The iPhone 14 Pro A16 Bionic faced an unprecedented snafu in the history of Apple, which led to the removal of ray tracing and other ambitious GPU generational leaps.

The iPhone 14 Pro A16 Bionic faced an unprecedented snafu in the history of Apple, which led to the removal of ray tracing and other ambitious GPU generational leaps.

The Apple iPhone 14 Pro A16 Bionic SoC uses a 5-core GPU, which is not too different from the one we previously saw with the A15 Bionic in the iPhone 13 Pro. The new 5-core A16 GPU comes with increased memory bandwidth thanks to LPDDR5 memory and is manufactured on TSMC’s 4nm process. However, Apple apparently had even bigger plans for the iPhone 14 Pro GPU that go beyond just improving bandwidth and efficiency.

According to a report from Information, Apple engineers originally planned a “generation leap” for the iPhone 14 Pro’s graphics processor. This included features such as support for hardware-accelerated ray tracing. ARM chips have already started offering this feature. For example, ARM’s Immortalis-G715 and Qualcomm’s Adreno 740 in Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 support native hardware-accelerated ray tracing.

However, Apple found a design flaw late in the development cycle that forced the Cupertino giant to go back to the A15 Bionic GPU design with minor changes. The prototypes apparently drew more power than expected in software simulations. That could have bad effects on battery life and temperature, according to sources with direct knowledge of the matter.

Information notes that such a snafu was “unprecedented” in the group’s history, as Apple generally secures significant profits gen-on-gen. As a result, Apple restructured its GPU team and moved some executives around, including removing important people who contributed to the company’s mobile SoC dominance.

The publication goes on to say that Apple’s SoC team has had to deal with losing talent to rival silicon companies, interpersonal disputes and lawsuits with chip startups in recent years.

In 2019, three Apple engineers moved to co-found Nuvia, which was bought by Qualcomm for $1.4 billion in 2021, much to ARM’s dismay. Earlier this year, Apple filed a lawsuit against Californian “stealth” startup Rivos Inc. for “stealing” 40 of his engineers, two of whom had gigabytes of confidential Apple SoC designs and trade secrets.

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