Tuesday, Sep 13, 2022, 16:13 Hardware

Apple Watch Series 8 & Ultra – Is The S8 Chip Really No More Than A Fresh Label?

Over the last few years, the development of the normal Apple Watch has progressed extremely slowly. The Apple Watch 4 (2018), including its significantly larger display, did represent a big step forwards – although the steps following thereafter in further iterations found themselves gradually decreasing in size, with changes limited to new sensors or adaptations made to the device's display. Of course, the room for innovation is pretty narrow in such a compact piece of equipment as a smartwatch, and so Apple isn't entirely to blame – besides, the product has been considered more or less completely matured for quite some time now. As recently discovered, Apple may even apply this consideration to the Apple Watch's "new" S8 chip – the processor/system chip housed inside the device.

The S8 An S7, The S7 An S6
A quick glance at the S8's identification number in the Apple Watch Series 8, or the Apple Watch Ultra, reveals an old number – "T8301". Last generation's S7 chip carried exactly the same abbreviation and even then, it was just a rebranding of the "S6" chip from the previous generation before it. This essentially means that Apple has used the same primary chip for all iterations of the Apple Watch since the Series 6, giving the chips only new names – without changing their performance. Since there are hardly any reasons to complain about performance problems on the watch as is, Apple likely hasn't seen it necessary to release any "real "new chip with each generation.

Which Is Why Apple Only Allows For Comparison With A5
If there were truly anything to criticize in this situation, it would simply be misleading labeling – as the increase in generational number does suggest an improved chip, exactly as is the case in the iPhone's A-processors. At the same time, there's also an explanation as to why Apple has always compared the performance of current S chips with that of the S5 chip within the Series 5 (2019). The last changes to occur were with the S6, which came with 20% more performance power than the S5.

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Identical Specs & Continued 7-nm Production
The specifications of the S6, S7, and S8 chips are all identical. All chips refer to the same 7-nm production processed system chip, with 32 GB of memory and 2 CPU cores. The chip's closest relative in the A-line is the A13 in the iPhone 11. The switch to a newer architecture with more performance is hardly necessary in the Apple Watch's case. However, the same cannot be said for production process, if the S-chips' production were to change to the 4 or 3-nm production processes, the chips would become substantially more efficient.

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