On almost every iPhone (Yes, there is, on each!) we hear from representatives of the Apple that a new phone was in n-times more powerful and more energy efficient than the iPhone of the previous generation. The same can be said about the iPad. We say “in iPhone 11 includes a CPU A13 Bionic new Bionic A12Z processor extends the capabilities of the iPad Pro”, and we sagely nod because we understand that these artful symbols hiding something cool. Real power. But this is the “power” is not dependent on names, you can call chip at least “A18X Power” and performance, it will be like in the fifth iPhone. No, it’s much more difficult, and his name — nanometer process technology.

  • 1 What is nanometer process technology?
  • 2 Processors iPhone
    • 2.1 2010, iPhone 4, A4, 45 nm (Samsung)
    • 2.2 2011, the iPhone 4S, A5, 45 nm (Samsung)
    • 2.3 2012 iPhone 5, 5C, A6, 32 nm (Samsung)
    • 2.4 2013 iPhone 5S A7, 28 nm (Samsung)
    • 2.5 2014, iPhone 6, A8, 20nm (TSMC)
    • 2.6 2015, iPhone 6s A9, 14 nm (Samsung), 16 nm (TSMC)
    • 2.7 2016, iPhone 7, A10, Fusion, 16 nm (TSMC)
    • 2.8 2017, iPhone X, 8, A11 Bionic, 10 nm (TSMC)
    • 2.9 2018, iPhone XS, XR, A12 Bionic, 7 nm (TSMC)
    • 2.10 2019, iPhone 11, A13 Bionic, 7 nm (TSMC)
  • 3 what determines the power of the iPhone?

What is nanometer process technology?

If to speak very simply, the processor, whether the chip in the iPhone, iPad, or Mac, is a billions of tiny transistors and electrical valves, which are switched on and off operations. These transistors are so small that their size is calculated in millimeters, and not even in hundredths of a millimeter and nanometers.

Nanometer - a unit of measurement equal to one billionth of a meter (a millionth fraction of a millimeter). To see a facility of this size the human eye can not.

Why do they make them so small? The smaller the size of the transistor, the less power it consumes. The effectiveness of their work falls, so CPU manufacturers (and smartphone) so pursue reducing the size of transistors.
In 1987 the leading semiconductor companies producing the chips at 800-nm process technology. By 2001, this number was reduced to 130 nm. Today you most likely often hear about the 7-nm and 10-nm chips. The first type usually refers to processors with TSMC, and the second produce their Intel chips. In two years we’ll probably see the first 3-nanometer chip, on it for work. The best performance is not the only benefit of smaller transistors. Also they are able to provide longer battery life and a substantial increase in speed.

Processors iPhone

Apple-designed processors for the iPhone, of course, much improved for several years, as the size of transistors in chips has decreased. For example, in the first iPhone (2007) and iPhone 3G used the 90-nm process technology from Samsung. By 2009 and the advent of iPhone 3GS, Samsung has used the 65-nm process.

Here’s how to change the iPhone processors, starting in 2010.

2010, iPhone 4, A4, 45 nm (Samsung)

It was the first system on a chip (or as it is called, crystal — SoC), which was developed by Apple for their mobile devices.

2011, the iPhone 4S, A5, 45 nm (Samsung)

At the presentation of iPhone 4s, Apple said the A5 is able to perform twice as many tasks than A4, and showed nine times higher graphics performance.

2012, iPhone 5, 5C, A6, 32 nm (Samsung)

Two times faster than its predecessor with twice the graphical power.

2013, iPhone 5S, A7, 28 nm (Samsung)

Again, Apple said that this chip was twice as fast and had twice the graphics power compared to the Apple A6.

2014, iPhone 6, A8, 20nm (TSMC)

The first chip is not Samsung, which made for Apple company TSMC. Apple A8 is offered 25% more CPU performance and 50% more graphics performance than the previous model. It also consumes 50% less energy.

2015, iPhone 6s A9, 14 nm (Samsung), 16 nm (TSMC)

Processor Apple A9, created from the two companies, provided 70% performance and 90% faster graphics performance.

2016, iPhone 7, A10, Fusion, 16 nm (TSMC)

Since then the iPhone left Samsung’s processors entirely. Apple said that this chip’s graphics performance was 50% higher.

2017, iPhone X, 8, A11 Bionic, 10 nm (TSMC)

25% faster than A10 Fusion, and 30% faster graphics.

2018, iPhone XS, XR, A12 Bionic, 7 nm (TSMC)

Performance in single-core mode on 35% above, in the multi-core — 90% higher than its predecessor.

2019, iPhone 11, A13 Bionic, 7 nm (TSMC)

Apple claims that two high-performance cores to work 20% faster while reducing power consumption by 30%, and four high-performance cores — 20% faster while reducing power consumption by 40% compared to A12.

What determines the power of the iPhone?

As you can see, the power of the iPhone directly depends on the used CPU of the process. In 11 it iPhone almost 7 times less than the iPhone 4. Hence, this power and ability to run resource-intensive apps and iOS 13, which compared to iOS 4 has changed.

If we compare schematically the same processors, but are made for 14-nanometer and 7-nanometer process technology, the second would be 25% more productive with the same expended energy.