Apple has a new A8 processor for its new iPhone handsets. The new chip has 2 billion transistors and is built using a 20nm process. Apple's claims for the upgraded system-on-chip include up to 25 percent faster CPU performance and up to 50 percent faster graphics. Compared to the original iPhone, the new processor in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus is rated to be 84 times faster.
More importantly, Apple says the new A8 is up to 50 percent more power-efficient and will be able to sustain power-intensive tasks for longer while generating less heat. To help developers capture the power of the new chip, Apple will push its Metal app and game engine for the creation of more visually advanced software. Game developers have already committed to producing Metal games and the first ones will be out "before the end of the year."
With higher resolutions on both new iPhones — including a full 1080p panel on the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus — Apple needed to ensure the graphics chip is to its new, more intensive task, and this all-around upgrade of the A8 seems intended to do just that. The changes sound like they're intended to maintain a decent battery life even while powering larger and more pixel-rich displays.
Apple is augmenting the A8 processor with an M8 motion co-processor, much as with the A7 / M7 combo in the previous generation and as HTC did earlier this year with the HTC One. This added chip will be dedicated to continuously monitoring incoming motion data from the phone's accelerometer, gyrosope and compass. With the addition of new Voice over LTE calling support, NFC with Secure Element for mobile payments, and a barometer, Apple's iPhone hardware proposition is now as up to date as any other in the smartphone market.