Apple A16 Bionic vs M2: 5 Key Differences, Specs, and Full Comparison

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Apple A16 Bionic vs M2: 5 Key Differences, Specs, and Full Comparison

Key Points

  • The Apple A16 Bionic and M2 have different use cases, with the A16 being intended for mobile devices and the M2 for laptops, desktops, and select iPad models.
  • The M2 has higher performance than the A16 Bionic, with more cores, higher maximum RAM support, and more GPU cores.
  • The A16 Bionic has better battery life compared to the M2, making it more suitable for smartphones.
  • The M2 supports two external displays, while the A16 Bionic has better support for external displays, although it is not commonly used for desktop replacement.
  • The A16 Bionic is manufactured using a more advanced 4nm process, while the M2 is manufactured using a 5nm process.

Which one really wins the CPU war between the Apple A16 Bionic vs. M2? You would be forgiven for thinking this is a silly comparison. The M2 actually shares a fair bit of DNA with the mobile chipsets found in the iPhone and lower-range iPad line.

Both are built for high performance, great battery life, and stunning thermals. However, one is better suited for handling tough workloads.

Do be forewarned, it is a bit like comparing apples to oranges (forgive the pun). These two CPUs have very different use cases. You would likely be using the M2 on a laptop or desktop. The A16 is in high-end Apple iPhones currently.

If you’d like to see how they stack up against each other, you’re in the right place. There are some very distinct differences between the two, as you’ll find during the course of this shootout.

Apple A16 Bionic vs. M2: Side-by-Side Comparison

Apple A16 BionicApple M2
Core Count68
Thread Count68
Maximum Displays Supported32
GPU Cores510
Maximum RAM Supported6GB24GB
Neural Engine Cores1616
Intended DeviceiPhone 14 Pro and newer mobile Apple devicesLaptops, desktops, and select iPad models

There are some very clear differences right away when looking at the A16 Bionic against the M2. This is thanks in part to the A16 being intended for mobile devices only, rather than being a more robust processor for laptops.

Apple A16 Bionic vs. M2: What’s the Difference?

apple a16 bionic vs. m2
The A16 Bionic features in the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max


©Ben Harding/Shutterstock.com

As previously stated, the A16 Bionic and M2 share a common ancestor. Both are based on the ARM architecture, but the M2 is the only one intended for serious workloads.

That isn’t to say you can’t coax some work out of your iPhone 14 Pro, but it would likely be a very cumbersome task. At any rate, the analysis conducted will be assuming both CPUs are on equal footing.


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11/26/2023 11:01 pm GMT

It may not come as a surprise to many, but the A16 Bionic is not built for top speeds. It is among the fastest processors available for mobile phones currently. Compared to proper processors utilized in laptops and desktops, it does leave something to be desired.

The M2 is Apple’s latest revision to the Silicon line of CPUs. It boasts high performance while maintaining stable and low thermals. Apple’s latest desktop and laptop processor has two additional cores over the A16 Bionic, for a total of eight compared to six.

The A16 only supports up to 6GB of RAM, compared to the 24GB maximum RAM for the M2 series of processors. Both devices do utilize unified memory, however, which should set them apart from other devices.

Apple’s M2 also has far more GPU cores, which makes it more suitable for gaming and intensive graphical processing tasks. You could likely coax a similar workload out of the A16 Bionic, but the software support just isn’t there for those sorts of tasks.

Battery Life

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The A16 Bionic’s primary aim is to give high performance while maintaining stellar battery life. Now, M2 users and M1 users alike will rave about the battery life of their laptops. The A16 Bionic does boast better battery life, which is one of the more important metrics for a smartphone.

The M2 is no slouch when it comes to battery life, especially if you’re just using it for word processing, writing emails, and browsing the web. When it comes down to longevity, however, you’ll find the M2’s battery runs out well before the A16 Bionic.

This should come as no surprise, after all, these are two different processors intended for very different goals. As such, the A16 having fewer cores and less overall power does translate to lower battery usage when you get down to it.

External Displays

The M2 sees an increase in supported external displays, with two being supported out of the box. Compared to the M1, which could only drive a single external display at 4K 60Hz, this is a welcome improvement.

With supported hardware, a Mac Mini, MacBook Air, or MacBook Pro can drive two additional external displays. This effectively allows the M2 to have three displays in full motion, with all three being at 4K resolution.

Oddly, the A16 Bionic has better support for external displays. While you’d be hard-pressed to find a reason to rig up six external monitors to your iPhone 14 Pro, it certainly can handle the workload if needed.

That said, the iPhone makes for a poor desktop replacement. Still, it is nice to know the iPhone 14 Pro and A16 Bionic have that capability built-in from the onset.

Use Cases

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These two processors have very different use cases. You will likely not be in an office working on your iPhone, though it does depend on your line of work. For most cases, the A16 Bionic will be in your iPhone, providing mobile connectivity where you need it.

The M2 is more at home doing desktop and laptop work, and it certainly does excel in this space. It might not have the modularity and expandability of Intel-based laptops and desktops, but it can readily reach them in terms of overall performance.

The M2 is also in mobile devices like select models of the iPad. You’ll find the processor in the iPad Air as well as the iPad Pro. These devices can effectively function as laptop replacements in a pinch, provided you have a limited workload.

The M2 is great in this form factor, and they are quite speedy when compared to the ninth and tenth generation of contemporary Apple iPad.

Manufacture Process

The manufacturing process for the A16 Bionic is actually far more advanced, with the transistors measuring in at 4nm. When compared to Intel processors of just a few years ago at 10nm, this is quite a substantial miniaturization at play.

The manufacturing process for the M2 is still on the 5nm transistor size. While the M2 does have more transistors per CPU, it will be interesting to see if the future M3 is able to capitalize on the advances made by the A16 Bionic chipset.

Apple A16 Bionic vs. M2: 6 Must-Know Facts

  1. The A16 Bionic is one of the most powerful phone CPUs on the market today.
  2. The A16 Bionic can drive up to six external displays.
  3. The A16 Bionic is only available in iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max.
  4. The Apple M2 is the second generation of Apple Silicon processors.
  5. The Apple M2 is around 15% to 25% faster than the previous M1, depending on the benchmarks used.
  6. The Apple M2 has worse battery life than the M1, but better overall performance.

Apple A16 Bionic vs. M2: Which One is Better? Which One Should You Choose?

There really isn’t a better or best when it comes down to the Apple A16 Bionic vs. M2. Instead, it really depends on what you’re looking for in a device. If you’re after a high-performance smartphone that can handle laptop and desktop tasks in a pinch, then the A16 Bionic might be a great choice.

If you’re a high-performance laptop or desktop with a low thermal footprint, then the M2 is the choice to make. You can even use some of your favorite apps natively, directly on the Silicon laptop or desktop. Universal apps really do show how much cross-pollination there is between these two platforms.

Make sure to try before you buy, you may find one of these devices is better suited for your needs than another.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the M2 available in mobile devices?

It isn’t readily available in a smartphone, but it is available in tablets like the iPad Air and iPad Pro.

Can I use the A16 Bionic as a desktop replacement?

You could, but it lacks the software support of the iPad and Mac line of computers to really benefit from the extra power on tap.

Is the M2 a good choice for a daily user?

Yes, if you’re after a laptop with great battery life, the MacBook Air with the M2 is a great choice.

Is the A16 Bionic the latest mobile chipset from Apple?

Yes, it is the chipset in use by the iPhone 14.

Is the A16 Bionic in a laptop?

No, it is only intended for mobile devices like the iPhone currently.

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