updated 03:40 pm EDT, Fri August 26, 2011
Analyst thinks iPad 3 may be stalled by A6 chip
Senior analyst Kevin Krewell of The Linley Group asserted in a research note that Apple's A6 processor would be relatively late. Citing a Taiwan Economic News article as part of his support, he believed the A6 wouldn't be in full production until spring at the earliest. To get it into a shipping product would mean the A6 not arriving until "at least" June, Krewell said.
He attributed the claimed delay to the complexity. A quad-core design will be commonplace next year, but the move to a 28 nanometer manufacturing process, a possible switch from Samsung to TSMC for production, and the possible use of 3D chip stacking technology could all lead to setbacks. The chip would be at least competent and could easily blow past NVIDIA, whose decision to use 40 nanometer manufacturing for Kal-El (Tegra 3) could hurt battery life, costs, and speed.
The claims are tentative and are being based partly on guesses that the "timing makes sense" from a newspaper whose claims aren't verifiable. TSMC is also already believed to be doing test production runs and isn't likely to be waiting several months to start mass production. Most competitors will have their own quad-core ARM chips out in force early next year.
Apple could further have an incentive to keep up its current trend towards shipping in early spring. Samsung, LG, and other primarily Android-based companies are all expected to at least show their next-generation tablets in the first two months of the year, if not ship them to stores.