by Anton Shilov
07/31/2013 | 11:51 PM
The trend towards retina-class displays for virtually all Apple products is more than obvious with availability of iPad, iPhone and Mac Pro products with such monitors. However, it appears that Apple is working on an iPad mini that will not take advantage of a new screen, but will only enjoy a new application processor, according to a report.
A reference inside the Apple iOS 7 SDK [software development kit] release by a program designer and published by 9to5Mac web-site indicates that Apple is testing three new iPad mini models: iPad “2,8”, iPad “2,9” and iPad “2,10”, code-named J75, J76, and J77, respectively. The J77 is a Wi-Fi only model, whereas the latter two are projected to be compatible with various 3G and 4G/LTE technologies. Current Apple iPad mini tablets are called iPad “2,5”, “2,6” and “2,7”. There are also rumours about Apple iPad mini code-named J85, but so far no one has reported that the iOS 7 supports such a products.
The upcoming iPad mini code-named J75 features the application processor marked as the s518950x, which commercial name is Apple A6 (two ARMv7 Apple Swift general-purpose cores operating at 1.30GHz, PowerVR SGX 543MP graphics engine with three clusters, 1MB L2 cache, 1GB of LPDDDR2 1066MHz RAM working in dual-channel mode) and which powers Apple iPhone 5 smartphone. The third-generation and fourth-generation iPads with retina-class displays feature A5X and A6X system-on-chips with four-cluster PowerVR SGX543MP4 and four-cluster PowerVR SGX 554MP4 graphics engines, respectively, as well as quad-channel memory sub-systems. It looks like triple-cluster graphics engines with dual-channel memory sub-systems were not designed for ultra-high resolutions.
The SDK further indicates that that the new iPad mini code-named J75 does not feature “@2x” hooks for images designed for retina-class screens, which proves that second-generation iPad mini will not feature 7.9” displays with 2048*1536 resolution.
While the screen resolution of the iPad mini code-named J75 will remain 1024*768, Apple will install a new microprocessor into it, which should offer massive performance gains in all applications compared to the outdated Apple A5 that powers the current mini tablets.
Theoretically, Apple may be developing two generations of Apple iPad mini at the same time: one will be J75/J76/J77, which will feature fast processor and old displays; another is J85/J86/J87, which will feature new SoC and new reting-class display.
Feeling the need to offer cost-efficient tablets, Apple may position the new iPad mini to serve at below $329 price-points. Back in the past, Apple re-launched iPad 2 in a bid to address cost-conscious buyers and even installed new versions of A5 chips into them. At the same time, Apple may be designing all-new iPad minis with new SoCs and retina screens.
Apple did not comment on the news-story.