Apple walks Ars through the iPad Pro’s A12X system on a chip | Ars Technica


46 bookmarks. First posted by aebraddy 8 days ago.


BROOKLYN—Apple's new iPad Pro sports several new features of note, including the most dramatic aesthetic redesign in years, Face ID, new Pencil features, and the very welcome move to USB-C. But the star of the show is the new A12X system on a chip (SoC).
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3 days ago by kenyob
Interesting article. Apple is way ahead.

Apple walks Ars through the iPad Pro’s A12X system on a chip
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4 days ago by railmeat
The why and the how behind Apple's custom silicon "Fundamentally, the reason we built the chip, is in service to the product's vision and its ambition," Shimpi…
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4 days ago by indirect
Heterogeneous CPU architecture is the way forward, especially for small form factors. And Apple has a pretty big lead at this point.

The 2018 iPad Pro has comparable benchmark performance as recent MacBook Pro’s.

You could also make the case that the A12X's performance in general is partly so strong because Apple's architecture is a master class in optimized heterogeneous computing—that is, smartly using well-architected, specialized types of processors for matching specialized tasks. Though the A12X is of course related to ARM's big.LITTLE architecture, Apple has done a lot of work here to get results that others haven't.

The iPad Pro outperforms every MacBook Pro we tested except for the most recent, most powerful 15-inch MacBook Pro with an 8th generation Intel Core i9 CPU. Generally, these laptops cost three times as much as the iPad Pro.

"You typically only see this kind of performance in bigger machines—bigger machines with fans," Shimpi claimed. "You can deliver it in this 5.9 millimeter thin iPad Pro because we've built such a good, such a very efficient architecture."

On how the GPU performance has improved. Apple shares memory between the cpu and gpu.

Typically when you get this type of CPU and GPU performance, a combination of the two, you have a discrete memory system. So the CPU has its own set of memory and the GPU has its own set of memory, and for a lot of media workloads or pro workflows where you actually want both working on the same data set, you copy back and forth, generally over a very narrow slow bus, and so developers tend to not create their applications that way, because you don't want to copy back and forth.
We don't have any of those problems. We have the unified architecture, the CPU, the GPU, the ISP, the Neural Engine—everything sits behind the exact same memory interface, and you have one pool of memory.

On top of that, this is the only type of memory interface that iOS knows. You don't have the problem of, well, sometimes the unified pool may be a discrete pool, sometimes it may not. iOS, our frameworks, this is all it’s ever known, and so as a result developers benefit from that.
apple  cpu  arm  hardware  architecture  ipad 
5 days ago by jefframnani
Stifling serious wishlist lust for an iPad Pro after reading about its innovative system on a chip:
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5 days ago by topgold
The why and the how behind Apple's custom silicon "Fundamentally, the reason we built the chip, is in service to the product's vision and its ambition," Shimpi…
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6 days ago by danielhill
The why and the how behind Apple's custom silicon "Fundamentally, the reason we built the chip, is in service to the product's vision and its ambition," Shimpi…
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7 days ago by svs
BROOKLYN—Apple's new iPad Pro sports several new features of note, including the most dramatic aesthetic redesign in years, Face ID, new Pencil features, and the very welcome move to USB-C. But the star of the show is the new A12X system on a chip (SoC).
Archive  instapaper  tenpla 
8 days ago by WFreeland
The why and the how behind Apple's custom silicon "Fundamentally, the reason we built the chip, is in service to the product's vision and its ambition," Shimpi…
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8 days ago by joostvanderborg
The why and the how behind Apple's custom silicon "Fundamentally, the reason we built the chip, is in service to the product's vision and its ambition," Shimpi…
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8 days ago by punzai
The why and the how behind Apple's custom silicon "Fundamentally, the reason we built the chip, is in service to the product's vision and its ambition," Shimpi…
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8 days ago by ildave
A detailed look at iPad Pro's A12X chip, with an improved neural engine, performance, and graphics, and what it may say about Apple's future chips
8 days ago by joeo10
Some further details and specifications on the A12X chip in the new iPad Pro.

> The iPad Pro outperforms every MacBook Pro we tested except for the most recent, most powerful 15-inch MacBook Pro with an 8th generation Intel Core i9 CPU. Generally, these laptops cost three times as much as the iPad Pro.

