One Small Step
While most articles surrounding the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus this far have focused around user experience and larger screen sizes, performance, and in particular the effect of Apple's transition to the 20nm process node for the A8 SoC have been our main questions regarding these new phones. Naturally, I decided to put my personal iPhone 6 though our usual round of benchmarks.
First, let's start with 3DMark.
Comparing the 3DMark scores of the new Apple A8 to even the last generation A7 provides a smaller improvement than we are used to seeing generation-to-generation with Apple's custom ARM implementations. When you compare the A8 to something like the NVIDIA Tegra K1, which utilizes desktop-class GPU cores, the overall score blows Apple out of the water. Even taking a look at the CPU-bound physics score, the K1 is still a winner.
A 78% performance advantage in overall score when compared the A8 shows just how much of a powerhouse NVIDIA has with the K1. (Though clearly power envelopes are another matter entirely.)
If we look at more CPU benchmarks, like the browser-based Google Octane and SunSpider tests, the A8 starts to shine more.
While the A8 edges out the A7 to be the best performing device and 54% faster than the K1 in SunSpider, the A8 and K1 are neck and neck in the Google Octane benchmark.
Moving back to a graphics heavy benchmark, GFXBench's Manhattan test, the Tegra K1 has a 75% percent performance advantage over the A8 though it is 36% faster than the previous A7 silicon.
These early results are certainly a disappointment compared to the usual generation-to-generation performance increase we see with Apple SoCs.
However, the other aspect to look at is power efficiency. With normal use I have noticed a substantial increase in battery life of my iPhone 6 over the last generation iPhone 5S. While this may be due to a small (about 1 wH) increase in battery capacity, I think more can be credited to this being an overall more efficient device. Certain choices like sticking to a highly optimized Dual Core CPU design and Quad Core GPU, as well as a reduction in process node to 20nm all contribute to increased battery life, while surpassing the performance of the last generation Apple A7.
In that way, the A8 moves the bar forward for Apple and is a solid first attempt at using the 20nm silicon technology at TSMC. There is a strong potential that further refined parts (like the expected A8x for the iPad revisions) Apple will be able to further surpass 28nm silicon in performance and efficiency.
Subject: Mobile | September 9, 2014 - 03:45 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: mobile gpu, mobile cpu, mobile, iphone 6 plus, iphone 6, iphone, apple, 5.5, 4.7
Today Apple finally catches up with the current smartphone industry as they announce not just a new iPhone, but two new phones - both with much larger screens.
Image credit: Apple, Inc.
In 2007 Steve Jobs proclaimed that the just-announced iPhone was five years ahead of the competition. In many ways, he was correct - though by 2012 the market had more than caught up. In fact, Apple was behind when they announced the 4-inch iPhone 5, which managed to tick the larger-screen checkbox by simply increasing the vertical resolution by 100 pixels or so. In the area of the "phablet" the iterative refresh that followed in 2013 was hardly news, and Samsung, LG, and HTC busied themselves with larger, higher-resolution offerings that made the iPhone look tiny in comparison.
Image credit: The Verge
The new iPhone 6 features a smooth (and widely leaked) design with a thin profile and rounded corners, and the expected 4.7-inch screen. However this screen is a disappointing (and very odd) 1334x750 resolution. Contrast the Nexus 5’s 4.95-inch 1080p screen, which represents what has simply become an industry standard for smartphones in the 5-inch range.
But the bigger news here (literally) is the announcement of the iPhone 6 Plus. This 5.5-inch phone has a full 1920x1080 resolution, and there are UI tweaks to iOS 8 that are only enabled on this larger version, such as an expanded landscape keyboard and horizontal home screen. The Plus also features a better camera than its 4.7-inch sibling, with optical image stabilization (OIS) implemented along with the same new image sensor.
Speaking of the image sensor, which is “all-new” according to Apple, the next-gen 8 MP iSight camera has same 1.5(micron) pixel size as before, f/2.2 aperture. True Tone flash returns, and the new camera also boasts faster “phase detection” autofocus. The image signal processor in the A8 chip is also custom designed by Apple. Another change is video slo-mo support, with up to 240fps capture.
Image credit: The Verge
The A8 itself is a second generation 64-bit chip, with 2 billion transistors on a 20nm process. This is 13% smaller than the A7, and Apple claims a 20% faster CPU, 50% faster graphics than its predecessor. Apple is also placing emphasis on sustained performance with this new chip, showcasing graphs with maintained speed within their thermal envelope during extended use. This is accompanied by the new M8 motion coprocessor, which adds new functionality for motion applications (just in time for iOS 8).
Image credit: The Verge
The screen is ion-strengthened glass (no sapphire here) with an “improved polarizer", and photo-aligned IPS LCD technology. Whatever that is. If you're interested, Sharp previously published a paper with technical details on this technology here (PDF).
