Any iPad Pro models launched in 2018 are likely to take advantage of an octa-core CPU based on Taiwanese supplier TSMC’s improved 7nm manufacturing process, according to a new report from China.
Citing sources in Apple’s supply chain, the report claims that the new chip will feature no less than eight cores and be labeled as a A11X Bionic CPU. Of those eight cores, three will be three high-performance “Monsoon” cores, and five will be energy-efficient “Mistral” cores, assuming the report is accurate.
Featuring similarities to the A11 chip used in the latest iPhones, the expectation is that it will feature a next-generation M11 coprocessor and neural engine, allowing it to carry out tasks specifically required for things like facial recognition. With that in mind, the arrival of Face ID authentication to the iPad lineup looks likely. The new chip is also expected to be a very capable one, allowing the newly updated iPads to be the most powerful yet.
Apple’s current 10.5-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro lineup makes use of an A10X Fusion chip which is based on TSMC’s 10nm fabrication process. The A11X chip will allegedly feature TSMC’s integrated fan-out wafer level packaging and be based on a new 7nm process. For comparison, the 6-core chip A11 Bionic chip living in the new iPhone X, iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus is based on a 10nm process.
In addition to supporting Face ID, new iPads are also expected to include an iPhone X-like display redesign, equating to smaller bezels and of course the complete removal of the Home button. Instead, gestures will be used to perform tasks previously reserved for a physical button, just as is the case with the recently released iPhone X.
Whatever chip ends up gracing the inside of 2018’s iPad Pro hardware, we can expect it to be fast. That much we can already guess.
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