Earlier this year Apple updated the Apple TV with new internals. There was no press release and no public statement of any kind, just a slightly updated model trickling its way into inventory. Well, MacRumors got their hands on one, took it apart and found what looks to be an even smaller version of the Apple A5 system-on-a-chip. Eric Slivka reports:
Samsung has reportedly raised the prices they charge for manufacturing chipsets like the iPhone 5's Apple A6 by a whopping 20%. While no reason for the increase was given, Apple’s increased demand for processors, as many as 200 million chips this year, up from 130 million last year, could be a factor. Whatever the case may be, Apple seems to have little choice but to agree to the price hike, having no viable alternative suppliers at this point.
The iPad 4 has an Apple A6X system-on-a-chip (SoC) is marketed as twice as fast, both in central and graphics processing, as the iPad 3 released only 7 short months ago. Apple's custom, manually-set ARM v7s processor -- called Swift -- remains the 32nm CMOS dual-core beast found in the iPhone 5, but it's been cranked up to 1.4 GHz. The X in the iPad 4's A6X once again represents a quad-core graphics processor, this time the PowerVR SGX554MP4. On spec, that's some serious fire-power.
The iPad mini, by contrast, has the same die-shrunk Apple A5 SoC found in the iPad 2. That's a 1GHz dual-core ARM Cortex A9 and PowerVR dual-core SGX543MP2. But the iPad mini also has the same 1024x768 display as the iPad 2. It's smaller but denser, going from 9.7-inches to 7.9 inches, and 132 ppi to 163 ppi, but it's the raw pixel count here that makes the difference.
Retina comes at a price, and that price is performance for the first generation devices that have to support it. The iPad 3, iPhone 4, the iPod touch 4, even the Retina MacBook Pros were and are maxed out trying to push all those pixels. Once that's done, though, once the price has been paid, however, performance improvements go back to where they belong -- making things feel faster.
So, even with the older, less powerful Apple A5, the iPad mini should fly. But will the new A6X help the iPad 4 do likewise?
As part of his D10 Conference interview last night, Apple CEO Tim Cook used the occasion to once again respond to critics of Apple's China policies and remind them key parts of the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad are in fact made in the U.S.A -- including the Corning Gorilla Glass screens and the Apple A4, Apple A5, and Apple A5X chipset "brains".
It turns out that Apple's Siri voice assistant is enabled by special noise reduction hardware called earSmart, wired right into the Apple A5 processor. The technology is made by Audience, which has an earSmart-less chip in the iPhone 4. The difference is, the iPhone 4 chip was designed to reduce noise when speaking directly into the microphone (like when you're on a phone call), while the chip in the iPhone 4S is designed for a wider field of sound, so you could talk to your phone at arm's-length (as one tends to with Siri) and still benefit from noise cancellation. The bundling of earSmart with the processor explains why the A5 chip was so much bigger than expected, even after taking into account the second core. It also means that, if you're still desperately clinging to the hope that Apple will someday update the iPhone 4 with Siri functionality, now's the time to let go.
With the last update regarding the yet to be released iPhone 4S and iPad 2 jailbreak coming to us from pod2g, we learned that a “dream team” had been assembled to help tackle a sandboxing issue in the Apple A5, now the latest information is brought to everyone via Planetbeing where he took to Twitter to note:
Notorious iPhone hacker pod2g has updated the community letting everyone know a jailbreak "dream team" has been assembled to help tackle a sandboxing issue in the Apple A5, a vital part of the exploitation process necessary for an iPhone 4S and iPad 2 jailbreak.
Apple has historically outsourced their A5 chip production to Asian manufacturing plants, however this has recently changed with a move away from offshore production lines and into the great state of Texas.
The A5 processor - the brain in the iPhone 4S and iPad 2 - is now made in a sprawling 1.6 million square feet factory in Austin owned by Korean electronics giant Samsung Electronics, according to people familiar with the operation.