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iPad 3 to be powered by A5X chip?

Chinese tech website leaks image of iPad 3’s logic board; shows A5X processor

With less than 3 weeks left till the supposed iPad 3 revelation date, the rumors are rolling in hot and heavy. It's been widely speculated that the next iPad would feature an improved A5 processor, and the latest buzz indicates that the chip may be actually be known as the “A5X”.

According to the popular MacRumors, a post on a Chinese tech site offers photo evidence of the logic board for the new iPad. In the photo, an A5X chip is clearly seen, as well a date code of 1146 that indicates the chip was manufactured in the 46th week of 2011 (i.e. the week of November 14th-20th).

While this is the first we’ve heard of the “A5X”, it does corroborate what was unveiled by Boy Genius Report earlier this month. The publication had supposedly obtained images of the iPad 3’s debug tool, and the tablet’s processor was listed as an S5L8945X. At the time, it was a departure from Apple’s previous chip nomenclature, which is based on increments of 10; starting with the S5L8930X (A4) and the S5L8940X (A5). However, if Apple’s latest SoC is to be known as the A5X, then the numbering makes perfect sense for an intermediate chip.

Unfortunately, not much else is known about the actual specifications of the processor, with reports ranging from a more powerful dual-core processor to a quad-core offering. Of course, if Apple did intend to make the quad-core jump, then the A6 naming might have been more apt than the A5X. On the other hand, the leaked image could be nothing more than an elaborate Photoshop ruse and we’ll have to keep holding our breath till Apple’s official announcement.


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Omar Qudsi, 2012-02-20 (Update: 2012-05-26)