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.
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.
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.