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New iPad 2 and Apple TV Pack Tweaked A5 Chip on 32nm

When the new iPad was launched last month, people barely even noticed that the price of the iPad 2 had been dropped by $100. After all, when there's a shiny new tablet to obsess over, why would anyone want to spend time looking at a product that's already over a year old, price drop or not? However, it seems the iPad 2 didn't go untouched when Apple brought out the iPad 3 and there was something new to be seen in the iPad 2.

According to Chipworks, the iPad 3's A5X processor was not the only new chip from Cupertino. Apparently, the new Apple TV and the iPad 2 also got an updated version of the A5. It may not have the quad-core graphics of the A5X but it is a dual-core chip, despite Apple's insistence that Apple TV runs on a single core processor.

"Sometimes, when we get inside technology, we find that things are not always what they are supposed to be," said the folks at Chipworks. "The new A5 processor die is not a single core processor, but contains a dual core processor.  Either Apple is only utilizing one core or they are binning parts."

Chipworks also discovered that the new generation of A5 processor is manufactured on a different process than the older generation of A5 chips. The older A5s were manufactured on Samsung's 45nm process while the chip now found in the new Apple TV and the $399 iPad 2 is manufactured on Sammy's 32nm process, which would improve performance and reduce power consumption.

Apple hasn't yet commented on the use of this new variation of the A5 chip and it's unlikely we'll hear anything from Cupertino on the subject, but it does introduce new questions when it comes to speculating about the chip and manufacturing process we'll see in the iPhone 5.

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