Though users were quite impressed with the custom A4 chip that Apple had introduced a year back, the technology is somewhat out-dated by now. There has been a constant buzz that all iDevices will now undergo a major upgradation with the launch of the dual-core A5 processor using multicore ARM CPU’s. It has been reported that it is highly possible that iOS devices like the iPad 2 and iPhone 5 and quite possibly the next iPod Touch will now be manufactured with a dual-core SGX543MP2 graphics chip and probably be combined with a dual core ARM Cortex-A9 main processor. It is most likely that the new graphics in the chip will pair two SGX543 cores which will be programmed to work as a singular unit.
This will be a decisive upgrade from the A4 processor’s single SGX535 GPU that Apple devices use now in their existing iOS hardware. The latest versions of the iPod touch and the Apple TV are rumoured to be scheduled for launch with the same upgrade in September. It is already known that the latest version of the iOS 4.3 beta SDK has drivers that are suitable for the new SGX543 GPU. Therefore it is but natural that it is meant to be the next GPU for the iPad. Indsutry leaks have more or less confirmed that the A4 custom silicon that was introduced with the original iPad will now see a successor in the A5. The upgraded version of the iPad is predicted to be out in April, while the new iPhone 5 is expected to be launched in June or July.
The SGX543 is capable of supporting a number of multi-cores settings ranging from two to sixteen. The adding of cores does not bring about any change in the driver software or any other application. Majority of the complex management of the data, pipeline and the thread will be managed by the hardware. This upgrade improves the graphical power by almost four times the current generation graphical power, in graphics and video functions, thereby enabling the possibility of the 2048 x 1536 display resolution that the next iPad is rumoured to be coming with. Since 1080p HDMI video output has become the default specification for most of the latest gadgets available in the market today, it is only natural that the same specification will be featured in devices like the Apple TV. The presence of dual graphic cores will facilitate their smooth functioning. This will also allow the user to get a genuine HD display through a dock.
It is expected that this A5 will be produced by Imagination Technologies — the same company who brought the A4 to life based on Apple’s in-house chip designs. A5 will retain the cast of A4 characters including Apple’s Intrinsity and PA Semi influences, while the production duties will be carried out by Samsung.
And if Apple actually pull this off, they still just somehow maintain the lead in the handheld market because other players are now aggressively trying to catch up. The handheld gaming indsutry in particular is saturated right now with rumors of Sony’s next generation handhled gaming device that will have features almost equivalent to the iPod Touch. Of course, with the large difference in how the iOS platform works and how Sony’s development process works, the large number of games and the out of the box, addicitive indie titles that make the iOS popular as a gaming console, will still continue to push Apple forward. Whilst Sony is trying to work on a platform that will give the writers the same on the fly experience that they get from the iTunes store, it is highly unlikely that Sony will change its developers policy to release an easily accssible SDK.