DigiTimes: 5G iPad Pro Models With A14 Series Chip to Launch in Fall 2020

The Game 161

macrumors Core
Dec 15, 2010
20,216
10,199
UK
Guess best to prepare to expect new pros in September….won’t matter to me about 5G as I will only buy the wifi only now on as I use personal hotspot for data from my phone now as I have 100GB so it’s only way I get to use so much
 

deconstruct60

macrumors G3
Mar 10, 2009
8,576
1,517
I’d SWAG that the March iPad release might be another “education” one. It’s been about two years since the last one. Maybe bump vanilla iPad up to A12 processors?
Two years? It has been less than 6 months.

https://www.macrumors.com/2019/09/26/10-2-inch-ipad-apple-store-pickup/

( It is largely just a bigger screen, but that is a 'bump'. )

The "timing" wasn't very educational ( for Northern Hemisphere , early Summer, large organization buying), but that is educational option. ( it is the lowest priced option. Nothing lower price is likely coming. ).

Could Apple 'spec bump' this in late Spring / early Summer with an A12 ( as opposed to the extended out A10)? perhaps. [ If things had gone to schedule the new A14 would have shifted the bulk of their wafer buys to a new process and Apple could use the volume on a 'older' , far more mature process to hit some lower price points. However, if that doesn't hit their price targets then A11 might be the option they go with. ]

Additionally, they'd have to move the iPad Air off of the A12 if the low end version moved to the A12.
Bumping the iPad Air to A13 probably wouldn't be that much of a gap. It would be surprising if they waited until could move the iPad Air to A14 before moving the entry/edu iPad to A12.


They certainly won’t repeat the fiasco of having the “X” processor for iPad Pro 6 months after A13, and then wait 18 more months for an update. iPad WAS on an 18 month cycle, but moving to 24 months makes sense. Then we’d get a September iPhone event and an October iPad Pro event again... with A14x onboard.
18 months is about what the 'Moore's Law' cycle is. If the 'X' variant is composed of 1.5-2x as big GPUs and a far more transistor budget for the other major subsystems on the chip then waiting for a major process shrink would allow a large rise in transistor budget. Frankly, it is getting harder to do these double transistor density shrinks. (and also much more expensive) ....So iPad Pro would slow down also if tightly coupled to these.
 

deconstruct60

macrumors G3
Mar 10, 2009
8,576
1,517
I see your point, although, we are coming up on 18 months since the 2018 iPad Pros were released. I can see them doing an A13X release for April with the upgrade triple cameras, upgraded RAM. This is similar (other than the RAM upgrade) Apple did on the iPad Pro 2nd gen when they released those at WWDC 2017 with the A10X when the A11 came out right afterwards. Hard to imagine a full two years between iPad Pros, although the A12X is still way ahead of most performance requirements.
If 18 months had a high coupling to fab process shrink then there isn't a good reason why Apple "has to" release this Spring at all. "Moore's Law" is slowing down a bit. Rigidly trying to stick to 18 months when the fabs aren't shrinking at 18 months does buy the big leaps if have to conserve space and power.

There may have been no A11X because while there was a shrink from 16nm ( A10 16nm to A11 10nm) the 10nm was an odd duck in terms of cost. Apple did it by brute force volume of the iPhones. The 16nm -> 7nm was the target for the A12X. Jumping from 7nm -> 5nm is the next reasonable cost transition that buys lots of additional transistor budget for an 'X' ( bigger GPUs , bigger cache , bigger etc. ).

