Apple Watch Series 9’s S9 SiP Is A 4nm Part And Cut-Down Version Of The A16 Bionic, Revealing A Scalable Architecture For Various Product Lines – Wccftech

All Apple Watch Series 9 models are outfitted with the new S9 SiP, but according to the latest analysis, this chip is not mass manufactured on TSMC’s cutting-edge 3nm ‘N3B’ process that was also used to fabricate the A17 Pro and M3 range. Instead, the smartwatch’s ‘System in a package’ is actually based on Apple’s previous-generation A16 Bionic, which is found in the new iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus. The fact that the S9 is based on an iPhone SoC reveals how scalable the technology giant’s chip architecture, and it is a financially efficient way to design silicon for various products.

S9 features significantly fewer CPU and GPU cores than the A16 Bionic, likely to cut down on the power consumption of the Apple Watch Series 9

The A16 Bionic sports two high-performance cores and four power-efficient ones when found in larger products such as the iPhone. The chipset is also packing a 5-core GPU, but it will be outrageous to believe that all of those cores can fit in the same packaging size as the S9. Instead, Apple has used a fewer number of CPU and GPU cores for the Apple Watch Series 9 SoC, with the S9 sporting a dual-core processor along with a single GPU core.

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While this means that the S9 will not pack the same punch as the A16 Bionic, but it does not have to, as the Apple Watch Series 9 is an entirely different product class compared to the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus. The analysis published by EETimes also reveals that Apple employs a scalable architecture that allows it to save heavily on design, tape-out, and production costs, as each chipset tailor-made for a different product can also be scaled up for a more capable product, such as the iPad Pro or Mac and vice versa.

For instance, the analysis states that similar to the S9 based on the A16 Bionic, Apple’s M3, M3 Pro, and the M3 Max are based on the A17 Pro, featuring a bigger die while being mass produced on the 3nm process. As for why none of the Apple Watch Series 9 models feature a 3nm chip? It would likely have to do with the extremely high costs associated with making this silicon.

The tape-out cost for the M3, M3 Pro, and M3 Max is reportedly $1 billion, and with the Apple Watch Series 9 offering fewer features and functionality than the other product ranges, it makes little sense to use a cutting-edge manufacturing process for the S9. Hopefully, with the S10 SiP that will debut with the Apple Watch Series 10, we should hear about TSMC’s new 3nm ‘N3E’ being employed to give the chip more advanced capabilities.

News Source: EETimes

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