Print 51 comment(s) - last by Sungpooz.. on Jan 24 at 11:29 AM

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
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
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.. ;)

"Can anyone tell me what MobileMe is supposed to do?... So why the f*** doesn't it do that?" -- Steve Jobs
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