We aren’t going to hear anything from Apple regarding their new phone processor until the iPhone 12 release in September. But these chips aren’t designed in a short 5 month window. It takes years to design, test, and produce this technology, so odds are that the A14 is done being designed. It is incredibly likely that it is being tested inside of hardware right now.
It has become an annual theme for Apple to blow the competition out of the water when it shows off the new smartphone chip they made. Even with hefty promises from the likes of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865, the iPhone is consistently the most powerful mobile device year after year.
Without ever seeing the actual power of the processors, it is hard to make predictions or announce what incredible features the phone will be able to run. With that being said, we have a pretty solid idea of what the biggest tech company in the world will be showing off this fall. Below, you can find out what we think we will see out of Apple’s A14 processor.
Apple’s Standalone VR Headset
Apple has never released a VR headset. When they do, it is likely going to hold the title of best (insert type of headset) on the market. Whether they make it a standalone or a Mac-dependent VR headset, it is going to be the best. For the purpose of the A14 chip though, we will be focusing on the potential standalone headset.
(We will be using the scores from geekbench.com for reference throughout this article)
Right now, the most capable standalone VR gaming headset is the Oculus Quest. The chip that is running that headset is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835. The best CPU benchmark score for that chip is a 1690 when running multiple cores. The Quest is a powerful headset capable of running some great games, but it isn’t packed with the best chips in the world. As we mentioned earlier, Apple creates the beat mobile chips in the world.
If we were to take Apple’s score for the equivalent test, the Quest would essentially be as powerful as something between the iPhone 8 and the iPhone 7 Plus. That means Apple could have pushed a VR headset out nearly 5 generations ago that would still be as powerful as Facebook’s latest release.
Which Chip is Inside The Apple Headset?
Guessing which chip Apple would use for their headset is a chore. If they decided to use the A14 chip, they would be, by far, the most capable gaming headsets on the market. If they decided to use the iPad Pro chip from 2018, they’d still be rocking a strong headset. The A12X Bionic processor is nearly the same power as the MacBook from 2018.
Chances are, Apple is going to make a special chip for the VR headset. What would it exactly be able to do though? Let’s look at the history of how Apple’s processors have improved over the years.
The iPad runs on the ‘X’ versions of the processors. The VR headset would likely run on that chip, or something very similar. We have yet to see the A13X, but we have seen the A13 chip. The headset could very well run on the A13X, so what kind of score would that look like? Lets look at the A12 to A12X for answers.
The A12 inside of the iPhone XS Max gets a multi-core score of 2710. The A12X inside of the newest iPad Pro Geta s a score of 4605. Thats a big, big, difference. So if you are wondering what the VR headset would be capable of with multi-core processing, you’d need to look at the A13 mobile chip inside of the iPhone 11.
The iPhone 11 is getting a score of 3436 running the same tests. If you scale that to the same growth from the 12th gen processor, the A13X chip could be getting a score of 5838. If that is what the headset could be capable of, watch out.
Keep in mind, running the same equivalent tests, the Oculus Quest would be getting a score of 1690. If apple were to release a gaming VR headset this fall, it would be nearly 5x the power of the Quest. So what would would Apple do with these computing capabilities?
What Does This Mean for VR Gaming?
Reading off numbers and siting how powerful something could be is fun, but how will it translate to the actual use of the headset? That is the question that will be unanswered until Apple finally reveals something in the virtual gaming realm. Until then, we have a few ideas.
Their compute budget would be the biggest of any VR headset. Would they just want to make this headset so power-efficient that it can run for 24 hours without any charging? Probably not. They could get a lot of use of a chip that is this powerful.
Because Apple would be making the hardware, software, and the processor, you can expect the headset to be running smoothly at all times. All teams will be working together to ensure each part of the tech is running at its most optimal speed and efficiency. This means more sensors could be in use, better graphics pushed, and even a higher frame rate when this is all done right.
In short, any headset Apple wants to build from here out, is going to be groundbreaking. As long as they aren’t using their custom chips from 2016, they are going to have a lot of power behind the headset. What they do with that power is up to the people at Apple to find out what the customers want.
Ever since the launch of the iOS App Store, the iPhone has been home to the most used gaming device in the world. Now with Apple Arcade being subscribed to by millions, the pressure on the company to make a gaming-compatible phone has never been more real. Arcade games aren’t the only games with expectations to run smoothly though, as games like Fortnite, PUBG, and COD Mobile all are being played on mobile devices more than ever.
The iPhone hasn’t always been the most powerful though, as the difference between gaming on the PS4 and the iPhone 7 are obvious to the most untrained eye. Even if you compare the iPhone 7 to the iPhone XS Max, there is obvious differences in what the A10 Fusion chip can do vs the capabilities of the A12 Bionic chip and a Neural Engine.
This information is great and all, but what does it do for the people trying to play demanding games on their new iPhone or iPad? We’ll keep it short here. Gaming on the iPhone and iPad is already top level. It will continue this trend and Apple will be the go-to company for smartphone gaming.
Apple Gaming Console
From the rumors heard around the globe, Apple has toyed with the idea of creating a gaming console. This would, undoubtably be the greatest console on the earth. With that being said, we don’t think Apple will ever go through with this idea. They have the resources and power to do it, but it is not something that will be done.
The 3rd Gen iPad Pro can push out more frames per second than both the Xbox One and the PS4. Just take a look at Fortnite. In the most recent update, the iPad Pro gained the ability to run at 120 FPS. It wasn’t pushing the most resolution, but it is still a smooth game.
Like we mentioned at the at the beginning of the article, the A14 chip is likely already in testing. This is a perfect time for Epic Games to push out updates to see what 120 FPS on certain devices is going to look like, and see if it gives iOS users an unfair advantage. Not only will this be working with the A14 chip, but the A13X chip as well. The A13X is going to be more powerful than the A14, so both are likely to push this new frame rate with ‘Epic’ resolution.
This is going to be better than any console can push. There is no need for an Apple console right now. As long as the top controllers on the market can connect to iOS devices, they are going to be ahead of the game.
The Future of Gaming
Google Stadia has been a bust so far. The latency problems plague everyone, even those who were demoing the product on stage for the first time. Although their idea is very appealing, there is a handful of technical problems that need to be ironed out before their idea of gaming can become mainstream.
Apple could take a similar approach, but without the cloud gaming being their main selling point. Each one of their products are very capable gaming machines. Sharing data and sharing games across their platforms would make for an experience that would draw more and more gamers to the Apple operating system and to Apple’s newest hardware.
There is a lot Apple could do with their newest gaming capabilities. Each consumer wants something different. The great part about this tech giant? They consistently listen to what the customers want. Do we all want VR? No, but the market is growing and this fall would be a perfect time for the company to jump into the mix.