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Apple's new A5X chip may be for iPad only, analysts say

Agam Shah | March 8, 2012
Apple delivered a performance breakthrough Wednesday with its new A5X processor for the iPad, but it's possible that this chip won't make its way into the next iPhone, analysts said.

Apple could take one of several approaches with the next iPhone, McCarron said, including using either the A5 or A5X design and having the chip made on the more power-efficient 28-nm process.

"For phones in particular ... there's a lot of incentive to use the latest process," he said.

Ahead of Wednesday's announcement, there was speculation that Apple might use a quad-core processor in its new tablet. But the decision to stick with a dual-core chip was a sound one, analysts said. There are questions about whether current software is ready to take advantage of four cores, and chip makers including Texas Instruments have stuck with dual-core ARM processors for now for that reason.

Most of the existing software for Apple devices wasn't designed for a four-core CPU, so going with a dual-core chip made sense, McCarron said. By comparison, graphics performance scales fairly well across more cores and is quite well-abstracted by operating systems.

 

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