How powerful is the Apple Watch’s S1 processor?

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The S1 processor inside the Apple Watch is equivalent to an A5. Photo: Apple
The S1 processor inside the Apple Watch is equivalent to an A5. Photo: Apple

If you’re wondering roughly how powerful the Apple Watch’s S1 SoC processor is compared to other ARM chips, the answer appears to be that it’s roughly equivalent to an A5 chip, as seen on the iPhone 4S, iPad 2, first iPad mini, and the Apple TV, at least as far as graphics chutzpah is concerned.

That’s what iOS developer Steve Troughton-Smith pointed out today on Twitter, who says that it’s also running “most” of iOS 8.2, with a custom UI called Carousel instead of Springboard.

Note this doesn’t refer to processing power, which is probably underclocked compared to an A5, but only the core graphics chip. Even so, the S1 seems powerful.

Troughton-Smith then went on to discuss the GPU achitecture of the Apple Watch, based on his own experiments, which shows that the Disney Mickey Mouse watchface is unique amongst all the possible watchfaces:

Users on Twitter speculate that the name of that framework, NanoTimeKit, may carry over from the days of the iPod nano, which was the first device Apple tried to sell as a watch, and which actually inspired the Apple Watch effort.

From Apple’s perspective, of course, the Apple Watch doesn’t run on iOS. Of course, iOS isn’t considered a branch of OS X either, even though it’s built on the same kernel. All of Apple’s operating systems tend to share a little bit of DNA.

Source: Troughton-Smith on Twitter