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Sep 25, 2014

“iPad Plus” to Get Custom A8X Silicon from Taiwan with Love

In about a month from now Apple will feature a new showcase to announce (and possibly even release) its biggest iPad yet: a jumbo-sized 13-inch tablet which, by the looks of things, could well end up being called iPad Plus.

Confirming rumors that we were hard pressed to believe, Apple this month indeed rolled out not one, but two all-new iPhone models, the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus. Both smartphones rely on the same A8 processor that could well power even a laptop.

Apple has “big” plans

And when we say big, we mean really big. A 13-inch, uber-iPad that’s said to sport an even faster chip called the "A8X." The move wouldn’t be a surprise. Apple has used the “X” designation for tablet chips in the past, and if the planned screen size is any indication, it’s going to need it. A-series chips marked “X” are custom-designed versions of existing SoCs employed by iPhones. These processors are built to output twice or even three times more graphical power, mainly because of the bigger screen size of the iPads. A 13-inch tablet would undoubtedly require the most X-treated chip in the entire Apple lineup.

From Taiwan with love

The rumor comes from Taiwan, where it is said that Apple could be on track to unveil this enterprise-oriented iPad as soon as next month. The Cupertino behemoth hasn’t confirmed any plans to hold another showcase, but it’s happened before - two big events one month apart. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) will be in charge with producing the powerful new silicon which boasts a faster CPU & GPU combo, plus 2GB of RAM. While the extra memory makes sense, the increased graphical output is mandatory, considering the large number of extra pixels. Power efficiency is likely not a problem, as Apple has easily maintained a 10-hour autonomy on all its tablets since day one. A larger tablet would logically include a proportionally larger battery. So that’s one problem that the engineers can tick off their checklist.

Taking on Microsoft

It doesn’t take an expert to see what Apple is doing. With Microsoft eyeing the business sector with its Surface Pro 3, Apple wants to be well positioned to grab a slice of the pie. The versatile iOS already acts as a lever in this outlook, but the device also needs to prove more portable, cost-efficient, and dependable from a security standpoint. Considering Apple's promises for 2014 and the outcome of this year’s iPhone rumors, it’s quite likely that Tim Cook indeed has “one more thing” for us this year.

iPad mockups
Image credits to Martin Hajek

Google Nexus 6 (Motorola Shamu) Leaked Specs Confirm Huge 5.9-Inch QHD Display

Google’s next Nexus smartphone is expected to go on sale by the end of the year, but an exact release date is likely to be revealed next month.

Until then, however, info on the so-called Nexus 6 or Nexus X continues to surface online. Many of these leaks indicate that the next smartphone in the Nexus family will be manufactured by Motorola. Internally known as Motorola Shamu, the smartphone will be much bigger than what we have initially expected. Previous rumors claimed that the Nexus 6 might sport a 5.2-inch display, but new info that has just emerged via 9to5Google indicates that Motorola has something else in mind. Motorola Shamu or Nexus 6/X will boast a huge 5.92-inch display, which is said to support QHD resolution (2560 x 1440 pixels). According to the cited source, Shamu’s screen will offer 498ppi (pixel per inch), which is only slightly lower than LG G3’s QHD display that supports 534ppi.

But the display is not the only part of the upcoming Nexus smartphone that seems to have been enhanced since the previous information leaked online. Instead of the 2300 mAh battery that should have powered the 5.2-inch version of the Nexus 6, the new variant is said to pack a much larger 3200 mAh battery. The main camera has been boosted from 12 to 13 megapixels, and it will be able to record 4K UHD videos. On the front, the Nexus 6 will pack a 2-megapixel camera for selfies and video calls.

The flagship smartphone will be powered by Android L operating system

When it comes to hardware, unsurprisingly, Nexus 6 will be equipped with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 chipset that will accommodate a quad-core processor of unknown speed. However, we do know that the flagship smartphone will be armed with no less than 3GB of RAM, the same amount that’s been included in the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and Sony Xperia Z3. The mock-up that’s now circulating on the Internet may look like the scaled-up version of the Moto X, but 9to5Google claims that there are enough differences between the two devices, which makes them believe this is how the Nexus 6 may look like.

Keep in mind though that the design of the Nexus 6 has yet to be finalized, which means the final product may be slightly different from the mock-up leaked today, but not by much. Although the Nexus branding does not appear on the mock-up, the real smartphone will be launched with the logo of the lineup etched on the back cover.

Motorola Shamu
Image credits to 9to5Google

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