A6 Chip Release Date Suggests No iPad 3 Until June 2012 [Report]



Rumors of Apple releasing an iPad 3 in early 2012, or even later this year, have been circulating recently, and now a new report suggests that Apple won’t be able to ship a new iPad based on the A6 processor until June of 2012.

The first generation iPad was built on the A4 processor, and then the iPad 2 got upgraded to the A5. It’s expected that Apple will include the A5 in the iPhone 5 this Fall, so sights have been set on the A6 chip for 2012.

If Apple wants to continue upgrading its hardware as usual with an A6 in the iPad 3, then we probably won’t see new iPad hardware until June of next year.

CNET reports this news from the Linley Group, a firm that tracks the mobile processor industry:

“Getting new processor technology out the door (remember, Apple is also in the chip design business) is a Herculean task for even seasoned chip manufacturers like Intel. It will certainly be no different for Apple, whose next chip, dubbed the “A6,” may not make an appearance in the iPad 3 until later in 2012, said The Linley Group, a chip consulting firm.”

The A6 is a huge improvement in mobile processing technology. It is comprised of 4 cores, while the A5 only has two. The 2012 chip will also use 3D transistors similar to Intel’s Ivy Bridge technology.

According to Linley, Apple will also switch to a chip manufacturer in Taiwan called TSMC. The A6 will consist of ‘next-generation 28-nanometer technology’. This tech will drastically improve battery life and cost efficiency.

In case you were wondering, Samsung currently manufactures the A5.

“A final version of the chip will enter production in 2Q12 ‘at the earliest’… We believe this timing makes sense,” said Linley analyst Kevin Krewell. We’ve heard this projected timeline for A6 availability before.

April is technically the beginning of Q2, so Apple could hold an announcement then and announce a ship date for the iPad 3 in June.

Industry reports have speculated that Apple could unveil an iPad ‘HD’ device next year with a higher resolution Retina Display, and there’s a possibility that Apple could rely on increased resolution and possible design changes to market the next iPad to consumers before the A6. However, it’s unlikely that Apple would launch a new iPad without a corresponding processor upgrade.

Does June 2012 sound like a good month for the next iPad to you? After all, the iPhone went more than 14 months between generations too.