The 2020 iPad's A12Z Bionic might just be an A12X with an enabled GPU

2020 iPad Pro
2020 iPad Pro (Image credit: Apple)

What you need to know

  • A new report claims the A12Z is not any different than the A12X chip.
  • The only difference may be the enabling of a previously disabled GPU core.
  • Apple may be saving its A14X Bionic for a 5G iPad Pro.

A lot of questions have been surrounding the new A12Z Bionic processor powering the new 2020 iPad Pro. Specifically, many have been wondering what the difference is between the new chip and Apple's A12X Bionic which currently powers the previous generation of their high-end iPad. It turns out that there might not be much of a difference at all.

According to a new report by NotebookCheck, the difference discovered between the old and new processor is seemingly the enabling of a GPU core that was previously disabled. The outlet speculates that the company is developing a new A14X processor for a new iPad that could see its debut as early as the end of this year.

"The Apple A12X Bionic has eight physical GPU cores, but one of those cores is disabled. The disabled core is enabled in the new A12Z Bionic that powers the 2020 iPad Pro."

TechInsights seems to have confirmed NotebookCheck's suspicions, finding that the A12X Bionic chip in the older iPad Pro does in fact have eight physical cores, but that one appears to have been disabled.

"Yuzo Fukuzaki, one of TechInsights' Senior Technology Fellows, has confirmed that yes A12X physically has 8 GPU cores. As for the A12Z, we are planning to conduct floorplan analysis to confirm any differences from the A12X."

As to why Apple would have made the decision to disable one of the GPU cores in the older model iPad Pro to then enable it for the 2020 iPad Pro, we can currently only speculate. However, rumors of a new 5G iPad Pro coming out by the end of this year may shed some light on the strategy.

"While there could be several reasons for this decision, the most convincing explanation is that it would save Apple from having to develop a new A13X chip while a more powerful A14X is already in the pipeline for a late 2020 release."

Joe Wituschek

Joe Wituschek is a Contributor at iMore. With over ten years in the technology industry, one of them being at Apple, Joe now covers the company for the website. In addition to covering breaking news, Joe also writes editorials and reviews for a range of products. He fell in love with Apple products when he got an iPod nano for Christmas almost twenty years ago. Despite being considered a "heavy" user, he has always preferred the consumer-focused products like the MacBook Air, iPad mini, and iPhone 13 mini. He will fight to the death to keep a mini iPhone in the lineup. In his free time, Joe enjoys video games, movies, photography, running, and basically everything outdoors.