Technology

The chip that powers the iPhone 13’s best rivals could have leaked

The iPhone 13 series, which launches this fall, will be available in four variants, corresponding to last year’s iPhone 12 models. All iPhone 13 models will feature the same hardware, including the high-end A15 Bionic chip, which is expected to break new industry records. It does this every year with Apple’s custom system-on-chip (SoC) designs for the iPhone, as the competition failed to outperform the iPhone maker’s designs. The A15 is said to run on the same 5nm process as the A14, but it is said to improve performance and energy efficiency.

A few days ago, Arm unveiled its next-generation architecture for mobile chips, including reference designs for the various CPU and GPU chips that Android manufacturers will use in Android 2022 phones. These Android SoCs will compete directly with the A15, being Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 898 the long-awaited successor to the Snapdragon 888 with new Arm technology. A few days after Arm’s announcement, the successor to the Snapdragon 888 was leaked, with some controversy.

It started with well-known leaker Evan Blass, who posted the alleged features of Qualcomm’s next-gen premium SoC on Twitter. Codenamed SM8450, this could be next year’s Snapdragon 898, or whatever Qualcomm calls it, considering the naming scheme has been mixed up lately. The Snapdragon 888 followed the Snapdragon 865, so it is unknown where Qualcomm’s marketing will go.

The leak suggests that the chip that will power the Galaxy S22 and several other 2022 flagships will be built on the Cortex v9 technology just unveiled by Arm. The SM8450 SoC will integrate the new Snapdragon X65 5G modem and will be based on a new 4nm process. This last part suggests that Snapdragon’s new flagship could have an advantage over the A15 if Apple isn’t ready to deviate from the 5nm process this year.
The leaker criticized Samsung’s foundry, saying it was inferior to TSMC’s. The Taiwanese company is the only maker of Apple’s A and M series chips. He suggested that the Snapdragon 888 is not as good as it could be, and the fault lies with Samsung’s 5nm technology.
The leak then appeared in another post on China’s Weibo social media providing good news about Qualcomm’s upcoming Snapdragon flagship. He quoted a Lenovo manager who confirmed that the new SoC will be manufactured in the 4nm process by TSMC and said that this is good news for most Android brands. The executive also cited Blass’s escape.

While this is all just initial talk about a mobile SoC not hitting commercial devices for at least another six months, these leaks in the past have been accurate about previously unreleased products. Qualcomm will introduce the SM8450 later this year. At this point, we know exactly what to expect from the main competitor, the A15 Bionic.

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