Granted the beautiful hardware and the intuitive software make the iPad shine but the demon speed of execution really awed the people who played with the device at the event yesterday.
“It is fast, fast, fast. Web pages render so fast it was hard to believe…On the iPad, they seem to render nearly instantly. The Maps app is crazy fast. Apps launch fast. Scrolling is fast. The Photos app is fast. ..”
The 1GHz clock speed combined with fast video rendering and the 10 Hr battery life make many specialist wonder the secret sauce the Apple A4 CPU.
BrightsideofNews shed some light on the A4. The A4 is indeed a System-on-a-Chip, or SOC integrates the main processor [ARM Cortex-A9, identical to ones used in nVidia Tegra and Qualcomm Snapdragon] with graphics silicon [ARM Mali GPU], and other functions like the memory controller on one piece of silicon.
Ashok Kumar, an analyst Northeast Securities, says the system-on-a-chip is the fruit of Apple’s internal development though its core processor is still based on a design from United Kingdom-based ARM. In Apple’s own words, it’s "custom silicon that we designed for this product." Apple acquired chip designer PA Semi in 2008. And it is worth pointing out that this is the first time Apple has announced an Apple-branded chip.
Richard Doherty, director of technology consulting firm Envisioneering Group, in an interview last week said this about the Apple chip technology versus competing silicon from companies like Qualcomm, Freescale, and others that license the basic design from ARM: "There’s nothing that I can see from ARM licensees or Intel that could challenge the power-per-watt, the power-per-buck, the power-per-cubic-millimeter of size. Apple is going to have quite a performance, battery efficiency, and cost advantage over the competition."