Apple A6 Processor
It looks like everyone and their brother has gotten their hands on an iPad 3 part of some kind. MICGadget has done a great job of collecting all the purported leaked photographs, and they even added a few of their own iPad 3 shell snapshots. If real the images reveal that the iPad 3 will be a little thicker than the iPad 2, but it also features tapered edges that will possibly make it feel thinner. The second photo shows that the iPad 3 has a larger lens for its rumored improved camera.
An unnamed source also told MICGadget that the iPad 3 will feature volume buttons, a 9.7 inch 2048 × 1536 Retina display and a "possible" quad-core A6 processor. There have been conflicting reports about the iPad 3's chip. It's still unkown if it will be quad-core or only dual-core, but it will most likely be more powerful than its predecessor.
While most leaked iPad component photos come as no surprise, those looking forward to the next generation Apple tablet were thrown for a loop when the A5X was discovered. Until now, reports pointed to a quad-core A6 processor in the iPad 3. If the A5X actually ships inside the next iPad, what do we already know?
The jump from the A4 system on a chip (SOC) to the A5 SOC was noted by a jump in the processor codes used by Apple. The A4 was S5L8930X, while the A5 added 10 to this number: S5L8940X. The A5X label only jumps 5 digits to S5L8945X, implying the chip is a more modest improvement over its predecessor.
The rumor mill went into high gear after RepairLabs posted an image featuring the back housing for the next generation iPad. The alleged iPad 3 photo shows several changes when compared to the iPad 2. Here's RepairLabs conclusions after comparing the two devices (the iPad 2 is on the left, iPad 3 on the right):
A. You can see here that the mounts for the logic board are very different, which means the logic board shape will be different allowing for . . . .
B. More battery. The width of where the logic board sits on the iPad 2 appears much larger than that of the iPad 3. We have long heard that the iPad 3 was going to provide longer battery life, and this back housing seems to support that.
C. The camera is different. It is hard to make a judgment just by looking at the casing, but what we can expect is a different camera on the iPad 3 than what we had on the 2.
D. LCD will be different than what we have had before. Whether or not it will be the super screen we have seen reported will have to wait. But the different mounting does mean that the LCD has been redesigned at the very least.
An iPad 3 announcement is still weeks away, but there's no shortage of information on the next generation iOS device. The latest leaks from BGR confirm some important specifications we can expect to see in the iPad 3 hardware.
Screenshots have leaked to BGR of iBoot allegedly running on a prototype iPad 3. Thanks to this debug software, confirmation of several reports from the supply chain appear to be verified on the new hardware itself.
Apple is poised to release iOS devices with much faster quad-core processors later this year. The first device to feature the next generation A6 processor could be the iPad 3 this spring, however there are now rumors of an iPad 4 in the works for October 2012. Regardless, the A6 is the logical next step for Apple to take in their mobile devices.
The A4 was featured in the original iPad, and upgraded to the dual-core A5 chip in the iPad 2. According to research from 9to5 Mac the latest iOS 5.1 beta source code contains evidence that Apple is indeed working on a quad-core processor. Processing core management software has been adapted in iOS 5.1 to add "/cores/core.3" according to the report, which represents a fourth processing core.
The iPad 3 will sport a quad-core A6 processor manufactured by Samsung according to a report sourced from the Korea Times. Despite Apple and Samsung's public feud over patents and competing mobile devices, Apple will continue to rely on Samsung to deliver the next generation processor.
Industry sources claim Samsung has increased production of the Apple-designed A6 quad-core chip using advanced 28-nanometer technology at its manufacturing plant in Austin, Texas. Apple is one of Samsung's largest clients, and Apple relies on Samsung's proven track record.
Apple's next-generation A6 mobile processor is sure to pack some impressive specifications, however a new report indicates the chip may not ship with the iPad 3. The upgrade is expected to provide 30 percent more computing power with half the power consumption, all while running at a cooler temperature.
According to the International Business Times, analyst Chris Caso explains that manufacturing of the iPad 3 will begin in the last quarter of 2011, but the A6 processor is not ready for prime time. Apple debuted the current A5 dual-core processor in the iPad 2, and future iPhones are expected to make use of the technology.