iPad Air’s Apple A7 chip identical to the iPhone’s, but with higher clock speed

“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.


  1. The iPad got bigger battery so the processor which is the same as the 5s be clocked slightly higher for better experience, in the 5s the slower clock speed is more then enough and a good balance battery life is achieved. Good on apple, great job

  2. I’ve noticed some app developers starting to release updates and upgrades designed to take advantage of the A7. I’m sure they don’t have pre-release iPad Air or Retina iPad mini models, but from what they’re saying, they expect to get speed improvements from the new iPads at least similar to the boosts they have seen on the iPhone 5s.

    The devs behind Air Display have a blog post about this. (Well, it’s mostly about their new version of Air Display but the last section is all about “screaming” performance on the A7.)


  3. Some people are not looking at the big picture here…. What we need to understand is that smartphones and tablets will be our future PC’s and laptops in a near future so it makes totally sense that you’ll see PC like performance in smartphones. Maybe right now it might seem a gimmick but everything is taking us to a time where your laptop will be your smartphone and you’ll just have to dock it and start working with your external monitor and keyboard as you do it right now with your laptop at work..

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.