It looks like the iPad 3 will not be getting the brand new A6 chip we thought it would.
With February drawing to a close, the iPad 3 rumors are starting to get a little more interesting. Last week we had a repair shop cobble together some rumored parts only to discover they fit together perfectly. This week, we've got a photo of what purports to be an iPad 3 logic board.
The photo you see below comes by way of Chinese site WeiPhone, and is supposedly a photo of the iPad 3's logic board. Casting our salt aside for a moment and assuming this is genuine, this photo shows that the iPad 3 won't have that Apple A6 SoC we've been speculating about for the last couple of months. Nope, the iPad 3 will apparently be based on a chip called the A5X, which is presumably a jazzed up version of the A5 that currently powers the iPad 2. As you can see in the photo, the chip in question carries a date code of "1146." This means it was manufactured in week 46 of 2011 (mid-November).
So, we know when this was produced, but we don't know what about this SoC is different to the regular A5. Apple could have kept the same CPU but upped the graphics, for example, which would make sense considering the retina quality display the iPad 3 is rumored to have. Either way, with a launch date scheduled for some time in March, we don't have long to wait.
Though it's disappointing to learn the iPad 3 may not be getting a completely new SoC, it shouldn't really be all that surprising. First of all, this is Apple, a company that is known for tweaking existing products as opposed to releasing something completely new each year. You might also remember back at the beginning of February when leaked photos suggested the CPU powering the iPad 3 would carry the model number S5L8945X. Considering the iPad 1's single-core (A4 S5L8930X) and the dual-core A5 (S5L8940X) had a difference of 10 in their model numbers while the new CPU represents only a difference of five when compared to the A5, it sort of makes sense to hear this new chip might not be a full upgrade.
Other rumored specs for the iPad 3 are a retina display, support for 4G LTE, and an improved camera. The last we heard, the rumor mill had put the launch event on March 7, which is a Wednesday (typical of iPad events) and just two weeks away.