Apple’s position with custom silicon is super interesting. There has been rumor of them ditching Intel at some point. I think that might actually happen.
8 days ago by thingles
Apple's Anand Shimpi, Phil Schiller talk silicon—"This is really an Xbox One S class GPU."
apple  performance 
8 days ago by kejadlen
BROOKLYN—Apple's new iPad Pro sports several new features of note, including the most dramatic aesthetic redesign in years, Face ID, new Pencil features, and the very welcome move to USB-C. But the star of the show is the new A12X system on a chip (SoC).
article 
8 days ago by mud
The why and the how behind Apple's custom silicon "Fundamentally, the reason we built the chip, is in service to the product's vision and its ambition," Shimpi…
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8 days ago by Juggularity
Apple walks Ars through the iPad Pro’s A12X system on a chip
loopinsight  spike 
8 days ago by edan
The why and the how behind Apple's custom silicon "Fundamentally, the reason we built the chip, is in service to the product's vision and its ambition," Shimpi…
from instapaper
8 days ago by joeybaker
BROOKLYN—Apple's new iPad Pro sports several new features of note, including the most dramatic aesthetic redesign in years, Face ID, new Pencil features, and the very welcome move to USB-C. But the star of the show is the new A12X system on a chip (SoC). via Pocket
IFTTT  Pocket 
8 days ago by domingogallardo
"Ars Technica Interviews Anand Shimpi and Phil Schiller About the A12X"
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8 days ago by tamberg
Samuel Axon:
<p>Apple is pushing up against high-end laptop and even desktop performance here, depending on what you're using for comparison. Granted, comparing architectures can be Apples (ahem) and oranges. Apple's CPU efforts are industry-leading on the mobile side of things, but they're not perfect. While Apple focuses on performance, Qualcomm, well, doesn't—partly because it essentially has a monopoly in the Android world and may not feel it even needs to, but partly because it focuses on connectivity. (Qualcomm's modems are industry-leading, even if its CPUs are not.)

There's one intriguing bit of context for all of this that Apple won't acknowledge in its discussions with Ars or anyone else: Macs are still on Intel chips. It's obvious to those who follow the company closely why that status quo isn't providing what Apple needs to move forward in its strategies. Further, a Bloomberg report citing sources close to the company claimed that Apple plans to launch a Mac with custom silicon—and we're talking CPU here, not just the T2 chip—are in the works.

Apple has come to dominate in mobile SoCs. In a lot of ways, though, Qualcomm has been an easy dragon to slay. Should Apple choose to go custom silicon route on the Mac platform, Intel will not be quite as easy to beat. But the rapid iteration that has led to the iPad Pro's A12X makes a compelling case that it's possible.

Apple won't talk about its future plans, of course. You could say that's all in the future, but when you have a 7nm tablet chip that rivals the CPU and graphics performance of most laptops and beats two out of five of the modern gaming consoles on the market with no fan at barely over a pound and less than a quarter-inch thick... it feels a bit like at least some particular future is now.

Now, if only there were iOS versions of Final Cut, Xcode, and Logic.</p>


Axon also brings up one other point: Apple has implemented machine learning chips in its phones and, now, tablets. When are they going to come to the Mac? What particular role would they play there? Do they need ARM Macs? You'd have to think that it would be a whole lot easier to implement on a desktop than a phone.
apple  machinelearning  ipadpro 
8 days ago by charlesarthur
The why and the how behind Apple's custom silicon "Fundamentally, the reason we built the chip, is in service to the product's vision and its ambition," Shimpi…
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8 days ago by tonyandrewmeyer
BROOKLYN—Apple's new iPad Pro sports several new features of note, including the most dramatic aesthetic redesign in years, Face ID, new Pencil features, and the very welcome move to USB-C. But the star of the show is the new A12X system on a chip (SoC). via Pocket
8 days ago by robmcmyers
The why and the how behind Apple's custom silicon "Fundamentally, the reason we built the chip, is in service to the product's vision and its ambition," Shimpi…
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8 days ago by adamparnes
“Ars sat down with Anand Shimpi from Hardware Technologies at Apple…”

What a world.
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8 days ago by dcohenp
“Ars sat down with Anand Shimpi from Hardware Technologies at Apple…”

What a world.
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8 days ago by girma
“Ars sat down with Anand Shimpi from Hardware Technologies at Apple…”

What a world.
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8 days ago by gautam
“Ars sat down with Anand Shimpi from Hardware Technologies at Apple…”

What a world.
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8 days ago by toph
The why and the how behind Apple's custom silicon "Fundamentally, the reason we built the chip, is in service to the product's vision and its ambition," Shimpi…
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8 days ago by jcontonio