The burden of hype
Apart from the $499 entry-level price, the thing that most grabbed our attention about the launch of the much-hyped Apple iPad was the system-on-chip (SoC) that powers it. No sign of Snapdragon or Tegra here, Apple had decided to go it alone and design its own SoC.
It's called the Apple A4 and clocks at 1GHz. Its existence shouldn't really come as a surprise given that Apple bought low-power chip-maker PA Semi in 2008 and hired Bob Drebin and Raja Koduri - both former ATI CTOs - last year. Furthermore, Apple likes to be as autonomous as possible in order to control the entire ecosystem around its products and it collaborated closely with Samsung on the iPhone chip.
What will be interesting to see, however, is how the Apple A4 stacks up against all the other ARM-based SoCs out there, especially in terms of graphics performance. To us the launch was a bit of an anti-climax, with the iPad appearing to just be a big iPhone, but with data-only connectivity. So some of the stuff you can do with it, like gaming and media, had better be pretty decent to justify the hype.
Here are some more bullet points, pricing and a piccie:
- Weight: 0.7 kg
- Dimensions: 24 x 20 x 1.3 cm
- Screen: 9.7 inch 1024 x 768
- Wireless: Wi-Fi (a-n), Bluetooth 2.1, UMTS/HSDPA, GSM/EDGE
- Input/output: docking port, 3.5 mm headphone jack, speakers, microphone
- Battery life: 10 hours use, 1 month standby