A photograph of what is believed to be an iPad 3 logic board with an unreleased Apple “A5X” processor has appeared within a forum post on Chinese site WeiPhone. If the component is genuine, it suggests Apple’s next tablet may not ship with that quad-core A6 processor after all.
With the dual-core A5 processor already baked into Apple’s iPad 2 and iPhone 4S, many believed the third-generation iPad would be the first device to ship with a quad-core A6 processor. However, the discovery of an “A5x” chip may indicate that the device will get a faster dual-core processor, possibly with improved graphics, instead.
9to5Mac points to the change in the processor’s code name:
The original forum poster also makes a very compelling points about the Apple system-on-a-chip code naming. The poster says the original iPad’s A4 chip was called S5L8930X, the iPad 2′s A5 chip was called the S5L8940X, and now this A5X chip is labeled as S5L8945X […]
Notice the jump of 10 in the labeling on the A4 to A5, and notice the jump of only 5 on the A5 to “A5X.” The 5 would note a half-way upgrade, something that an A5X chip with improved graphics, but still dual-core processing, would be likely referred to as.
A previous rumor claimed that the iPad 3 would not get a quad-core processor, but until now, it was quickly dismissed.
However, it’s plausible that this is simply a prototype processor that could indeed turn out to be the A6 chip come the iPad 3 announcement next month. That “A5X” moniker may be a placeholder that is designed to disguise the A6 in the event that it is leaked — just like this.
Either way, we can expect something better than the current A5 chip, which is already super speedy.