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Intel Reveals Two iPad 2 Secrets

Intel engineers have finally cracked the secret of what makes the Apple iPad 2 a successful product, despite the fact that it does not actually have the fastest hardware in the tablet world.

Techradar (opens in new tab) was shown a single core Intel Atom tablet from 2010 that delivers the same sort of user experience as the iPad 2 with some under-the-hood tweaks, which promises to make Intel-based tablets even better.

An Intel Team managed to come up with a recipe that puts responsiveness and smoothness at the top of the agenda rather than raw performance numbers.

Intel has found out that a good user experience requires a framerate of at least 60 frames per second rather than a lower 30 frames per second.

Doing so however requires some significant memory bandwidth requirements. This issue is made even more acute by the fact that Microsoft's OS has a pixel depth of 7-bytes, which means that each pixel on a screen is rewritten seven times, while that drops down to 4-bytes for iOS.

The other trick they have found is that the iPad has a reaction time of around 15ms, while in Windows OSes this normally hovers at around 200ms because the OS waits to see whether a second click is coming.

Intel engineers have managed to trick the OS and get access to Direct input libraries which in turn dramatically reduces the reaction time.

Crucially, Matt Dunford, World-wide Benchmarking Manager states: "there were some things in the OS that were limiting Atom from achieving its potential."

What could this mean? Well Intel will almost certainly implement those changes in Meego, its own operating system to improve user experience. Secondly, it will also actively encourage its partners to adopt these techniques to improved performance on Wintel tablets.

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 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.