Apple Has Two Different A9 Processors for iPhone 6s: Chipworks



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.


  • xxxJDxxx

    Why does Samsung make apples processors but their own phones use qualcomm?

  • Zirak

    It’s because Apple designs the processors, Samsung merely manufactures them.

  • 1His_Nibs1

    I smell a class action lawsuit IF one chip outperforms the other. If you’re one of the unlucky ones to have the slower chip you’d probably feel ripped off. I know I would. Apple, regardless of the problem of chip supply made a potentially dumb move that realistically exposes them to litigation (especially in the U.S.A.)

  • Zeke

    Is there any way to tell which is which from a code on the box or anything like that?

  • No need, just tear down your iPhone 6s and find out yourself 😉

  • Harry

    If Apple specified performance specifications and tolerances for both chip makers and these are being met, I doubt this will be an issue.

  • 1His_Nibs1

    I prefaced my statement by saying “IF”.