Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A5X processor, not A6, shown on leaked iPad 3 logic board image

While some have been expecting to see a quad-core system-on-a-chip (SoC) in the iPad 3, which most expect Apple to unveil at a still unannounced press event on March 3rd, there have also been some rumors indicating that Apple's latest tablet iteration would stick to a dual-core processor. That last rumor lends some measure of validity to this image, which purports to show an iPad 3 logic board with an embedded A5X SoC.

Expectations had been that the iPad 3's new processor would be called A6, considering that the original iPad shipped with the A4 SoC, and the iPad 2 shipped with the A5 SoC. If this photo is correct, that would mean the A6 will still be a quad-core processor, but that the iPad 3 will ship with a dual-core processor as rumored, the A5X.

The A5X chip, as shown in a forum post at the Chinese website WeiPhone, has a date code of "1146," which indicates that it was manufactured in the 46th week of 2011, or the week of November 14 - 20.

Reports were that of high-importance to Apple's latest iPad upgrade would be graphics performance, so it's possible that Apple chose to stick with a dual-core processor but enhance the graphics. The iPad 3 is expected to ship with a 2,048 x 1,536 resolution, double the number of pixels in both directions.

There are other details visible on the logic, board, including what appears to be a rectangular Apple-branded power management chip, corresponding to those found in prior iPad teardowns but with a higher part number, indicating an upgrade. Also seen are a pair of 16GB Hynix flash memory

In addition to an upgraded processor and a HD "retina display," the iPad 3 is expected to sport LTE support on both the Verizon and AT&T networks, and perhaps an upgrade 8MP rear-facing camera.

The form factor will be relatively unchanged, perhaps thicker (yes, about 1mm thicker, according to earlier reports) and maybe somewhat more tapered.

All will be revealed on March 7, at 10 a.m. PST, if everything holds are predicted.

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