The Apple-designed, TSMC/Samsung-manufactured A7, A8 and A8X mobile chips that power the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad devices released since 2013 have been found to infringe technology patents owned by the University of Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF).
As a result, Apple is now facing a damages payout of $862.4 million, Reuters reported yesterday. The aforesaid chips power the iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPad Air, iPad Air 2, iPad mini with Retina display, iPad mini 3 and iPad mini 4.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), the world’s leading independent semiconductor foundry, has landed a contract to fabricate Apple’s upcoming A8X mobile processor, Taiwanese trade publication DigiTimes reported Wednesday.
The chip, which leaked on claimed photographs earlier this week, is said to feature faster graphics.
In addition to an improved GPU, it reportedly incorporates twice as much RAM as its A8 counterpart, which powers the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. As such, the A8X should power Apple’s rumored ‘iPad Pro’ tablet with an ultra high-resolution 12.9-inch screen.
Following a blurry shot posted by Taiwanese blog Apple.club.tw this weekend that purportedly depicts a claimed iPad Air 2 logic board with a chip labeled ‘A8X’, the same source Monday republished a much clearer image. It should be music to the ears of everyone hoping Apple will bump the forthcoming iPad Air 2 to two gigabytes of RAM. The RAM module appears to be built by Elpida, one of Apple’s memory suppliers, as determined by the markings on the chip.
Doubling the amount of RAM would admittedly allow the tablet to keep more applications active and result in smoother multitasking, faster graphics and performance improvements across the board.
Photos of several components allegedly belonging to the upcoming iPad Air 2 popped up online today. Republished by Apple.club.tw, the images show a Home button flex cable, a front panel, a volume button flex cable, and a logic board.
And on that logic board, it appears that there is an A8X chip. You can’t see it at first, but a MacRumors forum user zoomed in on the photo and tweaked the colors, and as you can see in the image below, it looks like there are 3 characters.
Apple’s upcoming iPad Air 2 and the rumored 12.9-inch iPad, dubbed by the media the ‘iPad Pro’, will both run an enhanced “A8X” processor with improved graphics, GforGames claimed Thursday citing Taiwan’s TechNews [Google Translate].
Last year’s debut of the iPhone 5s, iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display driven by the A7 chip broke Apple’s previous practice of maintaining two separate mobile processor families, one for iPhones and ‘X’ version powering the iPads.
The fact of the matter is, the A7 and A8 chips are powerful enough to drive graphics on both smartphone and tablet displays. That said, if there’s an A8X chip in tow for the rumored 12.9-inch device, chances are it’ll come outfitted with an ultra high-resolution screen that would require a more powerful GPU than that found inside the A8 chip.