The Apple Inc. A9 Might Deliver Seriously Crazy Levels of Performance

Blog Ringer Blue Men (via BGR) shows a purported screen capture of Apple's next generation smartphone, the iPhone 6s, running the popular Geekbench 3 performance testing application. According to the screen capture, the next generation iPhone will feature 1 gigabyte of memory, and an A9 processor running at 2.0 gigahertz clock frequency.

If this is an accurate representation of the iPhone 6s, then some consumers might be disappointed by the relatively small amount of memory inside of the device. However, if the A9 CPU really is running at a whopping 2.0 gigahertz, then this chip may be poised to achieve eye-popping levels of performance.

How fast would a two gigahertz Apple A9 be?The CPU cores inside of the Apple A8 run at 1.4 gigahertz, and deliver best-in-class performance in the Geekbench 3 test. With the A9, I expect that Apple has made some improvements to the underlying CPU core design in order to deliver more performance per clock cycle.

What's really interesting here, though, is that if this screen capture is legitimate, Apple is delivering a very large increase in clock speed over what it delivered with the A8. Assuming that the A9 is using an enhanced version of the CPU architecture inside of the A8, this likely points to huge performance gains generation-on-generation.

Indeed, in Geekbench 3, my now-sold A8-powered iPhone 6 Plus posted a single-core score of 1,624 and a multi-core score of 2,909. If we assume that per-clock performance in the A9 is identical to the A8, then a hypothetical A9 at 2.0 gigahertz should be able to deliver a single core score of 2320.

If Apple's architects were able to squeeze out additional per-clock performance -- and I'd bet they did -- then an A9 at 2.0 gigahertz should be able to deliver an even higher single-core score.

Apple may be set to deliver PC-class performance in the next iPhoneThe kind of per-core performance that Apple could be set to deliver with the A9 processor may not be too far off from full PC-grade processors, at least as measured by the Geekbench 3 performance test.

For example, my Dell XPS 13, which is powered by an IntelBroadwell-based Core i5-5200U processor, delivers a single-core score of 2,689 and a multi-core score of 5,443 in Geekbench 3. The A9, if it's really based on an enhanced version of the A8 CPU architecture, and it really runs at 2.0 gigahertz, should, in some cases, deliver truly "PC-class" performance.

Assuming the A9 brings the aforementioned level of performance, I can't wait to see what mobile application developers will be able to do with this kind of computing power.

This might also have some interesting implications for the iPad ProApple is also expected to launch what has been widely referred as the "iPad Pro" later this year, which many believe will be crucial to the company's efforts to expand iPad uptake within enterprises.

For its larger iPads, Apple tends to design a special variant of the A-series chips with an "X" suffix. These chips often include features such as a more robust graphics engine, more/faster CPU cores, additional memory bandwidth, and so on.

If the A9 is able to deliver the very high per-core performance suggested by the aforementioned Geekbench 3 screen capture, then a hypothetical A9X chip with a greater number of CPU cores might give the purported iPad Pro enough processing grunt to be a viable notebook replacement for some users.

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Ashraf Eassa owns shares of Intel. The Motley Fool recommends Apple and Intel. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple and Intel. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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