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  (Source: MacRumors.com)
New custom A4 will double graphics processing at the same clock speed

While there has been some speculation about Apple's "Retina" display for the iPad 2, there have been few details regarding the tablet's resolution -- until now

MacRumors suggests that simply doubling the iPad's current resolution (1024x768) to 2048x1536 at a 260 DPI would result in a display that, while not exactly "Retina", would be easier for developers to adapt to. Apple doubled its resolution on the iPhone when it introduced the iPhone 4 for this very reason, with older apps running pixel-doubled.

This approach is looking more likely, considering version 1.1 of Apple's iBooks app accidentally included artwork for a pixel-doubled iPad. The bookmark icon included art for the iPad, iPhone, iPhonex2, and iPadx2. The x2 versions are exactly double the resolution of the original versions. The graphics have been removed in subsequent versions of the app.

While this isn't, by any means, confirmation that the iPad 2 will be double the resolution of its predecessor, it certainly is evidence that it may be likely. 

But a doubling of resolution also requires some additional graphics processing power. AppleInsider reports that this will come in the form of the a new custom A4 chip, jumping from from the SGX535 to the new SGX543 graphics and video core, reportedly doubling the processing power at the same clock speed. The new core also supports OpenCL. 

The new A4 also includes acceleration for video encoding and decoding, meaning improved video-conferencing via the FaceTime app. It could also mean HDMI support -- already on Apple TV -- for the iPad and iPhone.

An AI source, described as "familiar with Apple's graphics strategy," said the company would most likely be going to multiple cores, as well. According to the source, "The most likely configuration of Apple's next custom chip is reportedly the SGX543MP2, which pairs two SGX543 cores to work as one, offering around four times the capability of the previous A4 in graphics and video tasks."

As for general purpose processing, Apple will likely employ multi-core ARM Cortex-A9.



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Seems a little unlikely.
By SmilingMan on 1/17/2011 10:53:46 AM , Rating: 5
A tablet with that kind of resolution would be great, but...

The top Dell 30" monitor has a resolution of 2560 x 1600. A resolution of 2048 x 1536 in a 9" panel seems tricky. It would require ate least four times the graphics memory and processing power of before.

I'm not saying it's impossible - sometimes things like this happen - but I'll remain sceptical until I see the actual announcement. It's not like there haven't been totally over-the-top Apple product rumours in the past...




RE: Seems a little unlikely.
By Lerianis on 1/17/2011 10:55:40 AM , Rating: 1
Agreed. A bump from the current resolution up to 720p resolution seems a bit more reasonable, it wouldn't take much more graphics power.


RE: Seems a little unlikely.
By zephyrprime on 1/17/2011 12:11:01 PM , Rating: 1
It's already a 768 screen. Going to 720 would not be an improvement. Did you mean 1080?


RE: Seems a little unlikely.
By nikon133 on 1/18/2011 3:04:38 PM , Rating: 3
It is not really. It's 1024*768, while for 720p it should be 1280*720 or 1366*768.

Native 720p resolution would, in theory, improve HD video playback (I think you cannot get more than 720p from iTunes Store anyway?) and reduce need for rescaling such video (which could improve battery life a bit?) while older apps could run with small black margins on sides.

This looks like the most probable scenario for me. They might push full HD (though I think it would be an overkill at this moment), but doubling horizontal and vertical resolution? I'd really be surprised to see that.


RE: Seems a little unlikely.
By omnicronx on 1/20/2011 10:11:57 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Native 720p resolution would, in theory, improve HD video playback (I think you cannot get more than 720p from iTunes Store anyway?) and reduce need for rescaling such video (which could improve battery life a bit?) while older apps could run with small black margins on sides.
No... that is most likely not the case. Higher resolution screen requires more power in the first place to push those extra pixels. The tiny overhead (if any) required to scale down in resolution is nowhere even close to the extra power required to push those extra pixels.

Lets be clear people, this will be a 4:3 device. It will NOT be 16:9 screen. I.E you will have black bars on the bottom of HD video, regardless of the resolution Apple chooses for the new iPad.

Personally, I don't believe the hype. I'd be willing to wager that the screen size will remain exactly the same, with perhaps improvements to the underlying LCD technology itself.

