Bloomberg reported that the iPad 3 entered production and is tracking a March launch. The report also claimed the new iPad will feature a higher-resolution display, Retina probably, and a quad-core processor. It will also connect to LTE networks.
The company’s manufacturing partners in Asia started ramping up production of the iPad 3 this month and plan to reach full volumes by February, said one of the people, who asked not to be named because the details aren’t public. The tablet will use a quad-core chip, an enhancement that lets users jump more quickly between applications, two of the people said.
Speed increases are an expected part of Apple’s iOS device hardware upgrades, but what Apple has up their sleeves for speed enhancements is typically up for debate. The first-generation iPad clocked around 1GHz with the single core A4 processor, and —a year later—Apple bumped the iPad’s chip to dual-core-speed with the A5 processor. While not quite confirming that a quad-core processor will power Apple’s third-generation iPad, we have obtained evidence that suggests Apple is currently working on quad-core iOS devices.
Hidden deep inside the latest iOS 5.1 beta is updated processing-core management software that not only supports the dual-core processing enabled by the A5 iPhone and iPad chip, but also quad-core processing. The references to quad-core iPhone and iPad chips come by way of a hidden panel that describes cores that are supported by iOS device hardware. The updated core management software includes an option of “/cores/core.3,” and this represents a fourth available processing core… more details after the break:
iOS release history tells us that as a product in development moves even closer to release, it is assigned a proper codename. Not only an identifier like “3,1″ but a codename such as N94 (iPhone 4S) or K48 (original iPad). The next-generation Apple TV has reached that stage. Thanks to today’s beta release of iOS 5.1, we have on our hands the codename for this new Apple TV (3,1).
Anandtech has published some interesting findings based on their extensive Samsung Galaxy S II review. It’s the first smartphone to use the graphics processing unit based on the Mali-400 core from ARM Holdings, a fables chip maker from the UK. In fact, Samsung has engineered and manufactured its own system-on-a-chip solution for the handset.
They call it the Exynos 4210 and it combines a dual-core Cortex-A9 CPU core and the aforementioned Mali-400 GPU sporting four cores. The resulting performance, says Anandtech, is comparable to Texas Instruments OMAP 4 chip that incorporates Imagination Technologies’ PowerVR SGX540 GPU core. However, the quad-core 1.2GHz Exynos 4210 probably won’t hold a candle to iPhone 4S, which will likely carry the same dual-core processor-GPU combo as the iPad 2′s 1GHz A5 chip:
Samsung implemented a 4-core version of the Mali-400 in the 4210 and its resulting performance is staggering as you can see above. Although it’s still not as fast as the PowerVR SGX 543MP2 found in the iPad 2, it’s anywhere from 1.7 – 4x faster than anything that’s shipping in a smartphone today.
Interestingly, and per the GL Benchmark included below, the Exynos 4210 is more than twice as fast compared to the Galaxy Tab 10.1 that runs Nvidia’s Tegra 2 chip and nearly four times speedier than iPhone 4′s 800 MHz A4 chip that sports the PowerVT SGX535 GPU core. However, the 4210 falls short in the triangle throughput department, a big disadvantage over the iPad 2′s A5 processor that clocks nine times the graphics performance of the original iPad’s A4 chip.
Triangle throughput is important in graphics-intensive games and will become key in “future games that may scale along that vector rather than simply increasing pixel shader complexity”. The video of Anandtech’s Samsung Galaxy S II review is right after the break.
Update (Aug. 8th): Following our report, Apple has gone ahead and released it!. Interestingly, no Thunderbolt and RAM not upgradable?!
Apple is gearing up to launch a new addition to the iMac lineup later this month that appears to be geared towards education/volume customers. The new iMac has less power than the current line of all-in-one Apple desktop computers and also has less storage space. The computer packs a last generation 3.1 GHz dual-core processor (3.06 GHz rounded up), 2 GB of DDR3 RAM, 250 GB of hard drive storage space, and the AMD Radeon HD 6750M graphics processor with 256 MB of dedicated memory.
This lower-end iMac obviously has much less horsepower than the current iMac line and should be priced as such. For comparison, the entry level 21.5-inch iMac features a 2.5 GHz quad-core processor, 4 GB of RAM, a 500 GB hard drive, and the same AMD Radeon HD 6750M graphics processor but with double the dedicated memory at 512 MB. This entry level 21.5-inch iMac is priced at $1,199, so don’t be surprised to see this less-powerful machine with a sub-$1000 price tag. For reference, Apple’s last education-geared iMac was priced at $899. A similar (more RAM, worse graphics) refurbished model is currently priced at $929 (pictured below).
Apple is expected to silently release this new machine later this month. As always, thanks Mr. X.