iPad mini’s new A15 Bionic chip isn’t as fast as iPhone 13’s

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2021 iPad mini
It's still a little beast, of course.
Photo: Apple

The 2021 iPad mini packs the same A15 Bionic chip that powers the new iPhone 13 lineup, but with one big difference. Early benchmarks reveal Apple reduced the clock speed of the A15 inside its newest compact tablet.

As a result, processor performance in benchmark tests doesn’t score quite as high.

Not all A15 chips are created equal. The version inside the iPad mini and iPhone 13 Pro, for instance, packs an additional GPU core (five versus four) that makes it considerably faster than standard iPhone 13 models in graphics tests.

It turns out there are differences in CPU speed, too. Despite having the same GPU as iPhone 13 Pro, the 2021 iPad mini has a slower processor clock speed of 2.9GHz (versus the 13 Pro’s 3.2GHz) that reduces performance by 2% to 8% in benchmark tests.

iPad mini has slower A15 chip

“In early Geekbench 5 results, the new iPad mini has average single-core and multi-core scores of around 1,595 and 4,540, compared to averages of around 1,730 and 4,660 for the iPhone 13 Pro,” reports MacRumors.

It’s not clear why Apple made iPad mini’s CPU slower. It obviously recognized that the device may be used for intensive tasks — that’s why it has the same beefier GPU as iPhone 13 Pro — and it’s not like battery life is an issue.

Whatever the case may be, 2021 iPad mini owners are unlikely to notice the speed reduction. It’s so small that in real-world cases — in other words, when not running benchmark tests — it’s not going to make a difference.

In fact, Apple’s processors have become so quick that it’s going to be difficult to notice a difference between the CPU in the A15 Bionic and last year’s A14 Bionic in everyday tasks. The faster GPU in the Pro models may be a more obvious upgrade.

2021 iPad mini on sale now

You can already preorder the 2021 iPad mini and the new ninth-generation iPad from the Apple Store online. Both devices are scheduled to make their debuts alongside iPhone 13 next Friday, September 24.