Chipworks swiftly got to work examining the new iPad mini and its internal workings, and confirmed that the new 7.9-inch tablet does indeed run on Apple’s A5 processor. This is the dual-core chip that first powered the iPad 2 before making its way into the iPhone 4S.
However, it seems that this A5 is built using a smaller 32-nm production method rather than the original A5 chip’s bulky 45-nm method. This would be part of the reason behind the iPad mini’s impossibly thin (7.2mm) body – not only are 32-nm chips physically smaller, they’re also more energy efficient and thus need less cooling.
The reports points out that Apple actually implemented this smaller production method for the aging A5 chip some time ago, around the time it launched the souped-up A5X chip for the iPad 3 earlier in the year.
“When the A5X launched, Apple also snuck in a change to the process generation in their A5 chip by putting a new 32-nm version inside the iPad 2 and Apple TV 3,” the report says.
Upon closer investigation, it turns out that the iPad mini’s A5 processor is exactly the same as another new Apple device. “When we looked at the A5 package markings found in the iPad Mini,” says Chipworks, “we saw that it had the exact same package markings as that found in the latest (fifth) generation iPod.”
That’s the new, super slim iPod touch to you and I. We’ve said before that in certain ways the iPad mini is more like a large iPod touch than a small iPad. We were more right than we thought.