to many use-cases – they’d never design a chip with such a larger transistor-count, for a start).

  2. The performance they are basing this on is the individual CPU performance between the A10X Fusion (16nm) and A11 Bionic (10nm), claiming that the A11 CPU doesn’t see much improvement as a result of the 10 nm manufacturing process. It ignores, until the very end, the primary fact that the 10 nm size allows for 6 CPU cores in the A11 and only 4 CPU cores on the larger A10. So, with no more size or power requirements, the A11 delivers 50% more CPU power.
    The last paragraph of the article finally hits the nail on the head (after writing off the A11 for the bulk of the story):

    “It would seem, then, that TSMC delivered what it needed to: a 10nm technology that dramatically improves on transistor density and doesn’t force a regression in peak frequency capability compared to 16nm. That’s hardly a “bad” technology.”

    I guess they figure there are more readers that want to see bad news about Apple than good. Probably right.

  3. This guy is speculating about what Apple, possibly, wanted to achieve with this iteration. He has no idea what Apple wanted to achieve.

    Hell, Apple might have *wanted* to have double the clock frequency, 100% more cores, 4x the number of instructions executed per clock cycle per core for the CPU and 50x the number executed instructions per clock cycle for the GPU. Should anyone say that Apple must be disappointed if it did not make such lofty goals? NO!

    Apple was able to design, and TSMC was able to fabricate, a cell phone chip that is faster than any other by a significant margin. Is it ten times as fast? No. Is it three times as fast? No. But by every test (not just the synthetic tests) it is noticeably faster than any cell phone chip before it — by Apple or anyone else.

    We can pretty much guarantee that Apple is not disappointed in the A11.

  4. The article misses the point that that the A11 is 22% faster on single core and 75% faster on multi-core performance according to Geekbench. When you combine that with things like the built in neural engine, improved GPU, improved ISP, etc. it’s clear that the A11 is a fantastic upgrade overall.

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