Retooled Apple TV found to have die-shrunk A5, not A5X

By , Mar 10, 2013

apple_tv_3_2_a5

Earlier this year, a software update for the Apple TV (5.2) revealed a new device labeled “AppleTV3,2.” After digging through some FCC documents, and some code, it was discovered that it was just a tweaked version of the third-gen ATV with an A5X processor.

Or at least it appeared that way. The retooled set-top box has just begun hitting Apple Stores, and the folks over at MacRumors were able to pick one up and crack one open this weekend. And they’ve determined that its processor is actually a die-shrunk A5 chip…

MacRumors’ Eric Slivka explains:

“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.

The original A5 chip introduced in 2011 for the iPad 2 was built on a 45-nanometer process, measuring 10.09 mm by 12.15 mm, while the first die-shrunk A5 introduced in 2012 for the third-generation Apple TV and the tweaked iPad 2 measured 41% smaller at 8.19 mm by 8.68 mm.

This new A5 found in the tweaked third-generation Apple TV is considerably smaller still, with our measurements putting the chip at just 6 mm by 6 mm.”

The report goes on to speculate that a possible reason for the smaller chip is that Apple is testing out a new 28-nanometer process from TSMC (or Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company) for future chips—something that’s been rumored for months now.

This would be significant for a couple of reasons. First, as we’ve said before, the smaller a chip is, the more efficient it is, and the smaller Apple can make its devices. And second, this would be the first time Apple went with a chip-maker other than Samsung.

The bottom line here is that while the retooled Apple TV doesn’t mean much now, the possible implications of the smaller A5 chip are huge. It’ll be interesting to see if this smaller A5 chip makes its way into future iOS devices—like maybe the budget iPhone.

  • Share:
  • Follow:
  • http://www.facebook.com/linton.findlay Linton Findlay

    maybe this one will be easier to jailbreak

    • Wassim Omais

      Nope. The only reason we can’t jailbreak it now is because there are too few processes and Apple disables the Micro USB after the kernel has loaded. Which means that we need a BootROM exploit for it to work. The ATV 2 had one (courtesy of the A4 chip) but the ATV 3 has a very secure one. This one will probably have the same thing or more.

      • Bob

        I don’t get why Apple don’t purposely leave holes for jailbreaking don’t they make tons more profit when a device like ATV can be jailbroken? ATV 2 sells for twice the price of ATV3.

      • http://twitter.com/TheAntman217 Anthony Antunez

        So you’re saying Apple should purposely leave security holes open for the benefit of just a small percentage of its users and allow all of them to be vulnerable to security attacks? Yeah that makes total sense
        -___-

      • Bob

        Small percentage? Do you have any statistics? Do you work for Apple?

      • http://twitter.com/TheAntman217 Anthony Antunez

        Yes. Yes. No.

      • Guest

        The link you pasted is how many devices are running Cydia. Apple TV doesn’t run cydia, lol, you’re such a noob. That statistic that Saurik released is for iDevices.

      • http://twitter.com/TheAntman217 Anthony Antunez

        Well I was specifically talking about jailbreaking in general. The percentage of Cydia users should give you an idea of how small the percentage of jailbreakers are. Now factor that into the popularity of Apple TV jailbreaks and you could assume its even less. Do you really think there are more Apple TV jailbreakers than iPhone/iPad/iPhone jailbreakers combined? It wouldn’t a big difference if any at all, and the percentage would still be incredibly small. Use some common sense man.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jmitaritonna Justin Mitaritonna

    The A5 is still a great dual core processor, very efficient and would have zero lag if only Apple paired it with a gb of ram. X variants also seem to be iPad exclusive.

    • http://www.facebook.com/joe.jonsen Joe Jonsen

      BS apple just being cheap like they did with the damn ipad mini

  • http://www.facebook.com/eric.briscoe1 Eric Briscoe

    TBH budget iPhone sounds like an oxymoron. Steve Jobs would be rolling in his grave if it happened.

  • pauleebe

    An A5X never made sense … this is surely just a testing grounds for TSMC’s 28nm production.