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Apple A6 could be facing production delays

Manufacturing challenges could be a factor in the possible delay of the iPad 3

We reported last week on a possible iPad 3 delay due in part by the tight supply of LCD panels. Now, we can add production challenges of the Apple A6 system-on-chip (SoC) as a culprit, too.

The chip consulting firm Linley Group is claiming that the next generation iPad will not make it to store shelves until at least June 2012 due to production complications regarding its A6 processor. This rumored 28nm chipset is reportedly in its testing phase and will supposedly sport four cores with a 3D architecture, a technology that CNet notes is distinct from Intel’s Tri-Gate technology for the next generation of Atoms. The 3D build could allow chipmakers to incorporate more DRAM, flash memory and bandwidth, noted analyst Kevin Krewell from Lindley Group.

In addition to its unique design, Apple will reportedly be switching chip manufacturers as well, from Samsung to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC). The switch is expected to be another hurdle in production timing. We can’t say we’re surprised given the recent legal feuds between Apple and Samsung.

If Apple does decide to launch the iPad 3 earlier, however, they may have to stick with the current A5 chip found in the iPad 2 and risk falling behind from upcoming quad-core tablet CPUs such as the Nvidia Kal-El. Apple would be "relying on the rumored new high-resolution 'Retina' display to drive the upgrade cycle," said Krewell.


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Allen Ngo, 2011-08-28 (Update: 2012-05-26)