I would not be surprised to see the front facing camera, dual core cpu.. and most other things they have mentioned as these are all feasible.. but a 9.7 inch screen in the resolution's being speculated do not make sense. Even for Apple they are just too expensive as it currently stands, nor does it make sense to make developers code for yet another resolution just a year after the initial iPad release..

I just does not make sense to me for them to increase the screen size right now. One of the reasons being the retina display of the iPhone is going to make things hard to do so.. Even if they quadruple the resolution, it still won't reach the 'magical' ~300+ PPI required for your eyes not to be able to perceive the pixels. As a result, I REALLY doubt they would be inclined to go with a half baked solution for now (perhaps merely doubling resolution) knowing full well they will soon have to change again to keep in line with their other offerings.. It would also be once again a developer nightmare..

Sorry guys.. maybe next iPad refresh ;)


RE: Seems a little unlikely.
By omnicronx on 1/20/2011 10:19:22 AM , Rating: 2
Would also like to point out that contrary to the iBook application, the camera app UI images that still exist in the iOS 4.3SDK have resolutions of 1024x768. Considering the iPad does not have a camera right now, UI images of that size pretty much have to be destined for the new iPad.

Not that I'm discounting the iBook ui, but considering that has been pulled and the camera has not, I would be inclined to believe the ui design that actually still exists in current betas.. Clearly Apple is going to make the shift at some point,(perhaps someone was thinking of the future), I just don't see it happening now.

It took Apple 3 model years to change from HVGA, I just don't see it happening in a single year for the iPad for a plethora of reasons..


RE: Seems a little unlikely.
By zephyrprime on 1/21/2011 3:36:41 PM , Rating: 2
There's no fricken way they're going to 1280x720. A 16:9 form factor would suck for the ipad. Yeah video would play better but everything else would suck. I think there's a possibility they could go to a 1920x1440 format.


RE: Seems a little unlikely.
By VahnTitrio on 1/17/2011 11:00:01 AM , Rating: 2
I was thinking the same thing. The pixel count is quadruple what it was before, and at best you would be getting double the processing power. These seems like it would be slower and consume more power, but it probably would like nice.


RE: Seems a little unlikely.
By freeagle on 1/18/2011 7:56:21 AM , Rating: 2
You are forgetting that Apple products are magical.

In the world of magic, apparently, doubling the lenght of edges of a rectangle results in doubling the surface area of the rectangle. So, obviously, doubling the power of a CPU/GPU will surely be enough.


RE: Seems a little unlikely.
By psonice on 1/18/2011 8:13:20 AM , Rating: 2
Not exactly magical, but 2 GPU cores, each performing 2x faster than the original ipad gpu gives you 4x the performance which is enough to run everything at the new res without slowdown.

It's the dual-core GPU which is rumoured, which does exist and does give 4x performance from what I've seen. And drivers for this chip are present in the latest iOS beta.

I'm still not 100% convinced though - what would a screen like this cost, and what's battery life going to be like? Apple won't do it if it's going to push costs up too far, or battery life down too much.


RE: Seems a little unlikely.
By Alexstarfire on 1/18/2011 12:05:19 PM , Rating: 2
We'll have to see. A 4x jump, or 300% increase, in processing power is hard to imagine. In discrete GPUs for desktops we're lucky to see even a 2x jump, or 100% increase, let alone a 4x jump.

I don't doubt this chip is vastly superior to the old one, but I don't see this working out on all fronts, being price, performance, and cost.


RE: Seems a little unlikely.
By SPOOFE on 1/18/2011 1:14:28 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
In discrete GPUs for desktops we're lucky to see even a 2x jump, or 100% increase, let alone a 4x jump.

What leaves me less skeptical is how new this market segment is; discrete desktop GPU's are a very mature market with lots of demand, which tends to drive costs and prices down but also tends to max out technical capabilities. Tablets have been around for a while, but it's only recently that they're seriously being considered as mass-market, general public items, as opposed to niche products for a small but fervent few.

But now things are starting to heat up, Apple's going to start seeing some real competition, and the time for playing safe and conservative are over.


