A12Z Bionic Chip in iPad Pro Allegedly a Renamed A12X With Extra GPU Core Enabled


macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001

Apple's new 2020 iPad Pro models are equipped with an A12Z Bionic processor that's remarkably similar to the A12X chip in the 2018 iPad Pro models, offering little in the way of performance improvements.

The A12Z does, however, feature an 8-core GPU while the A12X includes a 7-core GPU, which sets them apart, but new evidence shared by NotebookCheck suggests that the A12Z Bionic is simply a renamed A12X chip with a latent GPU core enabled.

According to NotebookCheck, teardown site TechInsights confirmed that the 2018 A12X chip physically has 8 GPU cores and not the 7 GPU cores that Apple includes in tech specs. One of the cores of the A12X is disabled.

The A12X and the A12Z appear to be the same physical chip on the surface, with the same number of physical CPU and GPU cores rather, suggesting the A12Z is not a new design. AnandTech has also speculated that the A12Z is a re-binned variant of the A12X.
There can be several speculative reasons as to why Apple chose to do this. It is not uncommon to see chip makers disabling physical cores and enabling them in higher SKUs. For instance, the NVIDIA Titan RTX has all 4,608 CUDA cores enabled while the RTX 2080 Ti offers only 4,352 cores despite both using the TU102 GPU.

The other likely explanation is that Apple's decision to disable one GPU core in the A12X could have been deliberate. Enabling the latent core in an interim refresh like the A12Z would save them from having to develop an A13X and instead, directly focus on the (5 nm?) A14X that is slated to debut with the 5G iPad Pro later this year.
In the future, TechInsights is planning to conduct a floorplan analysis to determine for certain whether there are any differences between the A12X and the A12Z in the new iPad Pro models.

NotebookCheck speculates that Apple is saving an updated chip design for future iPad Pro models, and there are indeed rumors of a second iPad Pro refresh this fall that could bring mini-LED displays and 5G connectivity.

Article Link: A12Z Bionic Chip in iPad Pro Allegedly a Renamed A12X With Extra GPU Core Enabled


macrumors 68000
Sep 26, 2014
Guess one can't complain too much, it is same price that the 2018 model was when it came out. Marginal upgrades. If you have a 2018 model, it is your own fault for upgrading if you feel disappointed and have buyer's remorse.
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macrumors 601
Aug 18, 2009
Upstate NY
Guess one can't complain too much, it is same price that the 2018 model was one it came out. Marginal upgrades. If you have a 2018 model, it is your own fault for upgrading if you feel disappointed and have buyers remorse.
Actually cheaper than last years. A 256GB LTE 11" was $1099 last year but $1049 this year. No buyers remorse here.


macrumors 68030
Jun 18, 2014
People complaining on here likely won't notice the difference in performance of a so called A13X/A14X chip and would most likely dump their iPad Pro long before they feel any slow downs due to software updates. SMH

It's more likely they improved yields to the point where all eight cores are functional when produced and therefore can enable it while the A12X likely had one core fail.


macrumors newbie
Mar 26, 2020
Not surprising considering there isn't any significant competition in this area (same reason why Intel phoned it in for a few years) and because the leaks right now point to a similar situation for this year's iPads as in 2012. A slight refresh in the spring, then a bigger overhaul later in the year.


macrumors 68000
Jan 13, 2008
Because there is a better CPU available?
No...because likely the poster was anticipating a faster/better chip that IS WORTH plunking down $1000 for a product that hasn't been refreshed in 2+ years. The chip could have had a very similar name AND had much better performance, faster MHz, more cores, or a combination of all 3. Instead, it's just 1 core that was magically enabled by Apple.

Regardless of how people can rationalize Apple's decision, this is a very shady step by Apple. This is a Pro unit which means most of the people evaluating an upgrade are going to look at the tech specs (and not to mention the hefty price tag). This marketing/advertising scam was caught very quickly and Apple should be ashamed and likely will have poor sales.

And someone said here that the "real excitement is the new keyboard in May." Seriously?! People wait 2+ years for an upgrade (on a "Pro" device no less) and a)there's essentially no hardware upgrade and b)I have to wait several more months after the launch for the "real excitement" which c)just turns out to be a bleeping keyboard that d)costs several hundred bucks?!



macrumors regular
Jun 14, 2018
I upgraded from a 2018 11” 256GB WiFI to a 2020 12.9” 1TB Cellular. I don’t have buyer’s remorse in the least, because I’m getting a larger screen, much needed more storage, LTE capability, not to mention LiDAR and a GPU bump.

As other people have mentioned, hardware isn’t the limiting factor. I doubt that there will be any app that I can’t run once the new A14x comes out. The A12x (and A12z) are more than capable to do all the multitasking and CPU intensive tasks I’d wish to do on an iPad for the foreseeable future.

There is no need to become fixated on specs. Either get the new iPad because you want it or need it, or don’t.


macrumors 6502a
Jul 16, 2008
There are certainly some new additions/changes to the 2020 model, but based on 2018 vs 2020 benchmarks, published in a previous MacRumors story, it's probably not a significant upgrade for most 2018 users.
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macrumors member
Feb 6, 2020
If in 2020 I pay the same price for the same technology compared to 2018, I'm actually paying more!

For example, in 2020 a pay half the price for a 50" 4K TV than the price I paid in 2010 for a 40" 1080p TV.

But the 2020 iPad Pro is not only CPU, it has 50% more RAM, 100% more basic storage, LIDAR, camera improvements, so it's a good upgrade.
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