Apple Insider has a juicy scoop from the same source who revealed the negotiations between Apple, Imagination Technologies and Samsung back in 2008 that ultimately led to the creation of the A4 CPU: Apple is reportedly building a new version of their A4 chip that will bring faster dual graphic cores to the iPhone 5 and iPad 2.
According to their source, Apple’s next custom A4 SoC will jump from the SGX535 graphics and video core used since the iPhone 3GS to a new SGX543 core, which offers twice the processing power at the same clock speed and also supports OpenCL, which would allow the device to offload general purpose computing tasks to the GPU for faster execution. Their source further expects Apple to use the dual-core configuration of the SGX543, quadrupling the capability of the A4’s previous graphic and video capability.
Apple Insider is saying that this all means a Retina Display in the iPad 2, but I’m not convinced, mostly because they are pairing their source’s information on the capabilities of the next chip with the weekend’s bogus assumption that the discovery of a doubled, iPad-specific iBooks icon means that a Retina Display is a lock for the iPad 2.
I’d love to be proven wrong, but it really does seem that 10.1-inch Retina Displays aren’t economically viable to put into a sub-$600 tablet right now. Just because the iPad 2 ships with hardware capable of powering a Retina Display doesn’t mean it’ll have one: the iPhone 3GS was technically capable of driving one, and yet Apple waited until the price of panels came down enough to put the Retina Display in the iPhone 4.