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The article is about motion coprocessors that are not to be confused with the Apple M series

The Apple M-series coprocessors are motion coprocessors used by Apple in their mobile devices. First released with the Apple M7 in 2013, their function is to collect sensor data from integrated accelerometers, gyroscopes and compasses and offload the collecting and processing of sensor data from the main central processing unit (CPU).[1] They were later integrated into the SoC, starting with the Apple A9 in 2015,[2] and eventually were no longer separately identified, starting with the Apple A12 in 2018.[3]

Usage

The Apple M-series coprocessors collect, process, and store sensor data even if the device is asleep, and applications can retrieve data when the device is powered up again. This reduces power draw of the device and saves battery life.[4] In addition to servicing the accelerometer, gyroscope, compass, and in M8 and later coprocessors, barometer, the M9 coprocessor can recognize Siri voice commands from the built in microphones of the device.[5]

The M-series motion coprocessors are accessible to applications through the Core Motion API introduced in iOS 7, so they do, for example, allow fitness apps that track physical activity and access data from the M processors without constantly engaging the main application processor. They enable applications to be aware of what type of movement the user is experiencing, such as driving, walking, running, or sleeping.[6][7][8] Another application could be the ability to do indoor tracking and mapping.[9] In iOS 10, the motion coprocessor is used to implement raise-to-wake functionality, reducing idle energy usage.

History

The first coprocessor of the series is the M7 (codename Oscar), which was introduced in September 2013 as part of the iPhone 5S.[10][1] Chipworks found that the M7 most likely is a NXP LPC1800 based microcontroller called LPC18A1. It uses an ARM Cortex-M3 core with a customised packaging and naming scheme indicating that it is for an Apple customized part.[11] The updated version M8 was introduced in September 2014 with the iPhone 6 and also processes data from the barometer that is included in the iPhone 6 and iPad Air 2.[12][13] iFixit has identified the M8 in the iPhone 6 to be an NXP device with a very similar name, the LPC18B1.[14][15]

The later coprocessors were embedded into the A-series SoCs. September 2015 brought the M9 motion coprocessor embedded within the A9 chip found in the iPhone 6S, iPhone 6S Plus,[2] first-generation iPhone SE[16] and within the A9X chip found in the first-generation iPad Pro.[17] The iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus,[18] second-generation iPad Pro feature the M10 motion coprocessor, embedded within the A10 Fusion and the A10X Fusion chips.[19] Apple included the M11 in the iPhone 8, 8 Plus and iPhone X, embedded within the A11 Bionic SoC.[20] Starting with the release of the A12 Bionic SoC in 2018, Apple stopped distinguishing the motion coprocessor from the rest of the SoC, and abandoned the corresponding M-series nomenclature.[3]

Releases

Coprocessor Processor Launched Discontinued iPhone iPad Other Ref
Apple M7
(LPC18A1)
Apple A7 September 20, 2013 March 21, 2017 iPhone 5S iPad Air
iPad mini 2
iPad mini 3
(none) [10][1]
Apple M8
(LPC18B1)
Apple A8 September 9, 2014 May 28, 2019 iPhone 6
iPhone 6 Plus
iPad Mini 4 iPod touch (6th generation) [14][15]
Apple A8X October 16, 2014 March 21, 2017 (none) iPad Air 2 (none) [13]
Apple M9 Apple A9 September 9, 2015 September 12, 2018 iPhone 6S
iPhone 6S Plus
iPhone SE (1st generation)
iPad (5th generation) [2][16]
Apple A9X June 5, 2017 (none) iPad Pro (1st generation) [17]
Apple M10 Apple A10 Fusion September 7, 2016 Present iPhone 7
iPhone 7 Plus
iPad (6th generation)

iPad (7th generation)

iPod touch (7th generation) [18]
Apple A10X Fusion June 16, 2017 April 20, 2021 (none) iPad Pro (2nd generation) Apple TV 4K (1st generation) [19]
Apple M11 Apple A11 Bionic September 12, 2017 April 15, 2020 iPhone 8
iPhone 8 Plus
iPhone X
(none) [20]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Sumra, Husain (2013-09-10). iPhone 5s Includes New 'M7' Motion Coprocessor for Health and Fitness Tracking. MacRumors. Retrieved on 2013-09-13.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Apple Introduces iPhone 6s & iPhone 6s Plus", Apple, 2016-09-09. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 iPhone XS - Technical Specifications (en-US).
  4. Lal Shimpi, Anand (2013-09-17). The iPhone 5s Review: M7 Motion Coprocessor. AnandTech. Retrieved on 2013-09-18.
  5. iPhone 6s - Technology. Apple (September 8, 2015).
  6. Martin, Mel (2013-09-12). The iPhone's M7 Motion coprocessor and Maps. TUAW. Retrieved on 2013-09-13.
  7. Colon, Alex (2013-09-12). Apple's M7 coprocessor might bring big improvements to its mapping abilities. GigaOM. Retrieved on 2013-09-13.
  8. Burns, Chris (2013-09-12). iPhone 5S Apple M7 coprocessor "knows" when you are sleeping. SlashGear. Retrieved on 2013-09-13.
  9. Gurman, Mark (2013-09-12). iPhone's M7 motion processor to integrate with Maps as Apple develops indoor mapping, public transit. 9to5Mac. Retrieved on 2013-09-13.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Estes, Adam Clark (2013-09-10). How Apple's M7 Chip Makes the iPhone 5S the Ultimate Tracking Device. Gizmodo. Retrieved on 2013-09-13.
  11. Inside the iPhone 5s. Chipworks (September 20, 2013). Retrieved on September 20, 2013.
  12. iPhone 6 - Technology.
  13. 13.0 13.1 iPad Air 2 - Performance.
  14. 14.0 14.1 "iPhone 6 Plus Teardown", iFixit. Retrieved on 2014-09-20. 
  15. 15.0 15.1 "iPhone 6 Teardown", iFixit. Retrieved on 2014-09-20. 
  16. 16.0 16.1 iPhone SE - Technical Specifications.
  17. 17.0 17.1 iPad Pro.
  18. 18.0 18.1 iPhone 7 - Technical Specifications (en-US).
  19. 19.0 19.1 iPad Pro - Technical Specifications (en-US).
  20. 20.0 20.1 iPhone X - Technical Specifications (en-US).

External links

Apple Silicon
A series : A4 | A5 · A5X | A6 · A6X | A7 | A8 · A8X | A9 · A9X | A10 · A10X | A11 | A12 · A12X · A12Z | A13 | A14 | A15
M series : M1 · M1 Pro · M1 Max · M1 Ultra | M2
Motion M series : M7 | M8 | M9 | M10 | M11
S series : S1 · S1P | S2 | S3 | S4 | S5 | S6 | S7
T series : T1 | T2
W / H series : W1 · H1 | W2 | W3
U series : U1
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