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A WeiPhone forum member claims to have an image of a prototype iPad 3 logic board with an “A5X” system-on-a-chip (via MacRumors). Notably, an “A5x” processor would likely point to the third-generation iPad including an enhanced dual-core A5 processor, rather than a quad-core A6 chip. While multiple reliable reports pointed to a quad-core iPad 3, this would fall in line with a recent report that claimed the iPad 3 will not have a quad-core processor, but rather just a dual-core chip with improved graphics. Read on for more….

Closeup shot of the prototype iPad 3 components

This “A5x” chip, however, was produced in November 2011, according to MacRumors, so it’s very possible that Apple could have changed their iPad 3 processor plans within the past few months. It is also possible that the “A5x” chip was a processor that Apple simply toyed with or used in the iPad 3 prototyping stages. When Apple prototypes future products, they typically create several prototypes, all with differing components.

The original forum poster also makes a very compelling points about the Apple system-on-a-chip code naming. The poster says the original iPad’s A4 chip was called S5L8930X, the iPad 2’s A5 chip was called the S5L8940X, and now this A5X chip is labeled as S5L8945X (a codename first discovered by noted jail breaker MuscleNerd in an iPhone 4S dump). Notice the jump of 10 in the labeling on the A4 to A5, and notice the jump of only 5 on the A5 to “A5X.” The 5 would note a half-way upgrade, something that an A5X chip with improved graphics, but still dual-core processing, would be likely referred to as.

Either way, Apple is said to be introducing the new iPad in early March, and all signs are pointing to the new tablet having at least a Retina Display.

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