The A7 processor
|Produced||From September 20, 2013 to Present|
|Designed by||Apple Inc.|
|Max. CPU clock rate||1.3 GHz to 1.4 GHz|
|Min. feature size||28 nm|
|L1 cache||Per core: 64 KB instruction + 64 KB data|
|L2 cache||1 MB shared|
|L3 cache||4 MB|
|GPU||PowerVR G6430 (four cluster) - unconfirmed|
The Apple A7 is a 64-bit system on a chip (SoC) designed by Apple Inc. It first appeared in the iPhone 5S, which was introduced on September 10, 2013. Apple states that it is up to twice as fast and has up to twice the graphics power compared to its predecessor, the Apple A6. While not the first 64-bit ARM CPU, it is the first to ship in a consumer smartphone or tablet computer.
The A7 features an Apple-designed 64-bit 1.3–1.4 GHz ARMv8-A dual-core CPU, called Cyclone. It also integrates a graphics processing unit (GPU) which AnandTech believes to be a PowerVR G6430 in a four cluster configuration. The ARMv8-A instruction set doubles the number of registers of the A7 compared to the ARMv7 used in A6. It now has 31 general purpose registers that are each 64-bits wide and 32 floating-point/NEON registers that are each 128-bits wide. It has a per-core L1 cache of 64 KB for data and 64 KB for instructions, a L2 cache of 1 MB shared by both CPU cores, and a 4 MB L3 cache that services the entire SoC.
The A7 includes a new image processor, a feature originally introduced in the A5, used for functionality related to the camera such as image stabilizing, color correction and light balance. The A7 also includes an area called the Secure Enclave that stores and protects the data from the iPhone 5s' Touch ID fingerprint sensor. The security of the data in the Secure Enclave is probably enforced by ARM's TrustZone/SecurCore technology. In a change from the Apple A6, the A7 SoC no longer services the accelerometer, gyroscope and compass. In order to reduce power consumption, this functionality has been moved to the new Apple M7 motion coprocessor  which appears to be a separate ARM-based microcontroller from NXP Semiconductors.
Apple A7 (APL0698)
Apple uses the APL0698 variant of the A7 chip in the iPhone 5S and the second-generation iPad Mini. This A7 is manufactured by Samsung on a high-κ metal gate (HKMG) 28 nm process and the chip includes over 1 billion transistors on a die 102 mm2 in size. According to ABI Research the A7 drew 1100 mA during fixed point operations and 520 mA during floating point operations, while its predecessor, the A6 processor in the iPhone 5, drew 485 mA and 320 mA. It is manufactured in a package on package (PoP) together with 1 GB of LPDDR3 DRAM with a 64-bit wide memory interface onto the package.
Apple A7 (APL5698)
Apple uses the APL5698 variant of the A7 chip in the iPad Air. Its die is identical in size and layout to that of the first A7 and is manufactured by Samsung. However, unlike the first version of the A7, the A7 used in the iPad Air is not a package-on-package (PoP), having no stacked RAM. Instead it uses a chip-on-board mounting, immediately adjacent DRAM, and is covered by a metallic heat spreader, similar to the Apple A5X and A6X.
Products that include the Apple A7
These images are illustrations only.
- Apple system on chips, the series of ARM-based system-on-a-chip (SoC) processors designed by Apple for their consumer electronic devices.
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