Apple A4

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Apple A4
Apple A4 Chip.jpg
Produced From April 3, 2010 to September 10, 2013
Designed by Apple Inc.
Common manufacturer(s)
Max. CPU clock rate 800 MHz (iPhone 4, iPod touch 4G)  to 1 GHz (iPad) 
Min. feature size 45 nm
Instruction set ARM v7
Microarchitecture Cortex-A8
Product code S5L8930X[1]
Cores 1
L1 cache 32 KB instruction + 32 KB data[2]
L2 cache 512 KB[2]
GPU PowerVR SGX 535[3]
Application Mobile
Predecessor Samsung S5L8920
Successor Apple A5

The Apple A4 is a package on package (PoP) system-on-a-chip (SoC) designed by Apple Inc. and manufactured by Samsung.[4] It combines an ARM Cortex-A8 CPU with a PowerVR GPU, and emphasizes power efficiency.[5] The chip commercially debuted with the release of Apple's iPad tablet;[6] followed shortly by the iPhone 4 smartphone,[7] the iPod Touch (4th generation), and the Apple TV (2nd generation). It was superseded in the iPad 2 by the Apple A5 processor, released the following year, which was then subsequently replaced by the Apple A5X processor in the iPad (3rd generation).

Design[edit]

Apple A4 is based on the ARM processor architecture.[8] The first version released runs at 1 GHz for the iPad and contains an ARM Cortex-A8 CPU core paired with a PowerVR SGX 535 graphics processor (GPU)[6][9][10][11] built on Samsung's 45 nm silicon chip fabrication process.[12] The clock speed for the units used in the iPhone 4 and iPod Touch (4th generation) is 800MHz, but the clock speed for the unit used in the Apple TV has not been released.

The Cortex-A8 core used in the A4 is thought to use performance enhancements developed by chip designer Intrinsity (which was subsequently acquired by Apple)[13] in collaboration with Samsung.[14] The resulting core, dubbed "Hummingbird", is able to run at far higher clock rates than other implementations while remaining fully compatible with the Cortex-A8 design provided by ARM.[15] Other performance improvements include additional L2 cache. The same Cortex-A8 CPU core used in the A4 is also used in Samsung's S5PC110A01 SoC.[16][17]

The A4 processor package does not contain RAM, but supports PoP installation. The top package of the A4 used in the iPad, in the iPod Touch[18] 4th gen and in the Apple TV[19] 2nd gen contains two low-power 128 MB DDR SDRAM chips for a total of 256 MB RAM. For the iPhone 4 there are two chips of 256 MB for a total of 512 MB.[20][21][22] RAM is connected to the processor using ARM's 64-bit-wide AMBA 3 AXI bus. This is twice the width of the memory buses of the SoCs used by the contemporary Apple iPhone and iPod touch, supporting the greater need for graphics bandwidth in the iPad.[23]

History[edit]

The Apple A4 chip, along with the original iPad, was announced on January 27, 2010, during Apple's "Latest Creation" event.[6]

On June 7, 2010, Steve Jobs publicly confirmed that the iPhone 4 would contain the A4 processor, although it was not yet known at the time if it would have the same frequency, bus width, or caches as the A4 found in the earlier produced iPad.[7]

On September 1, 2010, the iPod Touch (4th generation), and the Apple TV (2nd generation) were updated to include the A4 processor. Later, on October 4, 2011, Apple refreshed the iPod Touch (4th generation) to add a white model, along with the existing black model. Both models still contain the A4 processor.[24]

Products that include the Apple A4[edit]

  • iPad: April 2010
  • iPhone 4: June 2010 (Black; GSM), February 2011 (Black; CDMA), April 2011 (White; GSM & CDMA models)
  • iPod Touch (4th generation): September 2010 (Black model), October 2011 (White model)
  • Apple TV (2nd generation): September 2010