RE: Seems a little unlikely.
By omnicronx on 1/20/2011 10:52:16 AM , Rating: 2
You are assuming that the GPU alone was the only bottleneck for an integrated system like the iPad..

A perfect example would be the galaxy S's PowerVR SGX 540 GPU which is suppose to be able to push something rediculous like 90 million polys a second but comes nowhere close in real life performance. (maybe 1/3 of that if you are lucky)

As a result a removing of such bottlenecks and a big increase in speed at the same time could very well lead to 4x graphical improvements.

Considering the next iPad will most likely have a dual core SOC with an exponentially better GPU, and perhaps an improved design, it could very well happen..

.. I just don't think you will see it this time around ;)


RE: Seems a little unlikely.
By Hieyeck on 1/17/2011 11:25:09 AM , Rating: 2
Didn't they announce some new Macstore? What's to say that iBook won't be released for a full-on Mac? I find this more likely....


RE: Seems a little unlikely.
By Da W on 1/17/2011 1:53:07 PM , Rating: 1
Not only that a 2560X1600 resolution kills my Radeon 5770 on most games, you would need at least that strengh if not more in a iPad with no exhaust fan.


RE: Seems a little unlikely.
By Solandri on 1/17/2011 2:48:32 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, I don't see it happening in the next iPad (unless they did something like run 3D games/apps at half resolution). But given the rate computer technology advances, it's kinda nice thinking that it will happen in the next 5-10 years. A pad/tablet with that sort of resolution becomes a viable replacement for printed paper.


RE: Seems a little unlikely.
By Drag0nFire on 1/17/2011 3:31:27 PM , Rating: 2
I agree completely. It is difficult to imagine tablet hardware powering a display with such high resolution. But it is about time for a major advance in display technology. We've been stuck with the same low resolution laptop panels for years. I want a "retina" laptop display... =D


RE: Seems a little unlikely.
By BansheeX on 1/18/2011 2:43:31 AM , Rating: 4
Pixel density is all about screen size and view distance. If you can't see the extra pixels, then why incur the performance penalty of having to render them? We aren't even close to pushing enough polygons to make games look like reality at the resolutions we already have.


RE: Seems a little unlikely.
By omnicronx on 1/20/2011 10:25:59 AM , Rating: 2
Retina BS = Screen Size + Resolution + distance your eyes are from the screen.

Want a 'Retina' display on your low resolution laptop??

Move back.. ;)


My math is a bit rusty...
By Mudhen6 on 1/17/2011 10:59:52 AM , Rating: 5
...but isn't the increase from 1024x768 to 2048x1536 a quadrupling of the resolution? On account of there being four times the pixels.




RE: My math is a bit rusty...
By BernardP on 1/17/2011 11:43:46 AM , Rating: 3
Exactamento!


RE: My math is a bit rusty...
By psonice on 1/17/2011 11:46:59 AM , Rating: 2
Nope. The resolution is doubled, but the pixel count quadruples. Resolution is normally measured in 1 dimension, so x or y (or both together).


RE: My math is a bit rusty...
By mcnabney on 1/17/2011 3:44:39 PM , Rating: 3
So if going from 1024x768 to 2046x1536 is doubling what would moving to 1024x1536 be? Twice the number of lines and pixels.


RE: My math is a bit rusty...
By SPOOFE on 1/17/2011 6:37:04 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
what would moving to 1024x1536 be?

Not double the resolution, I can tell you that.

quote:
Twice the number of lines and pixels.

Sure, but "resolution" describes an area; the number of pixels on two axes. To "double" the resolution is to double the number of pixels along both axes. Otherwise, you're doubling something other than resolution. Pixel count and line count are not the same as resolution.


RE: My math is a bit rusty...
By omnicronx on 1/20/2011 10:32:57 AM , Rating: 2
In that case you are doubling the amount of horizontal pixels only (i.e only adding pixels to one axis).

That would result in a change in aspect ratio..


RE: My math is a bit rusty...
By Phoque on 1/18/2011 5:14:55 PM , Rating: 2
And where have you gotten that non sense from? Screen resolution is referred to as the number of pixels displayed on the screen.

If you double the resolution both horizontally and vertically, the resulting resolution is quadrupled.


