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Apple To Use Different CPUs For The iPhone 5 & The iPad 2?

One of the slides displayed by Steve Jobs at the iPad 2 launch event yesterday contained a very intriguing word that leads us to believe that Apple may well be planning more than one processor.

At 10:19 PST, Jobs presented a slide that shows the A5, mentioning "Dual-core processors". Now by definition, a processor can contain more than one core and unless the presentation contained a typo (very untypical from Apple), it could be an indication that Apple wants to have at least two A5 processors.

Just as a reminder, last year, Steve Jobs referred to the iPad processor as a 1GHz Apple A4 chip in the presentation that was held on the 27th of January 2010.

Our hunch is that Apple will indeed have more than one processor, a lower clocked version for the iPad 2 and a higher clocked version for the iPhone 5.

As we mentioned in our iPad 2 processor analysis on Sunday, the A5 that powers the iPad 2 is almost certainly based on the Cortex A9.

ARM (opens in new tab) published two versions of the hard macros; a power optimised one and a performance optimised one.

The first one corresponds exactly to the A5 in the iPad 2; the dual core A9 is exactly twice as fast as a single core A8 (4000 DMIPS vs 2000 DMIPS).

The second configuration is a 2GHz model which has a 4x increase in power consumption (1.9w vs 0.5w) for 2.5x increase in performance and speed.

Apple may chose to use the same chip in the iPhone 5 and the iPad 2 but have a more powerful system on chip on the Apple TV.

Désiré Athow
Désiré Athow

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.