Recent research by some analysts at a chip consulting firm, The Linley Group reveals that technology giant Apple has planned to incorporate its currently under development A6 chip into its upcoming tablet, ipad 3. Some analysts have also said that we might have to wait until 2012 to get the precise release date for the Apple ipad 3.
Kevin Krewell, a senior analyst at The Linley Group said that the ARM A6 is a major set-up in chip design. The A6 chip is based on a quad core ARM Cortex A9 processor. It not only contains four processor cores but will also make use of the 3D technology.
It is also reported that Apple will be switching from Samsung (who currently makes Apple’s A5 processor) to TSMC ( Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.) for the chip manufacturing and will be using the next-generation 28-nanometer technology.
Kevin believed that Apple’s A6 chip will enter into production in June 2012. He said:
“This pace would make the A6 one of the first 28nm mobile processors (along with Qualcomm’s MSM8960) to enter production.This schedule, however, breaks Apple’s annual processor-upgrade cycle and will delay any products using the A6 until at least June 2012.”
In case, if Apple keeps its schedule and launches its next generation ipad 3 in the first quarter of 2012, then the initial version of the ipad 3 will have to use the same A5 processor as the current ipad 2.
The A6 chip is expected to include quad-core offering from nVIDIA. Kevin said: “Fabricating Apple’s A6 in 28nm (instead of the 40nm process nVIDIA is using for its quad-core part) will reduce both die cost and power, yielding a much better product,”
He further mentioned that TSMC’s 3D technology for the A6 chip “could use 3D stacking to incorporate additional DRAM or flash memory, or to boost interconnect speed,”.
At last he warns about the risks of switching to TSMC:
“The foundry switch is not without risk…In the past, TSMC has had problems with new technology (for example, early 40nm yield problems and the nVIDIA ‘bump-crack’ issue) that would be unacceptable to a demanding customer like Apple.”
This new processor of course will be more powerful and will work with Apple’s “retina display” for the next generation iPad 3.