Image credit: Apple, Inc.
The phones are thin, too. The iPhone 6 is 6.9mm thick, and the 6 Plus is only slightly thicker at 7.1mm.
As far as wireless communication goes, these new iPhones feature 20 bands of LTE as well as VoLTE support, and 802.11ac Wi-Fi. And Apple users can get ready to start waving their phone wildly at checkout as NFC payments come to the iPhone via “Apple Pay”. Some 22,000 retailers will work with it (it seems to be using conventional wireless credit card infrastructure).
The battery life should be improved with both phones compared to the current iPhone 5S, and particularly so with the larger iPhone 6 Plus. Apple is claiming up to 24 hours of 3G talk time and 12 hours of LTE browsing on the 5.5-inch phone, along with a 16 day standby.
The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus will be available September 19, with the 16GB versions starting at $199 and $299 respectively with a 2-year contract. Of note, while the entry-level capacity remains at just 16GB, the next model for both phones jumps to 64GB for an additional $100 each.
Subject: General Tech | February 21, 2014 - 03:18 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: appstore, apps, andriod, iphone, obvious
Perhaps there are some people out there who are unaware that the free apps you download to your phone are broadcasting a lot of information about them back to the publishers but it seems that even the paid apps are playing freely with your personal info. According to the report The Inquirer read, of 95% of the top 200 free apps for iOS and Android have at least one nasty habit and more worrying is that 80% of the top paid for apps also have at least one questionable practice. There are differences in what information is shared, free apps are more likely to broadcast your location. Read on to see what else your apps are sharing with the world.
"Could the apps you have installed on your mobile phone be snooping on you? Based on the latest data from app security analytics firm Appthority, it's not merely possible; it's actually more than likely, particularly if you downloaded those apps for free."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Google's Project Tango Android prototype will 3D map the world around it @ The Inqurier
- DIY Router Base For Your Dremel @ Hack a Day
- New Flash vuln exploited (again). Adobe posts emergency fix (again) @ The Register
- Help! Apple has snaffled the WHOLE WORLD'S supply of sapphire glass @ The Register
- System Mechanic Review @ Hardware Secrets
- Retiring greybeards force firms to retrain Java, .NET bods as mainframe sysadmins @ The Register
Subject: Mobile | September 20, 2013 - 02:26 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: jailbreak, iphone 5s, iphone 5c, iphone, ios 7
The Tech Report loves a good Apple release, even if things didn't go as smoothly on the supply side as many had hoped. They haven't had time to do a full review of either the iPhone 5C or 5S but they did put together an overview of the two devices which you can read here. The new phones were not the only new release from Apple, iOS7 became available for iPhone and iPad users and it has failed to impress them. While it is certainly usable and not unattractive The Tech Report feels that some of the elegance of design has faded and the special feeling they had because they owned an iThing is no longer there. If you haven't upgraded because you have jailbroken your iPhone they won't judge you too harshly and have put together a post describing how to un-jailbreak that phone so you can join with the cool kids of iOS7 and wait for the chance to unlock the new OS when the steps for that are posted; likely in the very near future.
"Today, it's the turn of our resident Mac blogger, Jason Fox, to blog about his upgrade to iOS 7. Fox also recounts the process of un-jailbreaking his iPhone to accommodate the new software update."
Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:
- Apple iOS 7 Review @ TechReviewSource
- Lockscreen exploit discovered in iOS 7 @ The Inquirer
- iPhone 5S teardown on release day: Touch ID sensor, A7 SoC, but M7 coprocessor is mysteriously missing @ ExtremeTech
- iPhone 5C hands-on @ The Inquirer
- HTC One Red Smartphone @ Kitguru
- ASUS Memo Pad FHD 10 @ Hardware.info
- ASUS Google Nexus 7 2013 @ Hardware.info
- iconBIT NetTAB THOR QUAD MX NT-1006T Tablet Review @ Madshrimps
- Google Nexus 7 Review: The Android Tablet to Beat @ Techspot
- Lenovo IdeaPad Miix 10 Review @ TechReviewSource
- MSI GT70-2OD review: The ultimate gaming laptop @ Hardware.info
- Alienware 18 Gaming Notebook @ AnandTech
- MSI GE40-2OC review: 14-inch gaming laptop with GTX 760M @ Hardware.info
- Toshiba Satellite S55t-A5277 Review @ TechReviewSource
- Club3D SenseVision Multi Stream Transport DisplayPort Hub @ eTeknix
Subject: General Tech | July 24, 2013 - 06:48 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: OS X, mac, iphone, financial results, apple
Apple announced its financial results for its fiscal year 2013 Q3 yesterday, and it performed well. Note that Apple’s fiscal Q3 2013 quarter ended on July 29, 2013.
