PA Semi

The empty secret of the iPad's brain

March 1, 2010: 6:58 AM ET

Ars Technica suggests that the much-hyped A4 chip may not be all it's cracked up to be

Photo: Apple Inc.

Most companies that go to the trouble and expense of designing a new application processing chip -- like the A4 that powers Apple's iPad -- are eager tell the world all about it.

But not Apple (AAPL), which has said little about the new CPU beyond its name.

In a provocative analysis posted Sunday, Ars Technica co-founder Jon Stokes suggests two reasons for the secrecy.

The first is that Steve Jobs simply loves secrets and the fevered speculation they set off.

The second -- and most likely reason, says Stokes -- is that the chip "just isn't anything to write home about."

"On this second point," he writes, "I actually know a thing or two. If Apple were to tell you what's in the A4, most of the focus would be on what the chip is not, rather than on what the iPad is."


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