Apple’s famous iPad Pro series is getting a revamp next year. And true to the Cupertino giant’s usual strategy, the next iteration will be powered by a processor that’s almost similar to the one inside the iPhone X and iPhone 8 smartphones. The main difference is the addition of two more processing cores for the chipset that will be powering the 2018 iPad Pro tablets.
On Wednesday, Chinese website MyDrivers revealed that Apple’s upcoming iPad Pro models will feature octa-core processors that are actually based on Taiwanese company TSMC’s 7nm manufacturing process. Supply chain sources indicated that the octa-core processor is tentatively named A11X Bionic chip.
When Apple debuted its new flagship phone and its 10th anniversary iPhone, it introduced the A11 Bionic chip that’s a 64-bit ARM-based system on chip (SoC). The A11 Bionic chip is a six-core processor comprising two high-performance cores and four high-efficiency cores. The Motley Fool noted in September that the high-performance cores, called “Monsoon,” are 25 percent faster than the ones in last year’s A10 Fusion. On the other hand, the A11 Bionic’s high-efficiency cores, called “Mistral,” are 70 percent faster than those of its predecessor.
The A11X Bionic chip is the beefed up version of the A11 chip. MacRumors has learned that what Apple did to come up with the tablet processor is include two more cores to the chipset. Hence, the 2018 iPad Pro devices will come with three Monsoon cores and five Mistral cores. And though the new processor is also reportedly featuring TSMC’s integrated fan-out wafer level packing, it won’t be built on the 10nm process like the A11 Bionic chip. As mentioned before, the octa-core chip is going to be built with a 7-nanometer manufacturing process.
It is also being presumed that the A11X Bionic processor will come with a next-generation M11 coprocessor and neural engine for artificial intelligence tasks. This would make it possible for the 2018 iPad Pro to also come equipped with the module that implements Apple’s new Face ID facial recognition system.
The idea that the next-generation iPad Pro models would come with Face ID intensifies rumors that Apple could also be ditching the home button on its tablet series, just like what it did to the 10th anniversary iPhone. The rumors first started when KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said that the 2018 iPad Pro tablets will have very minimal bezels as a result of the home button’s elimination from the hardware. Unlike the iPhone X though, Apple Insider said next-year’s iOS-running tablet iteration won’t come with the expensive OLED displays for Apple has decided to just stick to LCD.
Should the next-generation iPad Pro models really come with LCD screens, it’s very unlikely for them to have the same hardware design as iPhone X. So this would mean the tablets won’t have edge-to-edge display even though they are likely going to sport smaller bezels than the ones the current generation models have. The upside here is the 2018 iPad Pros won’t really end up as very costly as one would expect them to be, given the new technologies they are reportedly sporting.