iPad 3 Logic Board With “A5X” Processor Suggests We Won’t See Quad-Core A6 Chip Next Month [Image]

iPad 3 Logic Board With “A5X” Processor Suggests We Won’t See Quad-Core A6 Chip Next Month [Image]

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.

[via MacRumors]

  • ??nD ??os??A

    When developing a new product it is common to have several intermediate versions of a product. Maybe the A6 was not ready but they wanted to test other new components such as the wireless chips and new display. They used an A5X to get the first phase of testing done while the A6 was fab’d. It is not uncommon for a chip turn to take 2 months to get back, after verification. 
    But I still think, dollar for dollar, we would be better off with more RAM than more CPUs.

  • Tom Williams

    Although there are multiple versions of a product for development especially while testing. I firmly believe that we are going to see the same processing power with an enhanced GPU instead of CPU. The fact is there is still more power to get from the A5 chip, through architecture etc. Apple, has never been like the majority of the android hardware developers which throw scads of hardware and beef a device up to get mediocre or marginal results. I think the goal of iPad 3 will be to make the device as responsive or slightly more responsive with the new “Retina Display.” Doing this could be done by enhancing the GPU. If you only have maybe 6 inches of room for processing I doubt Apple will put a larger processor when that is not what needs to be done to resolve the issue. We don’t need more processing power all around! More memory and better GPU to support the already “confirmed” retina display that makes more sense. Better front and rear facing cameras also makes sense. A6 basically hardware that would be “cool” to have but not required for a great user experience I just don’t see being in the device.

  • Luis Dominguez

    I thought that it has already been said that it wasn’t going to be a quad core?  

  • Rmlgtp

    The problem with every apple rumor is that everyone dismisses the things that they do not want to believe are true. Look at what happened with the iPhone 4S. The ENTIRE phone was leaked well before the announcement, and everyone wrote it off as an early prototype because they believed deep down in the teardrop 4″ iPhone 5. Apple is very methodic, and when they find form factors that work, with hardware that gets the job done better than the competition, they don’t jump far into the future of technology because it leaves room for an upgrade next year. If the iPad 3 or 2S, or whatever the next upgrade may be called, is released with a quad core processor and LTE, they’re not guaranteed to have great new technology to put in the 2013 model. Apple has continually built computers, phones, and tablets with lower than average specs, but because they are built by apple with an operating system designed for the hardware, they exceed all expectations and blow away competition. As the most valuable company in the world, I think apple knows that even if there is only an upgraded dual core processor on the inside, people will be buying the new iPad for the logo on the back and the retina screen on the front. 

  • Terry Ng

    I think upgrade more for increased GPU and RAM to accommodate Retina Display — that increase in hardware serves a function rather than jujst for the sake of it…though in marketing terms, it is also right to say Apple would reserve A6 or quad core for 2013 and so on; but i think still improvement this time round still more for how it will enhance the overall user experience..

  • Mike Rathjen

    It needs both. It definitely needs more RAM, because it is practically crippled with the current amount.

    But it also needs more CPU/GPU to deal with the retina display. The retina display has more pixels than a 24″ Apple Cinema Display!

  • AdeptHavok

    I’d hope Apple would opt for a dual-core processor like the A5, or this A5X, over a quad-core variant. The A5 is powerful as it is. There’s no use for the mass amounts of processing power an A6 (quad-core)  would bring to a mobile device, especially when it comes to battery life, at least until there’s a use for the extra power and it’s refined for better power usage.  

    Hell, I’d be happy with an option to disable one of the cores in my iPad 2 or iPhone 4S’ A5 processor to give the device a bump in battery life. 

  • AdeptHavok

    I’d hope Apple would opt for a dual-core processor like the A5, or this A5X, over a quad-core variant. The A5 is powerful as it is. There’s no use for the mass amounts of processing power an A6 (quad-core)  would bring to a mobile device, especially when it comes to battery life, at least until there’s a use for the extra power and it’s refined for better power usage.  

    Hell, I’d be happy with an option to disable one of the cores in my iPad 2 or iPhone 4S’ A5 processor to give the device a bump in battery life. 

  • RameezRafeeq

    Wait…..First Apple removed the word ‘Mac’ from OS X Mountain Lion and now they add an ‘X’ to the A5 chip. The ETA of both the devices are almost same. Who knows they might unveil iPad 3 with OS X Mountain Lion.

About the author

Killian BellKillian Bell is a staff writer based in the U.K. He has an interest in all things tech and also covers Android over at CultofAndroid.com. You can follow him on Twitter via @killianbell.

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