Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Apple, Inc. Deserves More Credit for Its Chips

By Motley Fool Staff – Sep 27, 2016 at 7:03PM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

It’s only been six short years since Apple launched its first custom-designed chip, and the Mac maker has already become one of the dominant mobile-chip makers on the planet. The Motley Fool’s Dylan Lewis and Evan Niu discuss how consumers benefit.

Apple's A10 processor powers iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. Image source: Apple.

We all heard about the lack of a headphone jack in Apple's (AAPL -1.96%) newly released iPhone 7. But an understanding of the iPhone 7's new A10 processor, along with some other notable updates to the device, are likely less common.

In this clip from Industry Focus: Tech, Motley Fool analyst Dylan Lewis and Fool contributor Evan Niu talk about a few less-publicized changes to the iPhone line that were revealed in this month's unveiling: impressive waterproofing, improved battery life, and significantly faster processors.

A full transcript follows the video.

A secret billion-dollar stock opportunity
The world's biggest tech company forgot to show you something, but a few Wall Street analysts and the Fool didn't miss a beat: There's a small company that's powering their brand-new gadgets and the coming revolution in technology. And we think its stock price has nearly unlimited room to run for early in-the-know investors! To be one of them, just click here.

This podcast was recorded on Sept. 16, 2016.

Dylan Lewis: Some of the other big things with this product release, they introduced water resistance. The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus can be submerged under 3 feet of water for 30 minutes. That's the benchmark that they're using there. Apple is not the first company to do this. Samsung pretty heavily promotes their water-resistant products. So, just an interesting thing. I know that they deal with a lot of water-damaged products, and I don't believe that water damage will be covered under warranty.

Evan Niu: That's true. The funny thing about the waterproofing thing is that last year's iPhone was actually surprisingly waterproof. There are test videos from last year of people putting iPhones into a bowl of water for literally an hour. They time lapsed it. And it still works. They would check every 30 minutes or so. So, I think they had made a lot of progress last year, but, if you market it, people are going to do it, and if they're disappointed, you're in a hot spot. So, I think that what they did is start this process last year, didn't tell anyone about it because they didn't want to invite people to test it, even though, of course, people tested it anyway, and then now they felt more confident with the changes they did this year with making it even more sealed. So now, they're touting it as a big thing, but it's actually something I think they started last year or maybe even the year before that.

Lewis: Yeah, I think that's a feature that's better to surprise consumers with than have them expect it and not quite deliver on it. So, that's something you can look forward to if you were thinking about upgrading. The phones also tout a longer battery life -- I believe it's an extra two hours for the iPhone 7 over the iPhone 6s, and I believe it's an extra one hour over the iPhone 7 Plus over the iPhone 6s Plus. 

Niu: I think that's a big achievement, because I think most of that is coming from this A10 fusion processor with its greater efficiency. I can't remember the numbers, but I think the battery is a little bit bigger. But the majority of that gain is probably coming from efficiency gains on the power side of the processor, because they're finally doing this processor architecture that has the two powerful cores, plus the two little cores, which is similar to something ARM used to do called big.LITTLE. But, this implementation is not exactly that -- this one is much more sophisticated. But the concept is, you use these low-power cores when you have low-power tasks, and you save a ton of energy. I think it's a huge testament to how far Apple's chip team has come. It's crazy that they've come this far, and they're now one of the most sophisticated process makers in the world. And their first proprietary chip was in 2010. So, we're talking about six years. The A4 was the first one, in 2010. And now, they're at this insane level, where they're basically...the iPhone 7 Plus is basically stronger than a MacBook Air.

Lewis: That's incredible.

Niu: In six years, they've done this. It's really mind-blowing. And they don't get much credit. It's weird, because they don't talk about this very much.

Lewis: Yeah, I think they tend to focus on the very visible features and form factor elements of the product. To give you an idea of what the performance numbers look like from generation to generation, the A10 chip is approximately 40% faster than the A9, which is what they used to power the 6s. The A10 chip is twice as fast as the A8, which powered the iPhone 6. You're definitely getting a pretty good performance boost there. That and the battery life are two of the really big elements that you might not notice right away just looking at the product, but once you start really using it, you'll start to feel it.

Dylan Lewis owns shares of Apple. Evan Niu, CFA owns shares of Apple. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Apple. The Motley Fool has the following options: long January 2018 $90 calls on Apple and short January 2018 $95 calls on Apple. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Stocks Mentioned

Apple Stock Quote
$148.11 (-1.96%) $-2.96

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning analyst team.

Stock Advisor Returns
S&P 500 Returns

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 11/27/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.