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iPad 3 screens point to LTE model, quad-core Apple A6 processor

iPad 3 screens point to LTE model, quad-core Apple A6 processor


BGR is reporting some alleged details of Apple's iPad 3 hardware today, including word of LTE support.

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BGR has obtained a number of images said to be taken of output from iBoot, Apple's iDevice bootloader, running in debug mode on an iPad 3 — and in debug mode, you're able to see some detail on the hardware running underneath. Notably, the processor is identified as model number S5L8945X, which is new — it's apparently a quad-core Apple A6, which is exactly what everyone is expecting: we saw the single-core A4 in 2010 and the dual-core A5 last year, and a variety of tablet and smartphone makers will be launching quad-core devices on hardware from TI, Qualcomm, Nvidia, and others in 2012.

Perhaps more interesting is that the model references "iPad3,1" and "iPad3,2" are apparently Wi-Fi and LTE versions of the same model. Apple uses a similar scheme to differentiate between the Wi-Fi, GSM, and CDMA versions of the iPad 2 — but just as with the iPhone 4S, the iPad 3's cellular will be collapsed into a single model that supports GSM, CDMA, and LTE alike. This would be Apple's first device to support LTE, excellent news for customers on Verizon and AT&T who've been enjoying true 4G speeds in a number of markets for months now.

Our own sources are telling us that BGR's information is spot on — and we've heard the LTE bit before — so we think there's a high likelihood that this is exactly the two-device combo we'll be seeing at Apple's next event. That event could come at any time now; the iPad 2 debuted in early March of last year.

Update: The S5L8945X is actually Apple's new A5X system-on-chip, which has quad-core PowerVR graphics but not a quad-core general purpose processor.