Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 28th Jan 2010 20:21 UTC
Hardware, Embedded Systems And yet another item on the iPad? Are we serious? Yes, we are, since this one is about something that even geeks who aren't interested in the iPad itself should find intriguing. Steve Jobs said yesterday that the iPad is powered by an Apple A4 processor, but contrary to what many seem to think - it wasn't designed in-house at all.
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A couple inconsistencies
by Ravyne on Fri 29th Jan 2010 01:42 UTC
Ravyne
Member since:
2006-01-08

The truth right now is that we simply don't know, but there are a couple things that seem inconsistent with other information.

First, having an Cortex A9 MPCore doesn't at all mean that they've implimented dual cores -- it simply means that the IP core supports multi-processor configurations. Granted that a single process might spin multiple threads, but going whole-hog on another CPU core wouldn't benefit the majority of applications, and seeing as how Apple is so concious of their thick margins, I can't imagine them going for a dual-core processor in a single-task device.

Second, it would be odd for them to have gone for ARM's Mali GPU IP in light of the fact that they own a nearly 10% stake in Imagination Technologies -- who make the PowerVR series of Mobile GPUs used in the IPhone and other devices. PowerVR's tech is highly scalable as well, they offer IP that is 2, 4, 16 and 64 times as powerful as what's in the iPhone3GS, and the 4x offering would be essentially tailor-made to scale the 3GS prowess to the iPad's large display.

Its most likely that they had their PA-Semi folks optimize a liscenced A9MP Core for low-power operation (their specialty) and integrating any additional silicon needed. They're familiar enough with ARM given that that's where most of them came from before PA-Semi.

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