You can also see this in the reviews. Phones with the Snapdragon 778G processor are well received as is the Snapdragon 888. It’s with higher-end hardware like the S21FE compared to the A52s you get a much better camera and some other details with the former, but for the actual user experience you shouldn’t do that anymore .
But with Apple there is something else at play, something you can see well now in the M1, M2 and all their variants, which can also be seen with the A15. The chips were smarter, including the A12, which gave them performance gains. A bigger and heavier memory bus appeared, clocks went up, a smaller process, you name it. What they’ve been doing since the A14 > A15 onwards is just introducing more cores, more hardware, and bigger chips for each generation. The fact that the M2 is faster than the base M1 is mainly due to a slightly faster GPU and more hardware, not due to architectural improvements. The step to 3nm gives them a significant gain in terms of hours and power consumption, but other than that, there is very little to expect. So it seems that after all these years, Apple’s shelf of GPUs is gone. Their solution at the moment is to make the chip bigger and bigger, but that also makes it much more expensive and riskier to produce. A bigger slice also means a higher chance of something going wrong somewhere in between. Also for phones, their design is starting to cause issues in terms of heat. Throttling on the GPU has been an issue at Apple for a long time, but now, with the higher clocks on the A15, the CPU is starting to feel a bit of it too, meaning the phone scores well on very short benchmarks, but other than that? Just like Apple’s GPU scores well on short performance benchmarks, but if you focus on that benchmark 5x in a row, you sometimes lose up to 50% of performance.
So I would already expect that they would use older/cheaper soc in other machines to be able to use these failed production variants, or have to bake less expensive chips for their products. These large chips raise the cost of Apple significantly. Besides, the shelf is slightly off and this way it can last longer using the same machine. Of course the scorer is still pretty good at the moment, but you can see that Qualcomm and others are catching up quickly.
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