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Apple May Have Chosen the M1 for the iPad Air and Not the A16 Bionic Due to Supply Issues

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Apple made a sizable jump from using its A-series of chipsets on the iPad Air lineup to incorporating the M1 in the latest iteration, the same silicon that powers the iPad Pro, and a multitude of Mac products. Given the launch date of the newest tablet and the hardware it sports, one would contemplate why the company made the decision to switch. One reporter hints that it might be due to supply constraints.

M1 iPad Air Could Have Launched Much Later in the Year and Sport the A16 Bionic if Supply Issues Were Not a Problem

Assuming Apple was not facing supposed supply issues with the A16 Bionic, the M1 iPad Air could have launched in September, which is the same announcement period as its predecessor, the iPad Air 4, and featured a completely different chipset. Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman responded to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo’s tweet on Apple’s iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max exclusively arriving with the A16 Bionic. In contrast, the lower-end models will get the current-generation A15 Bionic.

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Gurman believes that the new iPad Air got the M1 because these chips were available in adequate supply. So far, the A16 Bionic, which is said to have completed its design and is soon to undergo mass production on TSMC’s 4nm node, may be available in limited quantities and at a higher price. The current situation looks to be so dire that Apple is rumored to be leaving out the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Max from obtaining its latest silicon, only reserving it for the ‘Pro’ models.

On the plus side, at least the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Max will receive the A15 Bionic with a 5-core GPU, the same part present in the current iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max. According to the latest rumor, Apple may re-brand this version of the A15 Bionic as the A15X Bionic. As for the latest iPad Air, Apple’s decision turned out to be a blessing in disguise because not only did it arrive earlier for customers, but it touts performance equivalent to the more expensive iPad Pro series.

Leaked benchmarks have shown that the M1 iPad Air does not feature a downclocked chip, delivering the same performance as the iPad Pro. Upon further investigation, it was found that this silicon is the higher-binned variant, featuring eight GPU cores instead of seven like on some Mac products. Even then, Apple did not raise the starting price, keeping it at $599 for the base model, which is the same price as its predecessor, all the while giving it a 5G upgrade. Sadly, the design, build materials, and display, remain the same.

Using an A16 Bionic for the iPad Air could have meant limited supplies for customers and may have forced Apple to raise prices to make up for the chip constraints and price hikes. The only drawback here is that the latest slate does not feature a 4nm SoC since the M1 is a 5nm part, but we think most people will ignore this little info, especially considering its affordability and the performance it brings to the table.

News Source: Mark Gurman

Products mentioned in this post

iPad Air
iPad Air
 
iPad Pro
iPad Pro
 

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