Apple has said that the A8X processor powering the new iPad Air 2 is more powerful than the A8 processor in the iPhone 6, but hasn’t provided other details. An early Geekbench benchmark is indicating that the latest iPad chip comes with a triple-core processor (not a typo) and 2GB of RAM.
As other mobile devices come with quad-core chips and even hexa-core chips, Apple has stayed steady with ARM-based dual-core chips of its own design, mostly to conserve battery life. But adding a third core to the iPad — while unusual for consumer devices — could come in handy for tasks that benefit from being optimized for parallel processes, such as heavy-duty graphics apps like those Adobe has announced. It could also help when it comes to serious multitasking, which the iPad doesn’t do yet, but there are indications that Apple is working on a split-screen mode.
The benchmark also indicates that the iPad Air 2 comes with 2GB of RAM, which is something that iPad power users have requested for a while, but Apple has previously resisted implementing. The cores in the iPad Air 2 are clocked at 1500MHz, which is slightly faster than the 1400MHz cores seen on the iPhone 6. All told, the iPad Air 2 is nearly 80 percent faster than the iPhone 6, according to Geekbench benchmarks.
If anything, the Apple-designed A8X processor with three cores shows that Apple isn’t following anybody else in terms of chip design. Since Apple acquired chip-design firm PA Semi in 2008 and introduced the A4 processor with the first iPad, Apple has consistently emphasized aspects of its chips that other firms have de-emphasized. One of Apple’s major advantages is that its chips only power Apple devices, so they don’t have to follow convention, like having an even number of cores.