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Handhelds Power Upgrades Apple Hardware

Apple Quietly Updates iPad 2's Processor 127

bonch writes "Apple has quietly replaced the iPad 2's A5 with a smaller 32nm die that increases battery life by 15 to 30%. It's theorized that Apple is using the iPad 2 as a test bed for the new hardware platform, which shrinks the surface area of the A5 to 57% of the previous size."
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Apple Quietly Updates iPad 2's Processor

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  • 30%? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by artor3 ( 1344997 ) on Friday May 04, 2012 @07:19PM (#39897427)

    I find it very difficult to believe that a die shrink would improve battery life by that much. Given the amount of energy used by the screen and the radios, you could probably remove the CPU entirely and not see a 30% power reduction.

    Either they fixed some other issues, or else the power savings are being exaggerated. Did the old processor have an extremely high sleep current, perhaps?

  • Re:iPad 2.5 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zippthorne ( 748122 ) on Friday May 04, 2012 @08:33PM (#39897943) Journal

    More like feared...

    The smaller number of different models increases the liquidity of the used market, which is good for stabilizing prices, and also has an effect on depreciation. You can actually sell almost any 24 month old apple laptop for half what you paid for it. Can you do that with a dell? Or is your upgrade plan, "buy a new one and send us the old one and we won't charge you too much to recycle it."

  • Re:Or (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Gadget_Guy ( 627405 ) * on Friday May 04, 2012 @09:13PM (#39898149)

    They're further developing their A5 and ramping up production by introducing it first in an existing product.

    Exactly. My first thought was that they will replace the CPU in all of their product line, and the iPad 2 was the first one that had run out of stock and thus required a new batch to be made. So rather than any tactical move to introduce it in the iPad 2 first, it was just the luck of the draw; the first cab off the rank.

    It would make a more efficient production line if they didn't have to support 2 different die sizes of CPU. It is probably why they did this change quietly so that people didn't stop buying the existing stocks of the other models of iPad and iPhone while waiting for the new "version".

  • Re:Cooling (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jo_ham ( 604554 ) <joham999@ g m a> on Friday May 04, 2012 @09:51PM (#39898377)

    Apple just had a cooling issue with one of their products, and now they are shrinking the surface area of a product?

    A die shrink reduces thermal output, lowers voltages, increases battery life.

    Surely we went over all this with Ivy Bridge?

  • Re:brace yourselfs (Score:4, Insightful)

    by unixisc ( 2429386 ) on Saturday May 05, 2012 @02:05AM (#39899505)
    Already there - it's called the iPod Touch
  • Re:Or (Score:4, Insightful)

    by beelsebob ( 529313 ) on Saturday May 05, 2012 @02:33AM (#39899621)

    You mean your XOOM has lied about its battery life for longer? Don't get me wrong, but my "10 hour" iPad made it across the atlantic and back, with 3 days in between, reading all the way on both flights (11 hours each), and doing some other stuff with it in between. That's because the "10 hours" is 10 hours of browsing, with a reasonably bright screen brightness, with WiFi on. Put it in flight mode, and turn the brightness down to read in the dark and it lasts for ages. By comparison, I've yet to see another tablet (the XOOM included), which by "12 hour battery" doesn't mean "we once managed to sneak out 11:31 by turning the backlight off, wifi off, and leaving it idle".

  • by Qbertino ( 265505 ) <> on Saturday May 05, 2012 @04:53AM (#39900185)

    The sad part is neither is the Macbook. It's a bloody computer and an obsolete one at that.

    I still constantly hear and read this. I'd go as far and say ever since Jobs rejoined Apple and introduced OS X this isn't the case anymore.
    I'm a die hard nerd/geek with 13 years of Linux experience, and I love nothing more than a well-configured x86-Linux driven piece of hardware *and* ever since I stopped buying the most recent windows games - sometime back in 2001 or so - I allways go for the most bang for buck.

    Why then is it that I'm typing this on a MB Air?

    Quite frankly, because there is no alternative. It's Unix with most of the Bash & CLI toolstack preinstalled. It has a touchpad that for once isn't built by the techstandards of 1995 - i.e. doesn't suck like an industry-grade vacuum cleaner. It has a 64bit core 2 duo CPU and a battery life management built into the OS that was built by the exact same people that built the battery and the motherboard and everthing else inside it 1,3kg light aluminum enclosure.
    Ok, there are, as of now, Ultrabooks out there that don't come with MS tax and cost less with simular performance. But when I bought this one, after long and carefull consideration, there wasn't an alternative.
    A PC that doesn't even come close to the current cheapest Mac Mini in size, noise, ease of handling and performance costs upwards of 1000$ at least. The cheapest mac mini costs 600$. Even if I replace the HDD with an SSD it will still be no more expensive or even cheaper than a PC equivalent.

    A different example: I recently got myself an HTC Flyer tablet - also after long and carefull consideration. The upsides were: Cheap (bargain offer), precisely the right size and no Apple AppStore / X-Code ADC lock-in. And it was the only one that could compete with Apple quality wise. Actually, i I find the HTC Flyer to have a more pristine enclosure than the iPads.
    Yet again, I'm a computer expert and have very specific considerations to make when buying such a device.
    The newest iPad comes at 479 Euros and is at least a generation ahead of everything else in the tablet world - if I were a mere consumer that would be a very attractive prospect and anyone would be hard pressed to find a better offer price wise.

    Bottom line:
    Apple is loosing karma by the minute with a lot of experts, for the reasons we all know - but the legend that their hardware is overpriced is simply that: A legend. Within the spec-range they choose to deliver and cater to, they are, in fact, quite a good value. Denying that is just being silly.

    My 2 cents.

"Never face facts; if you do, you'll never get up in the morning." -- Marlo Thomas