With the new iPhones – iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, Apple unveiled its upgraded A10 Fusion system-on-chip bumping up from last year’s A9 present on the iPhone 6S. The principal alteration the new processor brings is a significant upheaval in the number of cores implemented, the new A10 chip comes with a multi-cluster architecture consisting four 64-bit cores which are a big deal as, since the iPhone 4S, Apple has worked with merely two cores.
To begin with, the A10 Fusion carries two different sets of cores – two for high-performance operations and two other for power efficiency. The latter consumes approximately one-fifth the power of the former, however, Apple hasn’t particularly specified what type of tasks constituent either of the two categories. They did mention that the new design is complemented by a custom performance controller for managing the cores and migrate between them whenever required. Implicitly, we can assume only two cores are running at once, but nothing can be said for sure. In theory, both the approaches will indirectly impact battery, hence unless Apple has come up with a unique to handle the new architecture, don’t expect a boost in the battery life. On paper, Apple promises two hours more battery life on the iPhone 7 on regular usage compared to the iPhone 6S. In retrospect, iPhone 7 is 40% faster than A9 running underneath 6S, 2x faster than the A8 and 120x faster than the original iPhone.
Android phones have been benefiting from this design philosophy for years thanks to ARM’s big.LITTLE, although, it took quite some time for them to stabilize. Furthermore, there’s a six-cluster GPU design, architecture for which is yet to be disclosed. There is a possibility of Apple employing the recently released PowerVR Series7XT Plus. The processing unit is claimed to be 50% faster than A9’s PowerVR GT7600 GPU and 3x faster than A8.
During the keynote, Phil Schiller proudly announced that the A10 chipset will enable “console level gaming” but we’re quite sure that’s nothing but over exaggerating. Additionally, the RAM details are also not known at the moment, although, chances of 3GB are on the lower side. Currently, Apple hasn’t revealed certain details required for analysing how efficient and powerful the new processor is, however, given their positive history in the market, the A10 chip looks every bit as promising.