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ iOS 5.1 code hints at simultaneous A5X and A6 processor development
  2. ^ a b Cheng, Jacqui (March 14, 2011). "Ars reviews the iPad 2: big performance gains in a slimmer package / The Apple A5". Ars Technica. Retrieved July 13, 2011. 
  3. ^ Klug, Brian; Lal Shimpi, Anand (June 30, 2010). "Apple's iPhone 4: Thoroughly Reviewed". AnandTech. Retrieved September 20, 2013. 
  4. ^ Clark, Don (2010-04-05). "Apple iPad Taps Familiar Component Suppliers - WSJ.com". Online.wsj.com. Retrieved 2010-04-15. 
  5. ^ "iPad - It's thin, light, powerful, and revolutionary". Apple. Archived from the original on 6 July 2010. Retrieved 2010-07-07. 
  6. ^ a b c "Apple Launches iPad" (Press release). Apple. 2010-01-27. Archived from the original on 30 January 2010. Retrieved 2010-01-28. 
  7. ^ a b "iPhone 4 design". Apple. 2010-07-06. 
  8. ^ Vance, Ashlee (2010-02-21). "For Chip Makers, the Next Battle Is in Smartphones". New York Times. Archived from the original on 25 February 2010. Retrieved 2010-02-25. 
  9. ^ Wiens, Kyle (2010-04-05). "conclusion from both hard and software analysis it uses an ARM Cortex-A8 core". Ifixit.com. Archived from the original on 18 April 2010. Retrieved 2010-04-15. 
  10. ^ "iPad — Technical specifications and accessories for iPad". Apple. Archived from the original on 30 January 2010. Retrieved 2010-01-28. 
  11. ^ Melanson, Donald (2010-02-23). "iPad confirmed to use PowerVR SGX graphics". Engadget. 
  12. ^ "Chipworks Confirms Apple A4 iPad chip is fabbed by Samsung in their 45-nm process". Chipworks. April 15, 2010. Archived from the original on 21 September 2010. 
  13. ^ Stokes, Jon (2010-04-28). "Apple purchase of Intrinsity confirmed". Ars Technica. Archived from the original on 28 April 2010. Retrieved 2010-04-28. 
  14. ^ Merritt, Rick. "Samsung, Intrinsity pump ARM to GHz rate". EETimes.com. Retrieved 2010-04-23. 
  15. ^ Keizer, Gregg (2010-04-06). "Apple iPad smokes past the iPhone 3GS in speed". PC World. Archived from the original on 20 April 2010. Retrieved 2010-04-11. 
  16. ^ Boldt, Paul; Scansen, Don; Whibley, Tim (16 June 2010). "Apple's A4 dissected, discussed...and tantalizing". EETimes.com. Retrieved 2010-07-07. 
  17. ^ "Microsoft PowerPoint - Apple A4 vs SEC S5PC110A01" (PDF). Archived from the original on 4 July 2010. Retrieved 2010-07-07. 
  18. ^ "Teardown of Apple's 4th-gen iPod touch finds 256MB of RAM". Appleinsider.com. 2010-09-08. Archived from the original on 11 September 2010. Retrieved 2010-09-10. 
  19. ^ "Apple TV 2nd Generation Teardown". iFixit. 2010-09-30. Archived from the original on 2 January 2011. Retrieved 2011-01-04. 
  20. ^ "Apple reveals iPhone 4 has 512MB RAM, doubling iPad - report". Appleinsider.com. 2010-06-17. Archived from the original on 4 July 2010. Retrieved 2010-07-07. 
  21. ^ "A Peek Inside Apple’s A4 Processor". iFixit. 2010-04-05. 
  22. ^ Greenberg, Marc (2010-04-09). "Apple iPad: no LPDDR2?". Denali. 
  23. ^ Merritt, Rick (2010-04-09). "iPad equipped to deliver richer graphics". EE Times Asia. Retrieved 2010-04-14. 
  24. ^ http://www.apple.com/ipodtouch/specs.html

External links[edit]