Apple just won’t stop surprising us: Anandtech just revealed that the iPhone 6s has set mobile records for early benchmarks, and now Chipworks says it has found two different A9 application processors manufactured on a 16 nm process.
Following its early report on Friday shortly after it dissected iPhone 6s units, Chipworks is back, teasing what kept it busy over the weekend. Since there were rumours of dual outsourcing — do you recall those “Who wins the biggest Apple SoC order: Samsung or TSMC?” rumours? — Chipworks is there to confirm that Apple has used both manufacturers. But there is a major difference between the two application processors.
There is a difference in the die size for the APL0898 (Samsung) and the APL1022 (TSMC), which means two things: when it comes to technology scaling, Samsung wins; and secondly, it also suggests major sourcing problems.
As you can see from the above image, Samsung’s A9 SoC die size measures at 96 square millimetres, while TSMC’s checks in at 104.5 square millimetres. Chipworks will take a closer look at those chips, so benchmark results are coming soon.