The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus have just landed in the pockets and purses of their lucky new owners. And with them, has also come the A11 Bionic chip . A SoC that has unleashed chaos on the market (or should). It brings back memories of the launch of the iPhone 5s and its A7 chip, the first to incorporate the 64bits architecture years before the competition. Of it, one Qualcomm employee went so far as to claim that it had caused the industry to panic.
But the A11 Bionic is much more than a chip. It is the result of a very multidisciplinary way of doing things, a corporate culture and teamwork.
Gross and useful power on a daily basis
In the past, users of apple products have argued that it was the user experience that was important before the power of the products. And for many it is. Apple has managed to optimize its equipment thanks to the iron grip it has on the hardware software services deck. In this way, they managed to provide a more satisfying experience.
Before, it seemed that it was necessary to sacrifice that power in order to achieve a more controlled experience. But this is no longer the case. The A11 Bionic chip of the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 and the future iPhone X merges all the competition, including the 13-inch MacBook Pro with a seventh-generation Intel Core i5 (the current one).
In the upper graph elaborated by AppleInsider, we see how the iPhone with A11 Bionic chip duplicates in the mono-core test the Huawei P10, Xiaomi Mi6 and Galaxy S8 . And they are about to duplicate them in the multi-core test. But that’s not all.
In an additional test intended to show a real and not synthetic use, Tom’s Guide has compared how long it takes three terminals to export a two-minute video in 4K format . And the results are clear: the iPhone 8 takes 42 seconds to do it while Galaxy Note 8 and Galaxy S8+ have taken more than 3 and 4 minutes respectively.
Before, the user had to choose between experience or power. Now, Apple is able to combine both on the same iPhone
That said, we return to the beginning of this section. Previously, those seeking experience chose Apple while those who preferred power looked at other options . Now, that decision is much simpler: Apple has the best computers for both experience and power. Even the iPhone 7 was able to beat high-end models with Android a year later.
Looking at this data and evidence, it is almost unfair the advantage that the apple company has over competing processors, mainly Qualcomm. They are at least a year and a half ahead, and that space is not likely to shrink. Quite the contrary.
A neural-motor chip
Phil Schiller almost passed another milestone for Apple’s silicon team. The integration of a neural engine into the A11 Bionic chip. What does all this mean? Lowering the technical language to earth, it means that Apple has created a specific chip to execute neural network tasks, machine learning ( machine learning , according to the interview that several executives gave to Mashable.
iFixit se adentra en el iPhone 8 y confirma algunas especificaciones que quedaban pendientes.
Apple en Instagram
Compartir El chip A11 Bionic y la “envidia” de Google
As they say in the interview, this chip executes tasks that could be processed on a CPU or, better yet, a GPU (by the way, Apple has just released its own GPU). However, Apple has decided to create the neural engine because in this way it specializes in three specific tasks: Face ID recognition, photo enhancement and Augmented Reality.
Apple was not the first company to introduce such an engine. Both Google and Qualcomm have their own proposals. The former has created a TPU to incorporate into its cloud, while Qualcomm has several chips with a unit dedicated to Artificial Intelligence.
When they presented their proposals, the focus fell on Apple for not having a similar solution. In fact, Apple had been working for 3 years on its neural engine, from Mashable:
After enduring several years of claims that questioned Apple’s experience with Artificial Intelligence, the company has overcome the doubts with a specialized chip. And the debate about whether Apple had been left behind is over .
This week we learned that Google has again purchased from a smartphone manufacturer. I say “back” because the purchase of HTC was not the first. Google bought Motorola in 2011 for 12.5 billion dollars, to sell it shortly afterwards at a price of balance and without some patents that Lenovo didn’t want or need. This time, at least, it has cost considerably less money: 1.1 billion dollars.
Discussions about their strategy aside, it is clear that Google is envious of Apple and the type of user it has. The iPhone has an unwavering grip on the high-end market of smartphones around the world. And with these high-value users, drags in all of its online activity susceptible to Google analysis, if not for the fact that it’s restricted by Apple. How different it would be if it were Google and not Apple that owned the iPhone!
Google wants to imitate Apple with the purchase of HTC, but it is more complicated than it seems at first glance
Hence the search engine intends (again) to repeat the success of the iPhone with its own manufacturer. The problem is that it is not so easy to be Apple . Nor is it so easy to be Google. Many media outlets claim that with HTC, Google will finally be able to create a competitor on par with the iPhone. However, they forget that to copy the result (an iPhone) you need to have everything behind it.
The mastery of silicon that we see represented in the A11 Bionic chip has required 10 years of development, talent and collaboration with other parts of a company that are difficult to imitate . That’s not to mention that iOS is an exclusive operating system for the iPhone, while Android is one commodity and does not bring differentiation to whoever rides it. Which reminds me of a debate we had some time ago: what do you prefer, an iPhone with Android or a smartphone with iOS?
It’s not so easy being Apple . Neither is being Google.
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