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Apple A16 Bionic vs Apple M1: What’s the difference?

One of the biggest announcements at the Apple Far Out event was the latest A16 Bionic chip, which will be used in the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max.

The announcement of the latest iPhone lineup, including the iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro, and iPhone 14 Pro Max, was accompanied by news of the latest Apple Silicon chipset.

The A16 Bionic is now the flagship mobile chipset, replacing last year’s A15 Bionic. It’s worth noting that the new iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus will still include the A15, which suggests the phone’s speed and performance will be similar to the iPhone 13.

But how does the A16 compare to the M1, the first Apple Silicon chip to be used in a Mac? Keep reading to find out the main differences between the chips.

M1 is designed for Mac computers, while A16 is designed for phones.

The first thing you need to know about these two chips is that they were designed for very different devices, with the A16 being used exclusively in the new iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max. While Apple hasn’t confirmed if we’ll see the A16 inside an iPad, it’s clear that this chip is designed for small hardware.

The M1, meanwhile, was first introduced on the 13-inch MacBook Pro and has since made its way to other devices, including the MacBook Air and iMac.

It’s worth noting that the M1 chip was also used inside the iPad Pro and iPad Air 5 tablet, giving the M1 a bit more wiggle room in terms of its use cases than the A16. This suggests that Apple is happy to use the M1 to improve the performance of other devices, although we doubt the A16 will appear on anything larger than the iPhone lineup.

A dark themed brochure with several images showing features of the Apple M1 processor.

M1 and A16 use different architectures.

The A16 and M1 chip are difficult to compare as they use different architectures and are designed for different purposes. Both chips are based on Arm, however they both use different architectures and have a different number of GPU and CPU cores, which means that the performance of each will vary greatly.

The M1 chip also uses a 5nm process, while the A16 runs on a 4nm node. They both have the same transistor count of 16 billion, although since the M1 vastly outperforms the A16 in terms of core count, we would expect it to be faster overall.

M1 will handle graphics better

While we won’t get into the details of exactly how the number of cores affects performance, the M1 chip has 8 GPU cores, while the A16 only has five. While Macs aren’t known for their gaming prowess, it’s safe to say that the M1 will be able to handle more graphics-intensive tasks like video and photo editing with more ease than the A16 chip.

However, as the life of the A16 goes on, we may see the chip being used inside the iPad and we may see a change in the number of cores, although it definitely pales in comparison to the A15 for now.

A16 Bionic chip

A16 prioritizes battery life

The A16 Bionic chip retained the same core count as its predecessor with 6 CPU cores consisting of 2 high performance cores and 4 energy efficient cores. Meanwhile, M1 is composed of 8 CPU cores, of which 4 are high-performance cores and 4 are power-efficient cores.

This shows that Apple is prioritizing the battery life of the A16 as it has more power efficient cores. It’s also been shown in some features like the A16’s ability to drop to 1Hz when idle, and it’s generally more important to keep your smartphone up and running throughout the day than your Mac.

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