Third-Gen Apple TV Sports A Custom Designed Single-Core A5 Chip
Apple’s new Apple TV appears to be the first product to come packed with a single-core A5 chip, according to reports.
Apple’s big announcement yesterday may have been about the fancy new iPad we’re all fawning over right now, but the latest tablet wasn’t the only thing to be announced by the Cupertino company’s CEO yesterday. Tim Cook and his band of cohorts also took the wraps off a newly redesigned Apple TV, too.
While the new Apple TV – not to be called the Apple TV 3 officially, but we need a way to differentiate somehow – may look identical to the model which came before it, but this new version brings with it improved support for streaming video. Namely, 1080p content is now watchable on the little black box, whereas previously users had to make do with just 720 lines of vertical resolution.
In order to power those extra pixels though, Apple apparently needed to add a little extra oomph to the device one famously called ‘a hobby.’ According to Apple Insider, that oomph is provided by a custom chip based on the Apple A5 architecture.
The A5 is what powers the iPad 2 and iPhone 4S, offering two cores and all the bells and whistles expected of a modern mobile processor. The interesting thing about this new Apple TV is that it apparently sports a single-core A5, a chip which has not yet been used in any other Apple product. Did the company have to make a chip just for the Apple TV? Obviously the dual-core A5 could have been used – the company cannot be running short on the chips used in its flagship smartphone – but cost may well have been an issue in the decision to reduce the number of cores used.
It is also worth remembering that having a dual-core chip in a box that simply receives video and then pushes it to a TV screen may have been a little OTT at the best of times. When you’re trying to keep the price to below $100, dropping a core makes more sense than not.
The A5’s big brother, the A5X is the chip that is now going to power Apple’s new tablet, the iPad 3. Just don’t let Apple hear you call it the iPad 3, will you?