As I conjectured a few weeks ago, Apple switching to a 32nm process in a tweaked version of the A5 processor in the ‘old’ iPad, (called iPad 2,4) has resulted in better battery life. Anandtech ran some tests and the difference is hefty, clocking in at close to 16% more life on the same battery.
This bodes well for a 32nm LTE iPhone this fall, as it should show up alongside a 28nm Qualcomm chip and a slightly improved battery, retaining current iPhone 4S usage times, even with LTE.
In addition, the 32nm die being smaller decreases the fail-rate of their manufacture, driving down costs slightly and increasing the margins on the most important iPad Apple sells.
This also allows Apple to test the 32nm part in a ‘stealthy’ way, rolling it out in a subset of older iPad 2s in order to give them time to suss out the issues that could arise.
I think ‘making it cheaper to manufacture’ is always on the agenda for Apple, but in this case they’re also using the iPad as a testbed for a smaller, less power-hungry process that they can implement on a larger scale in the next iPhone. It’s brilliant.
It smacks of the aggressive supply chain magic that Tim Cook has been performing since way back when he got the COO slot.
There are plenty of things that have made Apple successful that you can attribute to other people. Steve’s drive and editorial vision, Jony Ive’s clean Deiter-Rams inspired designs, Forstall’s hotly competitive software-perfectionist agenda. Those are all reasons that Apple has made some brilliant and delightful products over the past several years. But they aren’t examples of the kind of logistical brilliance that has made it the biggest company in the world.
Cheaper to make and more power conscious, widens margins, eats up power differential of LTE for iPhone and enables testing of new parts in a low pressure-high volume environment. And does it all at once. That’s Tim Cook.