With the announcement of the iPad 3 lurking in the shadows, the web has been buzzing with rumors and leaked parts as everyone tries to solve the puzzle of what the next iPad 3 will look like, and what new hardware it might have. Some have claimed the iPad 3 will sport a new quad-core A6 processor, while others claim it will merely get an improved A5 dual-core chip. It appears the confusion over which processor will actually be included in the iPad 3 stems from the fact that Apple is working on BOTH processors at the same time.
The newest information we have shows that Apple is working on BOTH an improved dual-core chip (possibly called the A5x) as well as a quad-core A6-processor. We saw photos of the A5X chip a few days ago, but have had little evidence of the existence of the A6 quad-core processor until now. Digging around in the new iOS 5.1 beta brought to light two references to processors that have yet to be released. iOS 5.1 beta includes references to two new chips, named S5L8945X and S5L8950X.
So what does that mean? Well, the original iPad used the A4 chip, which was called S5L8930X, and the iPad 2’s A5 chip was titled the S5L8940X. A revamped A5 chip would probably carry the name S5L8945X to denote that it’s not a full generation leap. This means that the A6 chip would be called the S5L8950X. Both of these chip names appeared in the latest beta build of iOS 5.1 at the same time without being seen before, so it appears Apple is working on both next generation chips at the same time.
The iPad 3 is expected to gain a Retina display while maintaining a design similar to that of the iPad 2, yet it’s not clear how much computing power a Retina display iPad 3 would need. The new screen is likely to consume more battery power, so perhaps Apple will use the A5X chip in the iPad 3 to keep energy demand low rather than jumping up to a quad-core processor that would necessitate more battery power and result in increased width of the device. On the other hand, Apple might be using an A5X chip for the next iteration of the Apple TV. Basically, no one can say for certain whether the A5X chip will apear in the iPad 3 or the iPhone 5 or both, or whether the A6 chip is coming to both, but the fact remains that Apple has got a couple of goodies baking in the oven and we can’t wait to see what they use them for.