Apple reported fiscal Q3 2013 revenue of $35.3 billion, and net profit of $6.9 billion. That works out to $7.47 per diluted share. During this quarter, Apple held its annual WWDC, and announced new operating systems for both its mobile and desktop products. The company sold 31.2 million iPhones (a record for Q3) 14.6 million iPads, and 3.8 million Macs. It sold slightly fewer iPads and Macs than the same quarter last year, but significantly more iPhones.
Compared to the same quarter last year, Apple increased overall revenue but saw less net profit and EPS. In fiscal Q3 2012 Apple has revenue of $35 billion, net profit of $8.8 billion, and EPS of $9.32 per diluted share. In FY Q3 2012, Apple sold 26 million iPhones, 17 million iPads, and 4 million Macs.
|FY'13 Q3||FY'12 Q3 (YoY)||Future Outlook|
|Revenue||$35.3 billion||$35 billion||$34 to $37 billion|
|Net Profit||$6.9 billion||$8.8 billion|
|Gross Margin||36.9%||42.8%||36 to 37%|
|iPhones Sold||31.2 million||26 million|
|iPads Sold||14.6 million||17 million|
|Macs Sold||3.8 million||4 million|
Apple has announced, as a result of its third quarter performance, a $3.05 dividend per common stock to be paid on August 15, 2013. It had $7.8 billion cash flow in FY 2013 Q3 and returned $18.8 billion of cash to shareholders in the form of dividends and share repurchases.
According to Apple, the company's outlook for its fourth quarter is promising, with expected revenue between $34 billion and $37 billion with a gross margin of between 36% and 37%. Apple expects to release both iOS 7 and OS X Mavericks later this year along with new products (like the new Mac Pro) this fall and next year.
Subject: General Tech, Processors, Mobile | September 27, 2012 - 12:26 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: SoC, PowerVR, iphone, arm, apple, a6
Apple's latest smartphone was unveiled earlier this month, and just about every feature has been analyzed extensively by reviewers and expounded upon by Apple. However, the one aspect that remains a mystery is the ARM System on a Chip that is powering the iPhone 5. There has been a great deal of speculation, but the officially Apple is not talking. The company has stated that the new processor is two times faster than its predecessor, but beyond that it will be up to reviewers to figure out what makes it tick.
After the press conference PC Perspective's Josh Walrath researched what few hints there were on the new A6 processor, and determined that there was a good chance it was an ARM Cortex A15-based design. Since then some tidbits of information have come out that suggest otherwise, however. Developers for iOS disovered that the latest SDK suggest new functionality for the A6 processor, including some new instruction sets. That discovery tended credence to the A6 possibly being Cortex A15, but it did not prove that it wasn't. Following that, Anandtech posted an article that stated it was in a licensed Cortex A15 design. Rather, the A6 was a custom Apple-developed chip that would, ideally, give users the same level of performance without needing significantly more power – and without waiting for a Cortex A15 chip to be manufactured.
Finally, thanks to the work of the enthusiasts over at Chipworks, we have physical proof that, finally, reveals details about Apple's A6 SoC. By stripping away the outer protective layers, and placing the A6 die under a powerful microscope, they managed to get an 'up close and personal' look at the inside of the chip.
Despite the near-Jersey Shore (shudder) levels of drama between Apple and Samsung over the recent trade dress and patent infringement allegations, it seems that the two companies worked together to bring Apple's custom processor to market. The researchers determined that the A6 was based on Samsung's 32nm CMOS manufacturing process. It reads APL0589B01 on the inside, which suggests that it is of Apple's own design. Once the Chipworks team sliced open the processor further, they discovered proof that Apple really did craft a custom ARM processor.
In fact, Apple has created a chip with dual ARM CPU cores and three GPU cores (PowerVR). The CPU cores support the ARMv7s instruction set, and Apple has gone with a hand drawn design. Rather than employ computer libraries to automatically lay out the logic in the processor, Apple and the engineers acquired from its purchase of PA Semi have manually drawn out the processor by hand. This chip has likely been in the works for a couple of years now, and the 96.71mm^2 sized die will offer up some notable performance improvements.
It seems like Apple has opted to go for an expensive custom chip rather than opt for a licensed Cortex A15 design. That combined with the hand drawn layout should give Apple a processor with better performance than its past designs without requiring significantly more power.
At a time when mobile SoC giant Texas Instruments is giving up on ARM chips for tablets and smartphones, and hand drawn designs are becoming increasingly rare (even AMD has given up), I have to give Apple props for going with a custom processor laid out by hand. I'm interested to see what the company is able to do with it and where they will go from here.
Chipworks and iFixIt also took a look at the LTE modem, Wi-Fi chip, audio amplifier, and other aspects of the iPhone 5's internals, and it is definitely worth a read for the impressive imagery alone.
