“When Apple announced its new iPad Air and Retina iPad mini in San Francisco last week, one of the most surprising revelations was that the tablets would both be powered by the same Apple A7 chip used by the iPhone 5S,” Andrew Cunningham reports for Ars Technica. “Since the third-generation iPad was released in early 2012, the vastly different display resolutions of the phones and tablets (1136×640 for iPhones, 2048×1536 for iPads) meant that different chips were needed. Smaller chips like the A5 and A6 were used to meet the power requirements of the phones, while the A5X and A6X picked up more powerful GPUs and wider memory interfaces to drive the tablets’ larger displays.”

“For the first time since the iPad 2 and iPhone 4S shared the A5 SoC back in 2011, the flagship iPhones and iPads are using the same silicon,” Cunningham reports. “The A7 in the iPhone 5S gives you two of Apple’s 64-bit ARMv8 ‘Cyclone’ CPU cores, an Imagination Technologies PowerVR G6430 GPU, 1GB of LPDDR3 RAM, and a 64-bit memory interface. Anand Shimpi of AnandTech says that the iPad Air uses the same chip at a hardware level, just in a different configuration. For example, the iPad’s Air’s A7 runs at a base CPU clock speed of 1.4GHz, up very slightly from the 1.3GHz of the iPhone 5S. Further clock speed increases are probably theoretically possible, but increasing clock speeds by large amounts requires a correspondingly large amount of power. It is not an ideal way to increase performance. Because the iPad is larger and leaves Apple more room to dissipate heat, the iPad’s A7 can also sustain higher CPU clock speeds for longer periods of time.”

Much more in the full article here.