Originally Posted by yow!
I think that sums it up: can Apple be so far ahead of the industry, not just in design, concept etc, but even in designing the chips themselves? I gave some factors above supporting this; but their past performance is a guide: they had a new SoC for iPad 1, and a year later, another new SoC for iPad 2.
It would be a very pleasant shock if they delivered any sort of SoC with a 600 series GPU. It would very much put them way out in front of the competition. That would be six months silicon wise and probably a year software wise.
If they can't I'm not extremely worried as Apple should be able to tweak the A5 into something powerful enough to drive iPad 3.
Now, that's just two data points, and there could be other factors (e.g. maybe both chips were in the pipeline for years). Crucially, and the point, I haven't compared that with the industry - maybe everyone managed that too.
Well an A5 tweaked to do the iPad 3 i still a major new chip in my mind even if it is mostly a die shrink with a beefed up GPU. A5X sounds more like an iPhone chip than anything though.
The A15 seems a significant upgrade, at least doubling the performance without doubling power consumption. ARM know what they are doing. Can you expand on why you think that?
Mostly because Apple can get close to 4X improvements out of the Cortex A9 cores it is currently using. The can do that by adding two cores and doubling the clock rate. Demos of Cortex A9 cores running at 2GHz where made years ago. Notably this can be implemented without a lot of reworking of the system software. A15 is targeted more at the server market anyway.
by the time Apple needs a new core ARM might have a 64 bit implementation going. If Apple where to make a major change t the system architecture this would be a better path to follow.
I do agree that a CPU upgrade isn't crucial for the iPad (for this generation); but GPU absolutely is. This is true for the x4 pixels; but also in general.
I'm not sure if crucial is the word or not. I just don't think it is a big deal as they can get faster cores from a simple process shrink while enhancing the GPU. In effect the CPU improvements come for free with a faster GPU.
Agreed. And the "A5X", and dual-track rumour etc all support this. Plus, just a retina display is enough to wow everyone. I was musing that it might be workable if the risks could be self-contained within the SoC group (and it has the massive resources of Apple behind it) - but risks like "delays" can't be self-contained.
I suspect that just getting enough displays will be a major consideration for the iPad3 introduction. So I can sees where an A5X would be safe bet. Still it will be a very pleasant surprise to see a A6 class processor in the iPad.
Hey, it wasn't meant as an insult. I was speaking in sympathy with them - to modify an existing design, when there's a new architecture available that solves all the problems you're facing... that was be frustrating to me.
I just had this image of an Apple engineer sitting at a bar talking to somebody who is calling his processor half-hacked. I can see a stein of beer being poured over somebodies head because of that.
As a developer, I find that at some point, it's easier to start fresh than modify the existing design. Anyway, that's how I'd experience it - maybe they have a different attitude; and/or the technical issues are interesting in themselves and can inform and be used in the next architecture. Maybe I should keep my mouth shut instead of offending people
No keep talking, it is good to have reasoned conversation about something that will be here in about 6 days.
Wouldn't it be amazing if Apple was ahead of everybody in every aspect? I think it's possible but unlikely; but most of all, it's not needed for this generation of the iPad.
Not needed? Personally I will take all the improvement the can throw at the thing. Seriously the iPad impresses me almost daily but at times it is performance limited to say the least. So yeah more power is welcomed. More importantly I want the machine to have far more RAM. Given that this happens the iPad could effectively replace my MBP for almost all of my portable needs.
And think that's one of the secrets of Apple: they *have* the technical chops, but they only use them in service of a user outcome, instead of an end in themselves. That's tricky. Most companies seem go one way or the other (i.e. all technical; or all user outcome).
Apple has a long history of Engineering triumphs, they just are understated about celebrating those triumphs. Even though I don't like the machine, the iMac is a good example of an engineering success. Many don't see it that way but the whole series of iMacs where an impressive display of thinking with an open mind.