Wired has a great article about how Apple made the A12 Bionic Chip. The A12 processor is even more powerful than its predecessor.
A12 Bionic Chip
It started with the camera. Years ago some Apple engineers starting thinking how the iPhone camera could be smarter using neural networks. Then they brought their ideas to Tim Millet, Apple’s VP of chip architecture.
The neural engine was unveiled with the iPhone X. Face ID and the iPhone X’s Portrait Mode/Portrait Lighting is powered by the chip. The A12 Bionic Chip was created on a 7 nanometer process, which can be packed with 6.9 billion transistors.
The A11 had 4.3 billion, so the A12 is a significant improvement. The A12’s neural engine is also more powerful, and it can run 5 trillion operations per second, compared to the A11’s 600 billion.
Millet declines to answer questions about his team’s plans, although he notes that the team is already looking far beyond the A12 announced this week. “It takes us roughly a couple of years to build a chip from beginning to end,” Millet says. Somewhere inside Apple’s glassy ring-shaped headquarters, the hardware that will power next year’s new iPhone features is already taking shape.