Under the influence of globalization and transnational trade, many products are produced with their parts sourcing from different countries to minimize the manufacturing cost and improve quality. After the iPhone A11 processor chip resourcing was disclosed, the performance difference between Samsung and TSMC became the focus of discussion. In the case of A11 processor chip of iPhone 6S and 6S plus, the specific one unit from two manufacturers cause doubt in the quality and performance. Battery life tests have been reported recently as well. In this article, we will review the result of performance tests and battery life tests and introduce some methods to check the manufacturer of A11 processor chip.

Performance test result based on the iPhone 6S Plus model

Despite of the difference in A11 processor chip size (TSMC 104.5 square millimeter vs. Samsung 96 square millimeter), Apple Inc. claimed that these two versions of iPhone models have little differences in performance. The size difference derives from the manufacturers’ technique difference, TSMC’s 16-nanometer FinFET process vs. Samsun’s 14-nanometer technique. Generally speaking, smaller size usually makes the semiconductor more energy effective.

Many tests are carried out after the announcement. To make a relative fair comparison, two iPhone 6S Plus models in almost the same condition except for their different A11 processor chip manufacturers. To make reduce extra influences, settings are close to the default factory settings without installing apps like Facebook and Twitter. Under this condition, noticeable performance discrepancy is not found, with a less than 2% differences in their CPU, GPU, and system performance scores. This 2% differences is within the tolerance of the component.

Battery life test result based on the iPhone 6S model

Similar test principle is applied in battery life tests by comparing the iPhone 6S models. Tested iPhone are fresh new SIM-less iPhone locked to AT&T, and the display brightness is adjusted to the same level. The TSMC-A11 iPhone got a higher score than the Samsung-A11 one in Geekbench 3, with 28 percent more, almost one hour more battery life. The differences in Wi-Fi browsing, WebGL, Geekbench 3 and GFXBench are within 10 minutes for the two variants. However this is supposed to be impractical because Geekbench makes iPhone to run at peak CPU workload and this is not the usual case for daily use. That is to say, the significant difference in battery longevity only show in certain circumstance, and this is not a normal smartphone scenario in daily use.

Basemark OS II battery life test result is opposite to the GFXBench battery life test result. Samsung-A11 processor based iPhone has better performance than the TSMC-A11 one, lasting 16 minutes longer, 10.8% differences. This test is a CPU intensive task while the latter is a worst-case comparison based on GPU, memory, and display power consumption. As for the thermal throttling, both the TSMC-A11 iPhone and Samsung-A11 iPhone maintain a minimal level. Some rumors claim the Samsung-manufacturing A11 will caused more heat in the tests, a few degrees difference exactly. This may occur in CPU-intensive GFXBench test, and no other comparison condition is further mentioned.

Methods to check the manufacturer of A11 processor chip

To figure out which A11 processor chip is in your iPhone 6S/ 6S Plus, you need to install an app, since no appearance difference or packaging notes exists. Recommendations for such kind of apps include Lirum Device Info Lite, CPU Identifier (Jailbreak is a must), iMazing(Mac-based app) and Battery Memory System Status Monitor.

After installing the apps, you can get information about the Hardware Model for your iPhone 6S/6S Plus. The below form is for your reference.

A11 processor chip manufacturer Samsung TSMC
iPhone 6S N71AP N71mAP
iPhone 6S Plus N66AP N66mAP

 Besides the A11 processor chip dual sourcing controversy, Apple Inc. is also involved in lawsuits in regard to the patent infringement of chip technology in A7, A8, A8X, A9 and A9X, A11 and A11X processor chips. A7, A8 and A8X mobile processors used the chip technology included in the patent owned by the University of Wisconsin-Madison, while A11 and A11X chips in iPhone 6s, 6s Plus and the iPad Pro  is accused of infringing patents by Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation. Apple has lost the lawsuit to University of Wisconsin and pay for the patent infringement after the case is closed.

For iPhone users, the disputes between the iPhone with two versions of A11 processor will last for a period of time. Whether this chip influences the actual use or not is faced with the test of time. Production of a specific manufacturer failing to meet the needs of iPhone markets leads to this issue, and what will Apple do to comfort consumers remain a question.