An A13X was be at the same fab process as the A12X. ( a minor optimize of 7nm perhaps). It isn't going to 'buy' a much bigger GPU. much bigger cache . If asbsorb the bigger Nerual processor unit that came with the mainline A13 then probably would just be a bigger chip . It is already a bigger chip A13 , and that would even larger. The iPad is a bigger device but has a much bigger screen ( which soaks up more power. The iPad doesn't really have a "grow the logic board bigger room. " capacity. Especially if moving to 5G and a more complex radio transceiver set. )
- - Post merged: - -

I was figuring if we got a March update that maybe we would get an A13X and then skip the A14X in another 18 month release. But if there are strong rumors that the A14X is happening then it seems likely we will skip the A13X, so if we did get an update in March it would be without a processor bump which would be odd.
....
Though then there is also the iPad Air line and there is a question of where you want to slot those in, if they update them without updating the Pro at all they might be too close for comfort,
....
If the iPad Air got the AR triple camera thing and the A13 in March-May and then the iPad Pro got A14X in the late Fall this may untangle these two rumors. Someone classified the Air as "Pro" because got the iPhone Pro camera mix and the iPad pro is just on a longer cycle ( which with major fab process shrink sliding out past 18 months for all players makes sense. )

The A13X is possible, but seems doubtful would make that move. It won't 'buy' a whole lot more because there isn't a major process shrink to couple to it.
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deconstruct60

macrumors G3
Mar 10, 2009
8,576
1,517
....
IF we do see an A13X iPad Pro with updated camera in the spring, and then an A14 iPad Pro with some other internal updates in the fall, then I would ask - why can't they just be on an annual cycle? Even if it is just a SoC bump, would have made more sense to bump the iPad Pro to A13X in fall 2019 (year after the A12X iPad Pro was released).
The iPad Pro is probably pretty close to being an order of magnitude smaller sales then the "new" , yearly iPhone sales. It is also is vey likely to run into the same 'wall' that the iPad in general ran into ( for most folks in that segment ... it just works and vast majority don't have any deep need to refresh every 1-2 years at all. )

Adding gimmick features to the iPad Pro just to make a yearly cycle probably won't increase sales in any substantive way at all. The price zone they have pushed the iPad Pro into is smaller.

An A13X probably won't 'buy' much in terms of a huge leap in performance across a broad range of function. And if Apple is doing a major coupling to the major process shrink cycle to drive the 'X' versions than yearly is way too short of a cycle to synchronize with that. ( Apple could shift to camera and other doodads as 'major upgrades' but it wouldn't be general workload computational processors . )
 

Justanotherfanboy

macrumors 6502a
Jul 3, 2018
674
1,153
The iPad Pro is probably pretty close to being an order of magnitude smaller sales then the "new" , yearly iPhone sales. It is also is vey likely to run into the same 'wall' that the iPad in general ran into ( for most folks in that segment ... it just works and vast majority don't have any deep need to refresh every 1-2 years at all. )

Adding gimmick features to the iPad Pro just to make a yearly cycle probably won't increase sales in any substantive way at all. The price zone they have pushed the iPad Pro into is smaller.

An A13X probably won't 'buy' much in terms of a huge leap in performance across a broad range of function. And if Apple is doing a major coupling to the major process shrink cycle to drive the 'X' versions than yearly is way too short of a cycle to synchronize with that. ( Apple could shift to camera and other doodads as 'major upgrades' but it wouldn't be general workload computational processors . )
Literally the only thing iPad Pro needs to have for upgraders to flock to it is a reinforced body. Mine bent once in an el cheapo $12 case.... then again in a top-tier, highly reviewed $90 case.
One instance I got a free replacement, the 2nd time, I had to pay the deductible & use one of my two AppleCare claims.
As interested as I am in these new tof camera arrays... I find the structural integrity of my $1000 tablet MUCH more important, & I have a feeling that many of my fellow iPad Pro users feel the same!
 

Pman17

macrumors 6502
Mar 12, 2011
254
109
Galveston, TX
Two iPad hardware Updates within the same year has happened in the past. One year Apple released the iPad 3 in spring with the 30 pin connector, then the iPad 4 in fall with the new lightning connector.
 

PickUrPoison

macrumors 603
Sep 12, 2017
6,019
7,334
Sunnyvale, CA
Two iPad hardware Updates within the same year has happened in the past. One year Apple released the iPad 3 in spring with the 30 pin connector, then the iPad 4 in fall with the new lightning connector.
iPad 3 was underpowered and performed rather poorly. It should never have been released. As far as I’m concerned, Apple should have replaced the damn things with a free swap to iPad 4.