Apple Packing New 32nm A5 Chips in New iPad 2 and Apple TV

Apple Packing New 32nm A5 Chips in New iPad 2 and Apple TV

While everyone’s attention has been on the shiny new iPad, those slick folks at Cupertino have started quietly shipping iOS devices with the 32nm A5 SoC. (System on a Chip.) So far the $399 iPad 2 and the 3rd-generation Apple TV have been confirmed to use the chip.

ExtremeTech, via MacDailyNews:

The original A5 SoC (system-on-a-chip), found in the first iPad 2 and iPhone 4S, was built on Samsung’s 45nm process. The A5X SoC in the iPad 3, which has four GPU cores instead of two, is also 45nm. By moving to Samsung’s 32nm High-K Metal Gate (HKMG) process, the new A5 processor (S5L8942, pictured above) is 40% smaller than its predecessor (pictured below), uses around 30% less power, and is significantly cheaper for Samsung to produce — thus, no doubt, allowing Apple to retain its fat profit margins on the cut-price iPad 2.

What does a 32nm A5 actually mean for users? For starters, better battery life. So the iPad 2 will either give you a longer time between charges, or Apple has started using smaller, cheaper batteries. (Always a possibility, as Apple seeks to keep it’s profit margin high on the $399 price of the iPad 2.) Performance will be the same.

If you recently bought an iPad 2 and wonder if you have the new A5 inside, here’s the way to tell. If your iPad 2 came with iOS 5.1 installed, you have the new 32nm part; if it came with iOS 5.0.1, no new A5 for you.