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Apple A15 Bionic
General information
LaunchedSeptember 14, 2021
Designed byApple Inc.
Common manufacturer(s)
Product codeAPL1W07[1]
Max. CPU clock rateto 3.23 GHz[2]

(2.93 GHz in iPad Mini 6)[3] 

Cache
L2 cache12 MB (performance cores)
4 MB (efficient cores)
Last level cache32 MB (system cache)
Architecture and classification
ApplicationMobile
Technology node5 nm (N5P)
Microarchitecture"Avalanche" and "Blizzard"
Instruction setARMv8.6-A[4]
Physical specifications
Transistors
  • 15 billion
Cores
  • 6 (4 efficiency, 2 performance)
GPU(s)Apple-designed 4- or 5- core GPU
Products, models, variants
Variant(s)
History
Predecessor(s)Apple A14
Successor(s)Apple A16

The Apple A15 Bionic is a 64-bit ARM-based system on a chip (SoC) designed by Apple Inc. It is used in the iPhone 13 and 13 Mini, iPhone 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max, iPad Mini (6th generation), iPhone SE (3rd generation), iPhone 14 and 14 Plus and Apple TV 4K (3rd generation).[5]

Design

The Apple A15 Bionic features an Apple-designed 64-bit six-core CPU implementing ARMv8 with two high-performance cores called Avalanche running at 3.24 GHz and four energy-efficient cores called Blizzard running at 2.01 GHz. Apple claims the A15 in the iPhones is 50% faster than the competition. Apple claims the A15 in the iPad Mini 6 is 40% faster than the A12.[6] An in-depth breakdown by Anandtech revealed that "compared to the A14, the new A15 increases the peak single-core frequency of the two-performance core cluster by 8%, now reaching up to 3240MHz compared to the 2998MHz of the previous generation. When both performance cores are active, their operating frequency goes up by 10%, both now running at 3180MHz compared to the previous generation’s 2890MHz".[7][8]

The A15 contains 15 billion transistors, a 27.1% increase from the A14's transistor count of 11.8 billion. It includes dedicated neural network hardware that Apple calls a new 16-core Neural Engine.[9] The Neural Engine can perform 15.8 trillion operations per second, faster than A14's 11 trillion operations per second (+ 43%).[9] The A15 also includes a new image processor (ISP) with improved computational photography capabilities.[10] Apple also boosted performance by doubling the system cache to 32MB.[11]

The A15 has video codec encoding support for HEVC, H.264, and ProRes (iPhone 13 Pro only). It has decoding support for HEVC, H.264, MPEG‑4 Part 2, ProRes, and Motion JPEG.[12]

A15 is manufactured by TSMC, reportedly on their second-generation 5 nm fabrication process, N5P.[13][14]

GPU

The A15 integrates an Apple-designed five-core GPU for the iPad mini (6th generation), iPhone 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max, iPhone 14 and 14 Plus and Apple TV 4K (3rd generation). One GPU core is disabled in the iPhone SE (3rd generation), and iPhone 13 and 13 Mini, resulting in a four-core GPU for these models.[15]

Products

Products that include the Apple A15 Bionic are:

Variants

The table below shows the various SoCs based on the "Avalanche" and "Blizzard" microarchitectures.[17]

Variant CPU

cores (P+E)*

GPU
cores
GPU
EU
Graphics
ALU
Neural Engine

cores

Memory (GB) Transistor
count
A15 Bionic 5 (2+3) 5 80 640 16 4 15 billion
6 (2+4) 4 64 512 16 4
5 80 640 16 4-6
M2 8 (4+4) 8 128 1024 16 8–24 20 billion
10 160 1280 16
M2 Pro 10 (6+4) 16 256 2048 16 16–32 40 billion
12 (8+4)
19 304 2432 16
M2 Max 12 (8+4) 30 480 3840 16 32–96 67 billion
38 608 4864 16
M2 Ultra 24 (16+8) 60 960 7680 32 64–196 134 billion
76 1216 9728 32

* (Performance + Power efficiency)

See also

References

  1. ^ "What's inside the Apple iPhone 13 Pro Teardown?". Archived from the original on 2021-09-25. Retrieved 2021-09-25.
  2. ^ "IPhone 13 Pro Geekbench Score Reveals A15 Bionic Frequency Upgrade; CPU/GPU Again Tops | SPARROWS NEWS". 16 September 2021. Archived from the original on 22 September 2022. Retrieved 16 September 2021.
  3. ^ a b "Underclocked: The A15 chip inside Apple's new iPad mini 6 is slower than in the iPhone 13". 16 September 2021. Archived from the original on 2021-09-17. Retrieved 2021-09-17.
  4. ^ "llvm-project/llvm/include/llvm/TargetParser/AArch64TargetParser.h at main · llvm/llvm-project · GitHub". GitHub. 30 November 2023. Retrieved 30 November 2023.
  5. ^ "Apple A15 Bionic Powers iPhone 13 and iPad Mini". Tom's Hardware. September 14, 2021. Archived from the original on September 22, 2022. Retrieved September 14, 2021.
  6. ^ Frumusanu, Andrei (September 14, 2021). "Apple Announces iPhone 13 Series: A15, New Cameras, New Screens". AnandTech. Archived from the original on May 14, 2022. Retrieved September 15, 2021.
  7. ^ "Apple's A15 Bionic announcements undersells improvements over A14". AppleInsider. 5 October 2021. Archived from the original on 2022-01-29. Retrieved 2022-01-29.
  8. ^ Frumusanu, Andrei. "The Apple A15 SoC Performance Review: Faster & More Efficient". www.anandtech.com. Archived from the original on 2022-07-30. Retrieved 2022-01-29.
  9. ^ a b Shankland, Stephen (September 14, 2021). "Apple's A15 Bionic chip powers iPhone 13 with 15 billion transistors, new graphics and AI". CNET. Archived from the original on April 2, 2022. Retrieved September 15, 2021.
  10. ^ "Apple unveils iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max — more pro than ever before". Apple Newsroom. Archived from the original on 2021-09-15. Retrieved 2021-09-14.
  11. ^ "Apple unveils new a15 bionic soc". ExtremeTech. Archived from the original on 2022-04-21. Retrieved 2021-09-16.
  12. ^ "iPhone 13 – Technical Specifications". support.apple.com. Archived from the original on 2021-10-27. Retrieved 2021-10-24.
  13. ^ Hruska, Joel (September 15, 2021). "Apple Unveils New A15 Bionic SoC". ExtremeTech. Archived from the original on April 21, 2022. Retrieved September 15, 2021.
  14. ^ Sohail, Omar (March 30, 2021). "Apple's A15 Bionic to Use TSMC's 'N5P' Process for the Upcoming iPhone 13 Series; Mass Production Could Start in May". Wccftech. Archived from the original on September 16, 2021. Retrieved September 15, 2021.
  15. ^ Espósito, Filipe (2021-09-15). "iPhone 13 Pro's A15 Bionic chip has more powerful GPU than regular iPhone 13". 9to5Mac. Archived from the original on 2021-09-15. Retrieved 2021-09-15.
  16. ^ "Developing tvOS apps". Apple.
  17. ^ "Apple M2 Chip: Everything You Need to Know". MacRumors. Retrieved 2022-07-30.
Preceded byApple A14 Bionic Apple A15 Bionic 2021 Succeeded byApple A16 Bionic