The new iPhone is as fast as a MacBook

Apple CEO Tim Cook unveils the new iPhones.
Apple CEO Tim Cook unveils the new iPhones.
Image: AP Photo/Eric Risberg
We may earn a commission from links on this page.

Reviews are emerging for Apple’s new iPhone 6S and 6S Plus, which go on sale Sept. 25 in 11 countries. One common thread: The new phones are fast. In fact, they’re apparently as fast—or faster—than Apple’s newly designed MacBook laptop, which launched earlier this year.

Several testers have been running Geekbench, a tool designed to standardize speed tests across computer platforms, on the new iPhones’ Apple-designed A9 chips. Results suggest that the iPhone 6S performs about the same as the entry-level MacBook, and that the larger iPhone 6S Plus is even faster. Mashable, for example, reports a single-core score of 2,521 for the iPhone 6S Plus; the MacBook’s average is 2,295.

What does this say?

  • These phones are objectively fast. (And, to be fair, the new MacBook—which uses a new, low-power “Core M” chip from Intel—is pretty slow.) It’s endlessly impressive how powerful these pocket computers are today.
  • Real-world usage, of course, is a different story. How fast software feels—and how much you can accomplish in a certain amount of time—depends on several factors, including processor speed, graphics chips, screen size, app complexity, network speed, your ability to concentrate and multitask, and others.
  • Apple is getting really good at designing fast, power-efficient chips. It wouldn’t be surprising to see a MacBook running a non-Intel chip at some point, if Apple wanted to.
  • The iPad Pro could be a Geekbench monster. Apple’s huge new tablet, which includes an even faster chip called the A9X, will launch later this year.