Apple does not brag about it, but its Watch Series 8 recycles an old processor
The Apple Watch Series 8 relies on a SiP S8 which again only has the name. This chip is actually practically the same as the one used for the old Apple Watch Series 6 and 7.
You may have noticed that Apple did not take advantage of the announcement of its Apple Watch Series 8, Apple Watch Ultra and Apple Watch SE 2 to compare their performance to that of the 2021 models. And there is a very good reason for that: these three new tocantes are equipped with an SiP (System in Package) Apple S8… which isn’t much new.
Behind this new name is actually the same chip as that used in 2020 for the Apple Watch Series 6 (S6 processor) and in 2021 for the Apple Watch Series 7 (S7 processor). The name changes, of course, but the performance and specifications remain broadly the same. There is also 32 GB of flash memory and a CPU part dual core unchanged. The only novelties: the addition on the SiP of a new accelerometer and a new gyroscope which allow Apple to refine certain functionalities of the new Apple Watch… while justifying the change of name of their chip.
Technical stagnation in your new Apple Watch
In other words, for its various watches, Apple has been using almost the same SiP for two years. The information comes to us from MacRumors who was able to identify the reference of the CPU part integrated into the Apple S8 of the latest Apple Watch. This is the T8301 CPU, the same as on the SiP S6 and S7.
This S8 chip, which is no longer very fresh, is based on the same design as the A13 Bionic chip of the iPhone 11. It is also still engraved in 7 nm by TSMC. At present, however, Apple is massively exploiting the 5 nm process of the Taiwanese founder, and has been for almost a year. The firm is also preparing to use TSMC’s 3 nm engraving for its future M2 Pro, M2 Max and A17 Bionic SoCs. What give us an idea of the delay accumulated by the SiP S8 of the latest Apple Watch.
It remains to be seen why Apple is content with this stagnation for its new connected watches. The answer would be to look for the yields offered by 7 nm engraving, still offered by TSMC. Old, the latter allows mass production at a lower cost compared to 5 nm engraving or the first batches of 3 nm chips.
But if Apple seems to be satisfied with the performance offered by its S8 chip engraved in 7 nm, its watches could clearly benefit from more advanced engraving processes to take advantage of better energy efficiency… and therefore better autonomy. A project that Apple will perhaps tackle more seriously next year, with its next generation of SiP. Who knows, a switch to 3 nm may then be relevant.
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