RE: My math is a bit rusty...
By SPOOFE on 1/17/2011 2:37:09 PM , Rating: 4
Think of it this way: Start with a single pixel. That's 1x1. Then add another pixel; did you double the resolution? No, you've just made it 1x2 (or 2x1). Doubling the resolution would give you 2x2 ( (1x1)x2 ), which is four pixels.

Resolution is inherently tied to its ratio. Doubling a single axis changes the aspect ratio, and thus you have a different resolution. A doubling of resolution requires four times as many pixels.


RE: My math is a bit rusty...
By omnicronx on 1/20/2011 10:27:51 AM , Rating: 2
Bingo. The resolution is doubled, and as a result the pixel count is quadrupled ;)


"The new core also supports OpenCL"
By R3MF on 1/17/2011 10:51:52 AM , Rating: 2
Fantastic news about the OpenCL support in the 543MP2 core, just a shame it will take so much longer to reach smart-phones.

As to the resolution; it is much more likely to be 1920x1280, as this would be an integer increase over the iphone screen.




RE: "The new core also supports OpenCL"
By Pirks on 1/17/2011 1:21:53 PM , Rating: 2
Intel QuickSync just killed consumer grade OpenCL so Jobs and its OpenCL cronies are screwed yet again. Leave it to Apple to yak about OpenCL but always remember - this is just RDF and marketing, NOTHING more. OpenCL is useless in real life. Even HPC people use CUDA on Teslas mostly.


By R3MF on 1/17/2011 6:43:08 PM , Rating: 3
i understand that quicksync is just some dedicated hardware for video encoding.

if so that in NO way invalidates the potential of OpenCL a cross-platform API that can be used to accelerate any suitable task.


RE: "The new core also supports OpenCL"
By Shadowself on 1/17/2011 7:42:47 PM , Rating: 2
QuickSync has virtually nothing to do with OpenCL.

CUDA ties quite nicely into OpenCL.

What was your point?


RE: "The new core also supports OpenCL"
By Pirks on 1/18/2011 11:13:12 AM , Rating: 2
My point was that OpenCL is useless in real life, it's nothing but Jobs's RDF and marketing. Even HPC people use CUDA on Teslas mostly. So why bother with such stupidity as OpenCL on a toy tablet??


RE: "The new core also supports OpenCL"
By Alexstarfire on 1/18/2011 12:08:37 PM , Rating: 2
Repeating what you already said doesn't change its meaning.

I'm failing to see how anything cross-platform can be useless when compared to something that is not cross-platform. Doesn't necessarily mean one is always superior to another though.


RE: "The new core also supports OpenCL"
By Pirks on 1/18/2011 12:46:07 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
I'm failing to see how anything cross-platform can be useless when compared to something that is not cross-platform
Ask this very interesting question to HPC folks who chose CUDA over OpenCL :P Or maybe think about why most games are done in non-crossplatform DX while cross-platform OpenGL is all but forgotten ;)))


RE: "The new core also supports OpenCL"
By StuckMojo on 1/19/2011 4:53:05 PM , Rating: 2
Uhuh, and VHS won over Betamax because it was technically superior.

Games are done in DX because 99% of gaming PCs run windows AND the xbox does as well. It doesn't mean it's a better solution.


By Pirks on 1/20/2011 9:56:00 AM , Rating: 2
HPC is done in CUDA because 99% of cheap commodity HPC clusters run Tesla. It doesn't mean it's a better solution, that is if you equate "cross platform" and "better", which sounds pretty funny btw :)


That's not doubling the resolution
By Mumrik on 1/17/2011 12:36:36 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
simply doubling the iPad's current resolution (1024x768) to 2048x1536 at a 260 DPI would result in a display that, while not exactly "Retina", would be easier for developers to adapt to.


That's quadrupling the resolution. Come on, it's simple math.




RE: That's not doubling the resolution
By Mudhen6 on 1/17/2011 1:05:44 PM , Rating: 2
I totally have your back on this one, but apparently the original statement is right. Read psonice's comment above.

Resolution is normally given in one dimension - for example, 720p is HD res, 1080p is Bluray HD res. So, from what I understand, 1080p has 1.5X the resolution, but 2.25X the pixel count, assuming the same aspect ratio.


