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Innovation

Apple A4 is not a CPU, it's a 'system-on-a-chip'

Details are starting to emerge about the chip powering Apple's iPad - the A4. As it turns out, it's not a CPU but a complete 'system-on-a-chip.'

Details are starting to emerge about the chip powering Apple's iPad - the A4. As it turns out, it's not a CPU but a complete 'system-on-a-chip.'

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The A4 represents Apple's entry into fabless semiconductors, and while it's seems like interesting technology, most of it is based on ARM intellectual property. The A4 brings together a CPU (at this point it's unclear how many cores the A4 has) and a GPU, along with other features such as memory controller.

Compared to the Samsung processor in the iPhone that chugs along at 600MHz, the A4 ticks at 1GHz, offering the iPad a fair performance boost. Not only is it fast, but it's energy efficient, allowing the iPad to run for up to 10 hours.

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