updated 07:23 am EDT, Fri May 4, 2012
iPad 2 shifts 32nm process for A5 processor
Apple's cut-price iPad 2, which it continues to sell alongside its new iPad, has been given a boost with a shift to a new 32nm A5 processor from the original 45nm iteration. Although using fundamentally the same architecture, the die-shrunk version has been shown by Anandtech to draw less power offering significant improvements in battery life. The latest iPad 2's carrying the updated dual-core processor are designated by the model number 'iPad 2,4' and utilize Samsung's 32nm high-k + metal gate LP transistors, which helps to explain the performance differential.
During Anandtech's testing, it found that battery life of the updated iPad2 has improved by 15.8 percent over the 45nm A5 chip found in the older 'iPad 2,3.' Surprisingly when playing a GPU intensive game such as Infinity Blade 2, battery life improves by as much as 29 percent. Watching videos will also last 18 percent longer than before. The updated 1080p Apple TV also uses a new A5 processor using the same 32nm processor, although in that application, it appears as a unique single-core variant.
The switch to the new process is also considered a test run for Apple, giving it experience with the 32nm process as it is likely to use the new manufacturing process for its next iPhone. With the debut of the new Samsung Galaxy S III yesterday arriving with a quad-core processor using the new fabrication technique, it would seem that the odds have increased that Apple will move to a quad-core processor for the next iPhone as well.
If extra-long battery life is high on the agenda, it won't be easy to track down the updated iPad 2 models. They can only be identified by turning the device on, and are also said to be in short supply on the ground as Apple has only recently transitioned to the new processor.