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Monday, January 17, 2011

Apple iPad 2 - Rumours are Buzzing

In the last week we've gone from 0-60 in terms of the iPad 2 rumour mill. The consumer electrons show (CES) 2011 just finished off a couple of weeks ago, and all we saw were android phones and tablets. There were some awesome Tegra 2 based hardware (dual core A9 ARM CPU's with Nvidia graphics chips), and some impressive demo's of Androids new Honeycomb mobile OS, and RIM's new Playbook.

The only thing relating to the iPad 2 at CES were some early case designs from 3rd party manufacturers, that contained some interesting fake iPad 2 models that seemed to confirm a slimmer iPad with dual cameras, and a large speaker port (or possibly SD card slot?)

(iPad 2 model in a preliminary case shown at CES 2011, suggesting dual cameras are coming)

Now shortly after CES, the rumours about the iPad 2 are FLYING, and I have to say i'm really excited. Apple is known for underwhelming in the internal hardware specs department, but backing it up with a massive and robust application store (the app store), a rock solid and smooth interface with their iOS mobile operating system, and their top quality and very stylish hardware. Based on previous doings by Apple, I would have expected the iPad 2 to have a slight processor bump and the addition of a front facing camera in order to use their video chat program Facetime. These recent rumours are ONLY rumours, nothing has been or will be confirmed by Apple until it's official release, but things are looking REALLY good.

(A4 SOC from iPhone 4 / iPad)

Rumours first started coming in about Apple adding a Retina display to the iPad 2, but many people dismissed this based on the hardware that would be needed to run this. Image files found in a new version if iBooks that came with the developer release of iOS 4.3 suggested an increase in screen resolution on the upcoming iPad 2. A 'retina display' is just Apples marketing buzzword for a high resolution display with a high pixel density so that text and images appear very smooth and crisp (like the iPhone 4). When doing this, the easiest way is to just double the current resolution (as was done with the iPhone 4 from 320x480 to 640x960) so that developers can easily scale up existing applications and not have to completely re-write everything from scratch. Doubling the existing iPad resolution from 1024x768 resolution (at 132 ppi) to 2048x1536 (at 260 ppi) would quadruple the number of pixels on screen and make everything much more crisp and sharp. Also as you could imagine, this would drastically increase the demand on graphics processor (GPU), ram, and CPU. As I mentioned before, Apple isn't known for leading the industry in hardware specs, but rather of the software and design side, and so these rumours seemed dubious.

(iPhone 3GS left, iPhone 4 retina display on right)

Now, to back up the increased screen resolution, reports are coming in that the iPad 2 will sport a new dual core powerVR SGX543 GPU (two GPU cores, VS the single GPU core found in all current phones/tablets, and in the recently announced Tegra 2 tablets and phones). This will supposedly give approximately 4 times the graphics processing power, which conveniently could handle the 4 times increase in pixels on the new high resolution screen. Apple is also said to be including their own custom dual core CPU based on the A9 architecture, which most likely will contain 512 or 1 gigabyte of ram. On the CPU front we will most likely see two 1 gigahertz A9 cores, which would more than double the CPU performance of the iPad 2. Most competitors are including 1 gig of ram, so if Apple is going 'all out' on the CPU, GPU, and screen, they might just go for a gig of ram. This, coupled with the already lingering rumours of dual cameras for Facetime video chatting, the iPad 2 is really shaping up to be a killer.

(The original iPad)

To summarize the currently rumoured iPad 2 specs.

  • Dual core custom SOC based on A9 architecture, probably 1 ghz (two CPU cores each running at 1 ghz vs the single CPU core of the first generation iPad running at 1 ghz)
  • Dual core powerVR SGX543 GPU (two GPU cores)
  • Probably 512 megs - 1 gig of ram
  • Dual cameras
  • 10 inch 'Retina display' - double resolution and quadruple pixel screen at 2048x1536 (at 260 ppi)
  • Possibly upgraded speaker
  • Possible addition of a new port (possibly SD card slot and/or microUSB port)
  • Possible smaller and lighter case

In comparision, here are the specs for the RIM Playbook.

(RIM Playbook)

  • Dual core cortex-A9 architecture 1 ghz CPU
  • Signle core GPU (possibly Tegra 2 chipset)
  • 1 gig of ram
  • 3 megapixel front facing camera, 5 megapixel rear camera
  • 7-inch 1024x600 display
The Tegra 2 based tablets such as the Motorola Xoom will have similar specs to the Playbook, but with 10 inch screens like the iPad. So if the rumours are true, the iPad 2 will beat the competion in terms of specs, it will beat them in terms of fashion and design (as always), it will beat them in multimedia and applications (the app store trumps the android market), and depending on how Android Honeycomb turns out, could also beat them in terms of software. I just went from wanting an android honeycomb tablet to wanting the new iPad 2, very badly.

(Motorola Xoom - Android honeycomb based tablet)


  1. Shit will get official if this is true

  2. tl;dr...j/k...informative stuff brah,

  3. Thanks brah's. Gonna keep it updated with new stuff as it comes out.

  4. Nice blog man, checked it out! Thanks for the visits!