The iPhone 14 Pro’s A16 Bionic chip uses the same architecture as the A15 in the iPhone 13 Pro, but this was just Apple’s fallback plan, according to a report information, The company wanted to add a next-generation GPU that supports ray tracing, but the Silicon team discovered critical design mistakes late in development. It reportedly had to cancel its plans and pick up the A16 we got.
The failed plans can reportedly be traced back to Apple’s silicon engineers being “too ambitious with adding new features”. The planned 2022 silicon will support ray tracing, the technology that makes lighting in video games behave like it does in real life. Software simulations suggested it was feasible, and the company went ahead with the prototype. But the test hardware drew more power than the engineers expected, hurting battery life and causing the device to overheat.
Because Apple caught the mistakes late in development, it had to scrap plans for this generation and instead chose the A16 that followed this fall. (At Apple’s September keynote, instead of touting the monumental benefits of the new chip, as it usually does, it only briefly mentioned that the GPU had 50 percent more memory bandwidth.) The report’s sources described the screwup as “unprecedented in the history of the group”. ,
informationThe report links the incident to big-picture conflicts within the Apple Silicon team. It details effective but highly demanding leadership under Johnny Suzzi, Senior Vice President of Hardware Technologies. He keeps the group running “like a well-oiled machine,” but it is also grappling with the limits of Moore’s Law and a brain drain for startups and rival chip makers. It reportedly lost the most talent to Nuvia, which was founded by former Apple chip designer Gerard Williams III — a popular leader among Apple’s silicon engineers. (Qualcomm bought Nuvia in 2021.) Williams, the designer who replaced Mike Filippo, then “clashed with engineers” before joining Microsoft. Apple hasn’t replaced it yet. Additionally, the company reportedly tried to limit the brain drain by showing presentations to engineers highlighting the risks of working for chip startups, warning that most would fail.
All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of their parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission. All prices are correct at the time of publication.