Last week we reported that the Apple TV was in short supply at Apple resellers, and even the Apple Store itself. Well, the tweaked version of the Apple TV has begun hitting the shelves, and it looks like the updated device is using a smaller version of the A5 chip, not a 5X chip as previously speculated.
Apple’s tweaked third-generation Apple TV, which carries a part number of A1469 compared to an A1427 part number for the original version, has now begun making its way into Apple’s retail store stocks, and we have purchased one and cracked it open to examine its internals.
Most notably, the tweaked third-generation Apple TV does not contain an A5X chip. Instead, it contains an A5 chip like its predecessor, although the new chip is considerably smaller than the previous one.
According to Apple, this latest update to the Apple TV is designed to be a invisible to users, with no change in features.
The original A5 chip, first used in the iPad 2 in 2011,was built using the 45-nanometer process, measuring 10.09 mm by 12.15 mm, with the first die-shrunk A5, which was introduced in 2012 for use in the third-generation Apple TV and the tweaked iPad 2 measured 8.19 mm by 8.68 mm, a 41% size reduction.
The A5 MacRumors found in the 3rd-gen Apple TV is smaller yet, measuring at 6 mm by 6 mm.
It is unknown at this time if Samsung is producing the smaller A5, but it is possible Apple is using a 28-nanometer process used by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) for the smaller chip. While Samsung is reported to be moving to a 28-nanometer process at its Austin, Texas plant, the facility reportedly will not be ready for mass production of the chip until late this year.
TSMC has been reported to be preparing to produce the A6X chip for the current iPad sometime in 2013.