On social media, user KK Sneak Leaks posted a purported screenshot of Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL) upcoming iPhone 8 running the popular Geekbench 4 processor performance test.
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The screenshot shows that the phone achieves a single-core score of 4,537 and a multi-core score of 8,975. These scores, if they're legitimate, represent approximately 30.6% and 56.8% increases, respectively, over the A10 chip found inside of the iPhone 7.
Image source: Apple.
Geekbench 4 identifies the chip as running at 2.74GHz, up from 2.35GHz from the A10, and it says that the L1 instruction cache memory per core has grown from 64KB to 128KB.
Perhaps the most interesting thing, though, is that Geekbench 4 says it sees one processor with four cores. I don't believe that Apple laid down four physical high-performance cores (I expect a continuation of two high performance/two high efficiency core structure as seen in the A10), so my suspicion is that Apple has added a technique called simultaneous multithreading to the CPU cores (this allows the system to see each core as two, leading to improved core resource utilization).
Indeed, you'll note that the multi-core performance uplift that Apple seemingly gets generation-over-generation with the A11 in multi-core performance is greater than the uplift that it gets in single-core. If Apple has implemented SMT, then it would manifest itself in increased multi-core performance with minimal impact on single-core performance.
If this leak is legitimate, then what Apple has built with the A11 is extremely impressive.
Delivering on the pocket PC promise
If the leak from KK Sneak Leaks is legitimate, then Apple will not only have far-and-away the highest-performing smartphone processor core (the processor core inside of the Apple A9 is faster than anything fielded by the Android camp, though), but the company will be able to truthfully claim that the next-generation iPhone offers personal computer class CPU performance.
To illustrate this, the 13-inch MacBook Pro with an Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) Core i7-6567U scored 4,281 in single-core and 8,242 in multi-core in 9to5Mac's testing.
If the A11 leak is legitimate -- and I suspect that it is -- then the A11 should offer better CPU performance than the chip inside of the current top-end 13-inch MacBook Pro.
Intel has better processors out than the 6567U (Apple just hasn't used them yet), and Intel will probably put out faster notebook processors by the time consumers can buy A11-powered devices, but the point is clear: Apple could very well offer PC-class performance in its next-generation iPhone.
The possibilities that this will open for app developers seem exciting, especially as this level of performance waterfalls down to lower-cost devices over the next couple years.
Next step: GPU dominance?
Based on Apple's seemingly incredible execution in CPU performance, I look forward to seeing what the company will deliver with its first fully custom graphics processor and beyond. Apple's Imagination (NASDAQOTH: IGNMF)-based graphics processors are already quite good, but Apple's track record suggests it will be able to really pull out in front with its own fully custom designs.
It will be interesting to see if developers will be able to leverage Apple's chip superiority to build apps with features and capabilities that aren't possible on Android devices, which have a much wider range of processor capabilities, and that range has a much lower floor than Apple's.
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