Apple iPad to include a scaled down single core ARM Cortex A8 SoC?

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Ars Technica has broken the silence on the Apple iPad processor and published new information on the mysterious A4 chipset that powers Apple’s upcoming tablet device. Erroneously thought to be powered by a dual-core Cortex A9 processor, Ars has inside information that suggests the A4 is a single core Cortex A8 based system on a chip, instead. The A4 is also reportedly a scaled down SoC that strips out excess controllers and connectivity options that are often included on other off the shelf SoCs which are designed to be compatible with a wide variety of mobile devices. Apple potentially only had the iPad in mind when developing this chip and incorporated the bare minimum components necessary to power and control the device including a PowerVR SGX GPU, Cortex A8 CPU, NAND and DDR memory interface block, system and security hardware, and a limited number of I/O controllers. A scaled down single-core Cortex A8 SoC does not necessarily mean it’s wimpy, but it may be enough of a letdown to persuade some potential early adopters into waiting for the 2nd generation iPad before coughing up their hard earned cash. Then again, with a $499 price point for the entry model, we’re not sure.

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