Apple iPhone has averaged 133% performance increases every four years

People often get caught up in year-over-year performance improvements when looking at chips, but while there is a small percentage of Apple iPhone customers who upgrade every year and some more users who upgrade every two years due to upgrade plans, the vast majority of consumers upgrade every 3-4 years.

iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max, the most pro iPhone lineup ever, introduce all-new camera hardware, an intelligent display with ProMotion, the best graphics performance ever on iPhone, and amazing battery life.
iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max, the most pro iPhone lineup ever, introduce all-new camera hardware, an intelligent display with ProMotion, the best graphics performance ever on iPhone, and amazing battery life.

Ben Bajarin for Creative Strategies:

I thought it would be interesting to look at some basic iPhone benchmarks through the years and look at how much performance improvement happens every four years.

Apple iPhone has averaged 133% performance increases every four years

Going back to iPhone 5s, Apple has averaged 133% performance increases every four years. Most interesting, for this iPhone 13 cycle, are those Apple customers coming from an iPhone X or Xs are going to see a 91% performance increase… Those customers upgrading every 3-4 years, which is the norm, would see between 80-91% performance increases during their refresh cycles. Apple still has a large current installed base of iPhone 8, X, and Xs smartphones which I believe will lead the iPhone 13 cycle. Those customers are up for a huge upgrade in their total iPhone experience.

As I benchmarked the A15 Bionic in different ways and pondered how Apple spends its transistor budget with each A-series chip cycle, an interesting shift emerged for iPhone 13. Going back to how Apple spends their transistor budget on features, not necessarily performance, for the A15, Apple looks to have had the most GPU gains YoY since the A9. For the past five years, Apple has had an average of 19% GPU gains YoY but for the A15 Bionic, Apple has increased GPU performance by 52%.

This intentional increase in GPU performance over CPU performance speaks to the more graphically intense features Apple had in mind for iPhone 13 that is demonstrated in things like macro photography, macro video, and Cinematic Mode. Developers also now have a dramatically increased GPU at their disposal to create new app experiences around and can leverage new augmented reality techniques, visual computing and AI, and more.

MacDailyNews Take: Read more, including Ben’s take on iPhone 13 Pro macro photography – along with his own photo examples – here.

3 Comments

  1. 133%? To me, that’s a confusing way to describe it. So, a 100% increase means 2x faster, I assume. So, iPhones typically get about 2.33 times faster every 4 years. Sounds about right. My current iPhone is iPhone SE from 2016 (with A9 from 2015); a 2021 iPhone mini with brand new A15 is no doubt at least 3.5x (6 years) faster 😆 Surprising how “zippy” it still feels, for the stuff I do on it. And supported by iOS 15 (when I get around to upgrading).

    1. Me too Ken bought the SE on day of release in 2016 and a couple years later either 2018 or 2019 Apple had a fire sale on the 128GB for $299 and upgraded.

      Love the small POWERFUL phone factor; photos are quality enough for the cover of Time magazine and filming movies; no hideous notch, no face recognition nonsense; home button with fingerprint instant open discreetly and no multiple ugly camera bumps on the back.

      Just a beautiful small powerhouse sleek and flush on both sides and smooth…

  2. The New York Times reported the iPhone 13, which actually is the iPhone 16 due to Apple management math FAILURE not counting years correctly since 2007, is ONLY 10% faster.

    In addition, the cameras are only slightly better in some photo scenarios and not worth the expensive cost of upgrading the most incremental iterative iPhone of all time.

    Sorry, total meh…

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