The A6 processor
|Launched||September 21, 2012|
|Discontinued||September 9, 2015|
|Designed by||Apple Inc.|
|Max. CPU clock rate||1.3 GHz|
|L1 cache||32 KB instruction + 32 KB data|
|L2 cache||1 MB|
|Architecture and classification|
|Min. feature size||32 nm|
|Microarchitecture||Swift; ARMv7-A compatible|
|Instruction set||ARM, Thumb-2|
|GPU(s)||PowerVR SGX543MP3 (triple-core)|
|Products, models, variants|
The Apple A6 is a 32-bit package on package (PoP) system on a chip (SoC) designed by Apple Inc. that was introduced on September 12, 2012 at the launch of the iPhone 5. Apple states that it is up to twice as fast and has up to twice the graphics power compared with its predecessor, the Apple A5. Software updates for devices using this chip ceased in 2019, with the release of iOS 10.3.4 on the iPhone 5.
The Apple A6 is said to use a 1.3 GHz custom Apple-designed ARMv7-A architecture based dual-core CPU, called Swift, rather than a licensed CPU from ARM like in previous designs, and an integrated 266 MHz triple-core PowerVR SGX543MP3 graphics processing unit (GPU). The Swift core in the A6 uses a new tweaked instruction set featuring some elements of the ARM Cortex-A15 such as support for the Advanced SIMD v2, and VFPv4. Analysis suggests that the Swift core has a triple-wide frontend and two FPUs, compared with a two-wide core with a single FPU in the Cortex-A9 based predecessor.
The A6 processor package also incorporates 1 GB of LPDDR2-1066 RAM compared with 512MB of LPDDR2-800 RAM in the Apple A5 providing double the memory capacity while increasing the theoretical memory bandwidth from 6.4 GB/s to 8.5 GB/s. The A6 includes an upgraded image signal processor (ISP), that compared with the ISP in the A5, improves the speed of image capture, low-light performance, noise reduction, and video stabilization.
The A6 is manufactured by Samsung on a high-κ metal gate (HKMG) 32 nm process and the chip is 96.71 mm2 large, which is 22% smaller than the A5. The A6 also consumes less energy than its predecessor.
Products that include the Apple A6
- Apple mobile application processors, the range of ARM-based mobile processors designed by Apple for their consumer electronic devices.
- Apple A6X
- Apple A6 Teardown, ifixit.com, 2012-09-25, retrieved 2012-09-25
- Apple's A6 CPU actually clocked at around 1.3 GHz, per new Geekbench report, Engadget, 2012-09-26, retrieved 2012-09-26
- Lal Shimpi, Anand; Klug, Brian; Gowri, Vivek (2012-10-16). "The iPhone 5 Review - Decoding Swift". AnandTech. Retrieved 2012-10-17.
- "Apple iPhone 5 – the A6 Application Processor". Chipworks. September 21, 2012. Archived from the original on September 16, 2013. Retrieved September 15, 2013.
- Apple A6 Die Revealed: 3-core GPU, <100mm^2, Anandtech.com, 2012-09-21, retrieved 2012-09-22
- Apple Introduces iPhone 5, Apple.com, 2012-09-12, retrieved 2012-09-20
- Anand Lal Shimpi (2012-09-15), iPhone 5's A6 SoC: Not A15 or A9, a Custom Apple Core Instead, AnandTech, retrieved 2012-09-18
- Shimpi, Anand Lal; Klug, Brian (September 15, 2012). "iPhone 5 Memory Size and Speed Revealed: 1 GB LPDDR2-1066". AnandTech. Retrieved September 16, 2012.
- Hollister, Sean (September 12, 2012). "The Apple A6: a smaller processor for the iPhone 5 with twice the performance". The Verge. Retrieved September 13, 2013.
- Apple: A6 chip in iPhone 5 has 2x CPU power, 2x graphics performance, yet consumes less energy, Engadget, 2012-09-12, retrieved 2012-09-18