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Rumor has iPad 3's A6 chip as faster dual-core, not quad

updated 07:10 pm EST, Wed February 8, 2012

iPad 3 may parallel Galaxy Tab in faster dual core

An incidental rumor floated next to talk of a purported iPad 3 case back has raised the possibility that Apple's expected A6 chip isn't quad-core. Citing unnamed sources, The Verge claimed that it would stay dual-core but have a "significantly more powerful" graphics core. Although not mentioned, it's presumed the clock speed, architecture, or both would be upgraded with the new chip.

The long-discussed 2048x1536 display would still be there, and the lack of a February launch was given incidental though not definitive support. Like suggested before, it would be about 1mm thicker, presumably to accommodate the extra backlighting and possible larger battery.

If true, the approach would show Apple and Samsung unintentionally pursuing the same strategy of a faster dual-core chip instead of stretching to go quad-core. Samsung's only publicly detailed 2012 mobile processor, the Exynos 5250, is still dual-core but runs at a much higher 2GHz and uses the new ARM Cortex-A15 architecture. The combination of the new processor and new graphics should let it drive a 2560x1600 display quickly without necessarily lowering battery life.

Apple using a comparable chip would keep it competitive and could still see it get an advantage, since it's widely presumed to be shipping the iPad 3 in March where Samsung has officially said the Exynos 5250 by itself won't be in production until the spring. The next iPad isn't likely to be threatened by those tablets that do opt for quad-core processors like NVIDIA's Tegra 3. Early benchmark tests have shown that even the iPad 2 currently matches or outperforms the quad-core ASUS Transformer Prime; a third-generation iPad 3 may be unambiguously faster.

The graphics are likely either a PowerVR SGX543MP4, a quad-core version of what the iPad 2 uses and the exact same video as in the PlayStation Vita, or else a next-generation core like the PowerVR 6 series.

By Electronista Staff


    Comment buried. Show
  1. Arne_Saknussemm

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Apr 2011


    Apple falling behind?

    your comments...

  1. global.philosopher

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Sep 2010


    Quad core are only for those that need bragging ri

    The only thing that matters is will it perform as expected and will it last long enough to be a true portable device.

  1. iphonerulez

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Nov 2008


    Prepare for the tech world

    pundits to be disappointed again. They all thought that Apple was going to unleash some quad-core A6 upon the masses and prove that four cores are much better than two. Now the pundits are going to feel let down because Apple didn't do exactly what the pundits expected Apple to do. After all, the Transformer Prime set the bar for every tablet in the industry to use a quad-core processor and now Apple will have fallen behind the tech-heads expectations. I guess Apple's only alternative will be to set new sales records with old technology like they did with the iPhone 4S, another well-known disappointment of the tech pundits.

  1. chas_m




    If it's significantly faster than the older version, who cares what's driving that? Processor or graphics -- wake up nerds, nobody but you cares about this c***. They just want to feel like it's very responsive, whatever they do with it. If it is demonstrably more "snappy" than the last one, that will be sufficient at least for a while.

    Tech heads who care if a processor is a percentage point or two faster than another processor = 0.001% of buying public.

    Percentage of public who cares about a seamless total OS and app experience = 99.999% of buying public.

    Comment buried. Show
  1. Arne_Saknussemm

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Apr 2011


    It seems Apple -

    Likes to keep things simple, thus the lack of more than 2 cores per processor.

    Is this why the Mac pro is dead?

  1. global.philosopher

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Sep 2010


    This reminds me of risc vs cisc

    Depsite risc chips being better at computational tasks cisc altiamtely won out becuase of the Wintel monopoly resulting in higher volume and lower costs because Intel were able to amrotise chip R&D and production. This did not mean cisc was was just cheaper but mroe complex and more prone to bugs.

  1. SockRolid

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Jan 2010


    You want simple? Here's simple.

    Dual core A6: iPad 3, iPhone 5, iPod touch
    Quad core A6: MacBook Air

    Pretty simple. And Apple does like to keep things simple.

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