It is fairly obvious, if you stop and think for a moment, that Apple will have an update to the Apple A4 ready for future iPad and iPhone 4. One of the main reasons they need to do this is that as they increase screen size on these devices with Retina Display, they need more powerful GPUs to fill those beautiful screens with pixels. The current GPU in the iPad and iPhone 4 are just about at full stretch running their graphics. And although the CPUs in Apple’s iDevices keep getting faster, the GPU they employ has stood still since the iPhone 3G.
DigiTimes are reporting today that Apple have an ARM Cortex-A9 based SoC for the next iPad. It gets a bit confusing with all the chips having ‘A’ designations. But the Apple A4 has an ARM A8 in it. So the ARM A9 is the next logical progression for Apple’s A5 SoC. SoC simply refers to the fact that the chip is a “System on a Chip”, and includes a GPU as well as other electronics to glue the CPU, I/O and GPU together. The GPU I suspect Apple will squeeze into the Apple A5 is a lot closer to what we have in our desktop machines today. It may even support full desktop OpenGL 3.x, not just OpenGL ES.
Another thing that Apple absolutely must do with the iPad is bring its RAM into parity with the iPhone 4, at 512MB. DigiTimes also confirm this for the next version of the iPad. Although I suspect we may just see a revision to the current iPad and a simple bump to 512MB RAM before we see any totally new devices with new silicon.
The really interesting news from DigiTimes, if true, is that Apple are not only going to revamp the existing iPad, but launch a 7 inch iPad with the same resolution as its 9.7 inch older brother.
Would you buy a 7″ iPad. Or is that too close to an iPhone in dimensions to interest you? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.