System Performance

System performance of the new iPhones should be again excellent given the hardware advancements on the part of the new A14 chip. Alongside iOS14, we should really see no problem with everyday tasks on the phone.

Unfortunately, our benchmark suite for iOS here is still relatively barren, and we have to mostly rely on web browser benchmarks – which isn’t all too much of an issue given that’s the heaviest and most demanding every-day workload for mobile devices.

Speedometer 2.0 - OS WebView

In Speedometer 2, the new A14 showcases a large performance boost of 30% for the new iPhone generation. This is likely both due to the clock frequency increase of the new CPUs as well as the fact that the new microarchitecture has in particular a larger amount of FP/SIMD resources available to itself.

Usually at this point we would point out that it’s an apples-to-oranges comparison to other devices in the chart, and that Apple’s Nitro JavaScript engine could simply be much superior to Google’s V8 engine, but the new release of the Apple Silicon Macs where we could finally compare Safari versus Chrome has shown very little performance discrepancy, meaning the performance here is actually due to the CPUs themselves.

Having that in mind, it means that Apple’s performance advantage over Android devices has grown even bigger this generation, with little hope for upcoming Cortex cores to catch up with such a gap.

JetStream 2 - OS Webview

JetStream 2 has heavier workloads and also make uses of WebAssembly, averaging out a smaller performance increase for the new A14 chip, but still showcasing class-leading performance amongst the competition.

WebXPRT 3 - OS WebView

WebXPRT is a browser workload that tries to mimic real-world interactions and workloads. The new iPhone 12s here actually show very little progress in terms of performance.

This small progress in WebXPRT is actually quite representative of my overall impression of responsiveness of the new iPhones: The A13 and iPhone 11 devices were already so performant and responsive that the actual speed limit for user interactions nowadays are just OS animations and just general SoC DVFS, the latter which Apple has already optimised to an ideal operation a few years back.

I would be lying if I were to say that I noticed that the new iPhone 12s are any faster than the iPhone 11 in everyday usage, but that’s simply because these are already are outstandingly fast devices.

The Apple A14 SoC: Firestorm & Icestorm GPU Performance & Power
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  • caribbeanblue - Friday, December 18, 2020 - link

    The 2GB extra RAM on the Pro models have shown in a lot of comparison videos I’ve watched on Youtube that they keep more apps open in the background than a standard Android phone with 12GB RAM. But I hope next year we’ll see 6GB in the normal and 8GB RAM in the Pro models, because I have problems keeping apps open in the background with the 4GB RAM in my 11 Pro Max as well.
  • Samus - Wednesday, December 2, 2020 - link

    I mean, it’s going in a case anyway, the edges and texture of a phone mean nothing if it’s in a case. Which frankly it should be these are like $1000 investments and everybody eventually drops their phone at some point. I’ve been lucky enough to have never broken one, probably because it’s always in a case and I’m not clumsy enough for it to fall on its screen.
  • crotach - Friday, December 4, 2020 - link

    I'm a tall person with massive hands and I prefer flat edged phones :)
  • cha0z_ - Monday, November 30, 2020 - link

    The key part here is "mini" - that form factor is totally ok for small phones, but hold the 12 pro max and you can clearly tell it's a lot less comfortable vs the 11 pro max.
  • austinsguitar - Monday, November 30, 2020 - link

    the edges are great at the regular and small sizes. just not okay for the huge phones your 4 foot tall girl friend has. you know.
  • rrinker - Monday, November 30, 2020 - link

    I've always preferred the square edges older models to the rounder newer ones myself. Seemed like I had better grip and the phone wasn't about to slip out of my hand.
  • RaLX - Monday, November 30, 2020 - link

    Exactly, I love the 12 edge, in fact I just went back to iPhones after years using Pixel and Nexus phones partly because I love the "new" old design of flat edges.
  • Devo2007 - Tuesday, December 1, 2020 - link

    That’s how I feel about my 12 Pro Max as well. Yes, it’s big, but the flat edges actually provide a better grip for me. I would actually feel comfortable not using a case at least at home with this phone, which I definitely wouldn’t say about the iPhone 11 Pro Max.
  • cha0z_ - Tuesday, December 1, 2020 - link

    I am using 11 pro max from over a year naked, never dropped it or had a feeling I don't have a good grip.
  • Cellar Door - Tuesday, December 1, 2020 - link

    That is a bit irrelevant - since basically no one uses high end phone with no case these days, unless you get a 10pack of them and don't care if you break one, once a month.

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