Subject: Mobile | November 12, 2011 - 04:07 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: iphone, iOS 5, battery issue, apple
Owners of Apples’ latest iOS devices (especially 3GS, 4, and 4S iphones) have recently run into some battery life issues. Allyn did some testing and found that the latest iOS 5 operating system has a bug (among others) the phone is not able to enter standby mode thanks to a rogue process keeping the phone awake and wasting battery life. Apple was slated to put out the iOS 5.0.1 update, which was supposed to fix the battery life issues.
Well, the update has been released and many users are still experiencing battery life issues. Apple gave a statement to AllThingsD where it stated that although the recent iOS update addressed many of the battery issues, “we continue to investigate a few remaining issues.” According to this poll, approximately 35% (1,822 participants) are having the same battery issues after the update and nearly 14% are experiencing even worse battery issues than before the update. Conversely, almost 18% (910 participants) of people are getting improved battery life from the update. Lastly, a bit over 33% have not reported not experiencing any battery issues. The poll is currently based on a total of 5,145 respondents.
According to Apple, the battery issues are software related, so here’s hoping that they will get their iphones in a row and release an update to fix the issues. More information on Apple’s statement can be found here. Did the update fix your iphone’s battery woes?
Down to Business
While I'm mostly a PC guy, I favor iPhones. My friends always jab at me because I'm a fairly die-hard techie, and they expect me to be sporting the latest overclocked super-smartphone with eleventy-thousand gigs and a built-in dishwasher. While my phone used to be included in the list of things I tinker with endlessly, I eventually came to the point where I just wanted my smallest mobile device to 'Just Work' for those tasks I needed it to. I just didn't have the time to tinker endlessly with the thing that handled more and more of my work-related duties, yet as a techie, I still enjoyed the ability to cram a bunch of functionality into my pocket. That led me to the iPhone, which I've used since 2008.
Like many iPhone users, I've upgraded through the various iterations over the years. The original, 3G, 3GS, 4, and most recently the 4S. I've also witnessed nearly every iteration of Apple's iOS (including many of the betas). Throughout all of these, I feel Apple did their best to prevent new versions from breaking application functionality, and while they did their best to keep bugs under control, every so often a few would creep in - typically with cross-compatibility of new features that could only be tested in a limited capacity before being released into the wild.
Apple's iPhone 4S introduced some added features to their line-up - enough to get me to bite the bullet earlier than I typically do. I was a bit of an iOS 5 veteran by then, as I'd been using it to test applications for a developer friend of mine. While some of the iOS 5 betas were a bit unruly in the battery life category, those problems appeared to be sorted out by the last and final beta prior to release. With my reservations against the new OS put to rest, the only thing holding me back was the possibility of the new dual core CPU drawing more power than the iPhone 4. The iFixit teardown (which revealed a higher capacity battery - presumably to counter power draw of the additional CPU), coupled with the improved camera and witnessing the endless toying around with Siri finally got me to bite the bullet.
I picked up a 4S from my local Apple Store, restored from the backup of my 4, and off I went. I enjoyed the phone for a few days, but quickly realized there was some sort of issue with battery life. The most glaring indicator was one night where I forgot to plug the 4S in before bed. The next morning I was surprised to find that nearly 40% of the charge was lost while I slept - almost enough to completely shut down the phone (and failing to wake me with the alarm I'd gleefully set via Siri the night before).
Introduction, Specs, Design and Ergonomics
Samsung's Galaxy S II smartphone debuted in the U.S. with Sprint, AT&T, and T-Mobile in September and we finally got our hands on a review sample. The Samsung smartphone runs on Android 2.3 "Gingerbread" operating system and includes an 8 MP camera with LED flash and 1080p video, front facing 2 MP camera, and Samsung’s custom TouchWiz user interface.
T-Mobile and Sprint’s version sports a 4.52-inch display, but AT&T’s version has a 4.3-inch screen that matches the original international version of the Galaxy S II. We are reviewing T-Mobile's Galaxy S II with 16GB of internal memory (there are two options for 16 and 32 GB). The Sprint and AT&T versions are outfitted with a dual-core 1.2 GHz Orion processor, but the T-Mobile version we are reviewing today sports a Qualcomm Snapdragon S3 1.5 GHz dual-core CPU.
With Google reporting daily Android device activations upward of 550,000 devices a day, the rapid growth and ubiqutity of the platform cannot be denied. As the platform has grown, we here at PC Perspective have constantly kept our eye out for ways to assess and compare the performance of different devices running the same mobile operating systems. In the past we have done performance testing with applications such as Quadrant and Linpack, and GPU testing with NenaMark and Qualcomm's NeoCore product.
Today we are taking a look at a new mobile benchmark from Qualcomm, named Vellamo. Qualcomm has seen the need for an agnostic browser benchmark on Android, and so came Vellamo. A video introduction from Qualcomm's Director of Product Management, Sy Choudhury, is below.