By SPOOFE on 1/17/2011 2:39:28 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Resolution is normally given in one dimension - for example, 720p is HD res, 1080p is Bluray HD res.

No, resolution is a square (two dimensional) measurement. 720/1080 have simply become shorthand - "slang" - for their respective resolutions.

The simple matter is that "resolution" and "pixel count" are not the same thing. They are related, but not the same.


RE: That's not doubling the resolution
By finbarqs on 1/17/2011 1:12:32 PM , Rating: 2
guys: Remember that the aspect ratio of the iPad is 4:3. so 16x10 (1920x1200 wouldn't work) it needs literally to be either 1600x1200 to maintain the same aspect ratio so all the apps will be the same.


By Solandri on 1/17/2011 3:01:30 PM , Rating: 2
That's assuming the pixels are square. Square pixels certainly makes things easier, but they're not a requirement for a functional display.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PenTile_matrix_family

An important thing to keep in mind is that due to the individual cones in your eye only being sensitive to one color, your eye's color resolution is much lower than its spatial resolution, and its color resolution varies with color. A fact which is exploited heavily in video broadcast and compression algorithms.
http://nfggames.com/games/ntsc/visual.shtm

If you're making a display which is approaching the limits of the eye's visual acuity, color accuracy is going to matter a lot less. The moire artifacts created by the Nexus One's subpixel rendering would be a lot less visible, if not invisible, on a higher resolution display.


Ugh
By dagamer34 on 1/17/2011 11:17:39 AM , Rating: 4
"Retina" != 300 dpi. "Retina" = eyes no longer able to see individual pixels. On a 3.5" screen held 12" away, it's around 300 dpi. If you double the distance to 24", required DPI is less.

Please stop propagating this inaccuracy.




RE: Ugh
By vol7ron on 1/17/2011 3:44:16 PM , Rating: 1
I think Apple calls it their "Retina" display. It's a title, not a definition.


Yes
By damianrobertjones on 1/17/2011 11:55:19 AM , Rating: 3
The real question, is this:

"Will there be specific apps written 'just' for the iPad 2?"

Thousands of iPads hit ebay..




By BugblatterIII on 1/18/2011 4:32:28 AM , Rating: 1
Doesnt that mean it'll be half as fast? Overly-simplistic perhaps, but you get the idea.

Windows Mobile PDAs had a similar issue when they went from QVGA to VGA, though that only doubled the number of pixels but the gfx power stayed the same. The VGA PDAs were comparitively sluggish in anything graphics-intensive.




By psonice on 1/18/2011 5:08:56 AM , Rating: 2
If you read the article carefully (it's not very clear on this), the new GPU core has 2x the performance of the old one. But it's a multi-core capable chip that scales fairly linearly, and apple are rumoured to be including 2 GPU cores. This would make it 4x faster, for 4x the pixel count, so existing apps will run at the same speed at the new resolution.

Kind of makes it easy for devs - not much work needed to use the new display, so long as your graphics can scale you can just tell it to run at full res and forget about it.


Yeah Right!
By petrosy on 1/17/2011 5:31:57 PM , Rating: 2
An iPad with these specs will make the Macbook almost obsolete, I don't think they going to do that.

I bet all they will have is a front facing camera and more ram and maybe dualcore.... obviously I am pulling this prediction out my ar$3!




Kind of Strange
By Setsunayaki on 1/20/2011 8:08:12 AM , Rating: 2
How will the iPAD 2 deal with the double resolution?

Mathematically one needs four times the bandwith and memory space to handle double any given resolution.

Mathematical Proof: 1 x 1 = 1, 2 x 2 = 4, 4/1 = 4.

They will need a decent graphics chipset along with a better battery. Otherwise Ipad 2 may give you double the resolution, but actually have 1/3rd less battery life and half the response time too.

Oh well. Thank God I don't own iPADs and I prefer netbooks with Linux Operating Systems + touch screens. :)




And double the
By Sungpooz on 1/24/2011 11:29:14 AM , Rating: 2
already stupid price.




It's about time...
By Goty on 1/17/11, Rating: 0
"People Don't Respect Confidentiality in This Industry" -- Sony Computer Entertainment of America President and CEO Jack Tretton

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