(Pocket-lint) – The new iPad Air features some cool new tech including a Touch ID power button. But it’s what’s at its heart that’s key to how this iPad functions – the new A14 Bionic processor.
This is actually a key piece of hardware as it will also appear inside the new iPhone 12 series when released as well as possibly the first Apple Silicon-based Mac which should also be before the end of the year. So what’s special about the A14 Bionic?
Firstly, it’s based on new 5nm process technology from Taiwan’s TSMC – manufacturers of many of the world’s most popular mobile processors. That means it’s even more efficient than previous 7nm silicon enabling savings on battery life alongside increased performance.
Apple says the iPad Air boasts the same 10 hour battery life despite its increased functionality.
And crucially it’s a step ahead of anything that underpins Android devices currently, as well as Intel – it’s latest 11th generation Core processors are based on a further refinement of the 10nm process.
As with pretty much all mobile processors in the world, it’s based on the core chip specifications from British firm ARM – the Apple A14 Bionic is a 64-bit ARM-based System-on-Chip (SoC).
There are six processing cores for a 40 percent boost in CPU performance while there’s also a new graphics microarchitecture – giving up to two times the graphics performance, too. The graphics part has four cores. There are no clock speeds quoted at all – Apple doesn’t do that.
The chip also boasts a decent step up in machine learning capabilities thanks to machine learning accelerators which come to the iPad for the first time. Indeed the machine learning acceleration on the CPU itself is up to 10 times faster.
There’s a new 16-core Neural Engine that is twice as fast as before, and capable of performing up to 11 trillion operations per second.
Apple says the combination of the Neural Engine, CPU machine learning accelerators, and high-performance GPU enables powerful on-device experiences for image recognition, natural language learning, analysing motion, and more.
Apple’s vice president of platform architecture Tim Millet introduced the new chip: “For customers using iPad Air for performance-intensive apps like editing 4K videos, creating works of art, or playing immersive games, the incredible performance of A14 can handle them all with ease. In addition to the blazing fast CPU and GPU, A14 is loaded with custom technologies that drive that…like a much faster neural engine, which will make iPad Air more powerful for machine learning.”
Writing by Dan Grabham.