So which one will power the iPad 3?
Last week, photos got out that purported to show an Apple iPad 3 logic board with a SoC labeled 'A5X.' Up until this point, many had assumed the iPad 3 would pack an all-new A6 system on chip. This assumption was based on the fact that the original iPad was based on the A4, while the iPad 2 was based on the A5. However, last week's photos seemed to suggest that the newest iPad would feature a beefed up version of the A5 as opposed to an all new chip.
Though this may well be the case, the latest rumors say Apple is also working on the A6. 9to5Mac says it has found reference to both an A5X and what is presumably the A6 buried deep in iOS 5.1. Apple's A4 and A5 are referred to as S5L8930X and S5L8940X, respectively. Previous rumors have pointed to Apple code that refers to a chip called the S5L8945X. Based on this, it's assumed that the A6 will be the S5l8950X -- a full jump of 10 from the A5. The screenshot below shows reference to both a S5L8945X and a S5L8950X:
So, what does it mean? Well, as with most things Apple, we have no idea and probably won't until Cupertino holds an official launch. It's likely that Apple is developing the A6 for use in future products, however, it is also possible that the company plans to use it at the same time as the A5X. 9to5Mac suggests the dual-core A5X could be used in the as-yet-unconfirmed Apple-branded TV while the quad-core A6 could appear in the iPad 3. This seems more likely than, say, the A5X being used in a cheaper iPad while the A6 takes up residence in a full-price or luxury model.
Apple is rumored to be launching the iPad 3 next month. So far, the most prevalent launch date rumor seems to be March 7, which is Wednesday of next week. Stay tuned.