Apple’s iPad mini Confirmed To Use 32nm A5 CPU From Samsung

With iPad minis beginning to find their way into the hands of people around the globe, more and more information is beginning to circulate about just what powers Apple’s little tablet. We already knew that the device was, for all intents and purposes, a shrunken down iPad 2, but we always like to be sure. Now, thanks to yet another teardown of the iPad mini, we have confirmation.

According to Chipworks, the iPad mini is powered by an A5 chip, the same as the iPad 2. No great surprises there then. Beyond that, Chipworks has also discovered that the chip used is of the 32nm variety. The original iPad 2 shipped with a 45nm part, with 32nm being used after the iPad 2 refresh and Apple TV update back in April.

The new 32nm part allows Apple’s iPad 2 and now the iPad mini to use less power as well as, just as importantly, kick out less heat when at full tilt. This no doubt helps when you consider the small chassis used in the new iPad mini. There’s not a great deal of room for air circulation in there, and Apple knows it. Reducing heat output is very important in such a small device, and the A5 chip used does just that.


As Chipworks points out, the change came when Apple announced the iPad 3, and with absolutely no mention of the change. Apple isn’t one for sharing such information, as we all know.

Remember the past, when Apple launched the Apple A5X to great fanfare? When the A5X launched, Apple also snuck in a change to the process generation in their A5 chip by putting a new 32 nm version inside the iPad2 and Apple TV3. Apple (likely) plays it this way because they don’t want people evaluating their products based on “commodity” technical specifications, but based on the overall experience with the device.

The chip itself appears to be structurally identical to the one used in the iPad 2, meaning that Samsung is more than likely still producing it. Apple had been rumored to be trying to move manufacturing of the chip away from the firm, but it seems that has yet to happen.


Apple’s iPad mini goes on sale today, Friday 2nd of November, with pre-orders on the company’s online store already suggesting a 2-week wait will be incurred for new orders. There has been no news yet as to how many units will be available for purchase in stores, but we suspect demand will outstrip supply, just how it has with the iPhone 5 and various Apple releases before it.

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