The newest beta release of iOS, version 4.3 is giving us clues about the next generation iPad and iPhone. Images included in the updated iBooks App give us concrete evidence Apple will support a retina display on the iPad. Drivers included in iOS 4.3 are available for a GPU that Apple has yet to use: the SGX543.
The iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad are powered by the same SGX 535 which was first introduced in the iPhone 3GS and now shares the same die as the Apple A4 CPU. The SGX543 also supports OpenCL Apps.
It’s likely Apple will use two SGX543 cores combined with a faster CPU. While CPU details are fluctuating, the new SGX GPU gives us a clearer picture of what the iPad 2 will be. Apple Insider reports that using a dual core configuration will bring 4 times the graphics processing power – enough muscle to drive a retina display on the iPad at 2048 by 1536.
The company will not only be upgrading its video core, but also going to multiple cores, a feature that is designed into the SGX543 design. The most likely configuration of Apple’s next custom chip is reportedly the SGX543MP2, which pairs two SGX543 cores to work as one, offering around four times the capability of the previous A4 in graphics and video tasks.
Besides powering a higher resolution display, the iPad 2 could gain HDMI output. Current iterations of iOS devices can only output content at 1024 x 768, a limitation that would be removed with the SGX GPU.