Apple iPad has proprietary processor

Well, the Apple iPad is out. Time will tell whether its success will equal that of the iPhone, the Apple TV or the MacBook Air. I’m confident it will do better than the Newton. The announcement contained a few interesting points, the most significant of which is that it uses a new Apple proprietary processor, the A4. Some reviewers have described the iPad as very fast, and with good battery life; these are indications that the processor is power efficient. Because of its software similarities to the iPhone, the architecture is probably ARM-based, with special P.A. Semi sauce for power and speed. On the other hand, it could be a spin of the PWRficient CPU, which is PowerPC based. In that light, it is interesting to review Apple’s reasons for abandoning the Power PC in 2005. Maybe Apple’s massive increase in sales volume since then has made Intel’s economies of scale less overwhelming?

The price is right, as is an option to go without a 3G radio. The weight is double that of a Kindle, and half that of a MacBook Air.

I am disappointed that there is no user-pointing camera, because as I mentioned earlier, I think that videophone will be a major use for this class of device.

Update 3 February 2010: Linley Gwenapp wrote up some speculations in his newsletter.

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