Photo Shows Possible iPad 3 CPU/GPU as 'A5X' System on Chip

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.

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    Why change it if it ain't broke :) In a way I do agree with Apple in terms of tweaking, after all the iPad price on launch day expected to stay the same as previous one. With minor improvements it's realistic to expect that. I am not Apple fan and don't currently own any of their goods however, I do admire them for implementing iOS across their products and the simplicity of use.
  • rangas
    more news at 11
  • billybobser
    *Assuming this is real for a second*

    I wonder why there is such coverage of what is only another iteration of a product, and breaks no ground at all and at best listens to it's consumers on the issues reported.

    I also sincerely doubt anything magical is going to happen hardware wise, when happen are hardly technological leaders for hardware.
  • Another Crapple article on PC world... why don't to let the Mac World suck the Crapple articles and their crap products..
  • neon871
    Qaud core? nope, Asus still ahead!
  • grantmcconnaughey
    A couple of thoughts:

    First off, as soon as you call Apple "Crapple" you immediately lose all credibility.

    Second off, I really don't see a need for Quad Core right now. If they would only be implementing it to say "look at us, we have quad core" then they definitely don't need it! Consumers don't give a damn about how many cores something has or GHz or any of that nonsense. Most of them don't even understand what that means. What they want is for the product to work great, run smoothly, and do what they want it to do. If Apple can up the graphics, keep a dual core processor, and it still runs completely smoothly, then what's the point of going quad core?

    Thirdly (is that a word?...), to suggest that Apple going "retina display" with this new iPad isn't going to be "anything magical...hardware wise" is also silly. What other company has anything anything with a display that is 2048 x 1536, especially on a screen that isn't even 10 inches big! If they do pull that off, then THAT, my friends, will be "magical."

    No matter what happens, it'll sure be fun to watch.

    -(From an Apple AND Windows AND Droid AND Blackberry fan, and overall technology lover.)
  • jn77
    wonder how hard it would be for someone that knows how to remove the 32gb memory chips on that board and replace them with 2 64gb memory chips....... that is still half of the 256gb I would want on an ipad 3 if I were to buy one.
  • bcpaul
    oh wow...oh wow...oh wow...
  • jaber2
    I don't see a reason why should Apple work so hard, reading reviews here and other sites the iPad 1 is still better than anything new out there, they have left everyone in dust for such a long time competition can only get ahead by copying everything Apple does, no wonder Apple is constantly sues everyone for stealing thier technology.
  • freggo
    THS ... Toms Hardware Speculation...