#Chipgate: Has Apple Goofed Again?

Joshua Voth

The short answer to the question asked in this article’s title is a distinct “No,” and here’s why.  Earlier this month, the hashtag ‘chipgate’ blew up on Twitter after a Reddit user discovered some mischief under the pretty screens of the all-new Apple iPhone 6s and 6s Plus.  This new term is actually the second ‘gate’ scandal for Apple, the first being ‘bendgate’ after the iPhone 6 had been found to bend in user’s pockets. Although the new 6s and 6s Plus now no longer bend, a new issue has surfaced and has more people in a panic, mostly because it affects the performance of the phone — something that can’t be remedied by the user.  This troubling issue is over the fact that is has been discovered that there are two different A9 chips in the 6s and 6s Plus. 

With no solid reasoning apart from volume by demand, both Samsung and TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Ltd.) make these chips for Apple’s iPhone — yes you read that correctly, Samsung, a direct competitor of Apple, manufactures its new CPU. After all, Apple is not a manufacturing company.  The problem regarding these two chips is that they perform differently.

Using the application Geekbench, users have stress-tested these different CPUs to discover if either one affects battery-life and processing speed.  The performance difference between the TSMC and Samsung chips were almost nil, while the battery life of the iPhone containing the TSMC chip was twenty-percent better than the iPhone with the Samsung chip.  There is also a size difference between these two chips; the TSMC uses a 16 nanometer die and is 104.5 millimeters in length, while the Samsung chip uses a 14 nanometer die and is 96 millimeters in length. However, this doesn’t upset users quite as much.

 So how does this affect you, the iPhone owner? Well, coming full circle — it doesn’t.  The Geekbench stress-test is actually an egregiously inaccurate simulation of ‘real-world-use’ and produces results which fit a worst case scenario class of results.  The stress test puts the phone at 100% (or close) usage which is never achieved when used normally (ie. web browsing, emailing, or multi-tasking).  This means that the difference in battery life when performing in real-world cases is only around 2-3%, which will most likely go unnoticed by the user.  If you are concerned about that two percent, make sure you bring a lightning cable for charging.

Interested in knowing if you have either the Samsung or TSMC chip in your phone? Download and install a free application called Lirium. Happy Inspection!!