Skip to main content

A10, 'Hurricane' cores, and iPhone 7's industry leading performance

I've been saying for a few years now just how impressive Johny Sjrouji's hardware technologies team at Apple is, but it's still something that gets lost in the spec comparison charts cut-and-pasted across the shallower parts of the internet. For anyone who really knows silicon, though, what Apple's doing with iPhone 7, the A10 Fusion chipset is beyond exciting. That doesn't just include the new "Hurricane" high-performance cores, but the entire package.

Anandtech:

When it comes to performance, the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are industry-leading. It's common to see people claiming that the iPhone has "less specs" than the competition, but it's simply not the case and hasn't been for a few generations now. The A10 Fusion's Hurricane CPU core is ahead of literally everything else when looking at single threaded performance, and to the extent that two of these CPU cores is enough to remain competitive in multithreaded performance against quad core CPUs used in other SoCs. GPU performance is almost on par with the A9X used in the iPad Pro 9.7 in some cases which is a testament to the systems development team at Apple considering that the system TDP of a 10" tablet is on the order of about 5 watts while a 5" smartphone is closer to 2-3 watts. The fast flash memory at this point is nothing new but still impressive and helps to make the phone feel fast.What makes the performance of the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus even more impressive is how that performance doesn't compromise battery life. The iPhone 7 Plus manages to be competitive with devices that have batteries 25% larger while handily outperforming them. The iPhone 7 actually manages to pull ahead of the Android competition by a significant margin which is quite a feat considering how it's one of the last smartphones on the market that is actually usable in one hand.

Web is also interesting, according to Anandtech

While it might seem reasonable to attribute the superior web performance of iOS devices to Apple's focus on improving single threaded CPU performance, the fact that Android devices with Cortex A72 CPUs are only matching Apple's A8 SoC shows that the gap is not only due to the CPU power available. Chrome's generally poor performance on Android is a significant limiting factor, and you can see in the chart how the improvement in Android device CPU performance over time has not translated into anything close to the sorts of gains that Apple has seen in the same period. While there are customized versions of Chromium like Snapdragon Browser that provide optimizations for a class of SoCs, it doesn't look like the gap between Android devices running Chrome and iOS devices running Mobile Safari is going to close any time soon, and if anything, it's only widening with each year.

The whole review is well worth a read.

Rene Ritchie
Contributor

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

9 Comments
  • The biggest reason I upgraded from an iPhone 6-plus (besides T-Mobile's upgrade deal) is for speed. I'm very happy with my fast iPhone 7.
  • I did the same I came from a 6 plus on T-Mobile as well loving this size and speed of my 7 Sent from the iMore App
  • They key factor is that the speed is balanced with efficiency. Fast and efficient. Way out in front of the competition. Sent from the iMore App
  • The AnandTech reviews are always very thorough and this is no exception. It’s not quite as in-depth as usual, but that is because they are saving the low level details for a future “deep dive” article (which should be very interesting, and will probably make my brain hurt).
  • To compete with the iPhone, Samsung went with a higher power chip in order to match performance. They then had to increase the energy density of their batteries. We all know how that turned out.
  • They actually went with the same chip as every other manufacturer, the Snapdragon 820. And in other parts of the world they used their own Exynos chip, which is actually much more power efficient than the 820. But you are correct about those batteries, what a disaster...
  • I also went for my iPhone 6 Plus to the 7+ and I'm very impressed with the speed the phone also operates very smoothly and haven't had any problems with it for the month I've had it batteries last several days Sent from the iMore App
  • I'm new to iPhone with the 7 plus. The performance of this phone is astounding across the board.
  • I am trying the iPhone SE for last 2 weeks, just as an experiment. This phone is so much more fluid than the galaxy s6 (my normal daily driver), and maybe even more fluid than the s7 - but I noticed it's often just animations that are smooth. I wait for things around the same time as on my s6, it just doesn't feel like a lag since the waiting time is always accompanied by an animation. Even when you return to app that needs to reload, the phone animates into the reloaded app making it seem like the app was never closed. What is extremely fluid and actually fast is system. The keyboard, notification shade, control centre, none of it ever lags. I'm happy to hear that the iPhone 7 improves even further.