iPad 3 Rumor of the Day Part Deux: A5X or A6 Processor? What’s Going on?

We’ve known that Apple was working on a new chip for the iPad 3, and originally, everyone speculated that it would be an A6 processor, an upgrade to the A4 processor in the first generation iPad, and the A5 processor in the iPad 2.

Last week, a Chinese site, WeiPhone, released images of a new Apple processor, which was labeled A5X instead of the expected A6, sparking rumors that there wasn’t an A6 processor at all. According to new information, Apple is actually working on both an A5X and an A6 processor, which explains why there’s been confusion over what’s going to be inside the iPad 3.

Both iMore and Bloomberg, which provide accurate information more often than not, have said that the new iPad will come equipped with a quad-core processor (and there were references to a quad-core chip in the iOS 5.1 beta code), but The Verge claims that the iPad 3 is only going to have a dual-core chip with an enhanced graphics engine. This was confirmed by the pictures of the A5X processor, as I mentioned before.

With the A5X picture came confirmation that the chip was called S5L8945X, which did indicate an incremental increase from the A5 chip that’s named S5L8940X. An A6 processor would be referred to as S5L8950X, and that wasn’t found at the time.

Today, however, 9to5Mac found evidence that code supporting both the 45X and the 50X are in the iOS 5.1 betas, indicating that Apple is working on both chips simultaneously.

Why would Apple be working on two chips at the same time? No one knows, at this point, but it could be indicative of an iPad 3 with the A6 processor and a cheaper iPad with the A5X processor, or it could mean that the A5X processor is for the rumored Apple TV upgrade. I guess we’ll find out on March 7th.

The good news? There’s still hope for that quad-core A6 processor in the iPad 3.

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