Apple’s Cyclone microarchitecture detailed

Apple’s Cyclone microarchitecture detailed


Anand Lai Shimpi, writing for Anandtech:

At the launch of the iPhone 5s, Apple referred to the A7 as being “desktop class” – it turns out that wasn’t an exaggeration.

… Looking at Cyclone makes one thing very clear: the rest of the players in the ultra mobile CPU space didn’t aim high enough. I wonder what happens next round.

The full article is an interesting dive into the A7 chipset. It’s clear that Apple’s early purchases of semi-conductor companies is paying off, and has effectively made Apple the current leader.

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SurfacePad case now available for iPad mini

iPad mini surfacepad case

The SurfacePad case — a nifty iPad accessory from the folks over at Twelve South — is now available for the iPad mini. The case combines a front cover that makes use of the magnets in the iPad mini, as well as an adhesive back to offer a little more protection than what Apple’s solution offers. The whole case is made of leather, and goes for $69.99 in one of three colors (red, black, or white) on Twelve South’s website. If you’re in the market, I wholeheartedly recommend this case — Twelve South makes excellent accessories.

[Twelve South]

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Apple expands its “Your Verse” ad campaign

Screen Shot 2014-02-18 at 10.18.26 AM

Apple’s “Your Verse” ad campaign expanded today with “Elevating the expedition,” which includes footage and other information about how mountaineers Emily Harrington and Adrian Ballinger used the iPad to help their climb. It’s an interesting story, though obviously an ad campaign. Frankly, though, I stayed for the beautiful photos — photos that, I’m pretty sure, weren’t captured with an iPad. Still, it’s interesting to see the flexibility of the iPad. Also, Apple is getting fantastic at designing these types of web pages.

[Elevating the expedition]

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Will iOS 8 support the iPhone 4, iPad 2, iPad mini, and iPod touch 5G?

iOSApple isn’t slated to release iOS 8 until much later this year, but the announcement is expected in a matter of months at the annual Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC).  With iOS 7 still under active development — iOS 7.1 is expected to hit soon, bringing various UI tweaks and bug fixes — most haven’t begun to think about iOS 8. However, there is one question worth considering, particularly when buying new devices: what devices will be supported?  (more…)

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Apple will now pay for your water-damaged iPhone, iPad


Have an iPhone that you dropped in the toilet? Tried to save its life by drowning it in rice for a week to no avail? Well Apple now has an answer for you. They’ll pay you for that poor, lifeless device. Apple’s iOS device recycling program has always promised a gift card in return for your used iPhone, iPad, MacBook, or Mac desktop, but they’re now extending the program–as of Monday–to accept the iPhone and iPad in water-logged form.

Impressively, the prices Apple is offering for water damaged devices are actually quite fair. A 32 GB Verizon iPhone 5 will snag you a full $235 Apple gift card. Want to know if your device is technically water damaged in Apple’s opinion? Check out this support article.

Does anyone have a water damaged device that they might sell now that this is an option?


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Retina iPad mini has worse color gamut than iPad Air


The iPad Air and the latest generation iPad mini don’t have many differences. Many reviews have condensed the comparison between the two devices to simply deciding the size display you prefer. If you want a smaller screen and a slightly more portable device, get an iPad mini. If  you want the same exact performance and features in a slightly bigger package, get the iPad Air. Reviewers and pundits have been able to come to this conclusion because there is almost no sacrifice when going with the cheaper, smaller, and equally as powerful iPad mini with Retina display.

But it turns out that might not be completely true. As reported by Anandtech, the iPad mini’s retina display is quite simply incapable of showing as many colors as the iPad Air. As you can see in the graph above, color gamut, which is a rating of the range of colors a device’s screen can display, is notably worse on the latest iPad mini in comparison to even the Nexus 7 and the NVIDIA Tegra Note 7. The only device on the graph worse than the iPad mini with Retina display is actually the first generation iPad mini.

The display is by no means “bad,” though. Most say that the difference isn’t even noticeable unless coming directly from a device such as the iPad Air and comparing them side by side. How do you feel about this? Would it make you prefer the iPad Air?


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Some iPad mini models suffering from image retention

As the retina iPad mini is getting in to more hands, there have been limited reports of the device’s display suffering from image retention.

Image retention, or ghosting, is an issue that certain LCDs can have. It is usually associated with newer panels, such as the one in the retina iPad mini, though it has also been seen on the first-generation retina MacBook Pro and the third-generation iPad.

Marco Arment was among the first to report the issue, and he put together a web page to test the problem. Since image retention isn’t specifically covered by the warranty, it is likely to be hard to get the device replaced — you could, however, exchange it for another color or capacity.

Luckily, the issue seems limited to a very small number of devices, with most people reporting on Twitter and in forums that their devices do not exhibit this behavior.

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Speed up and improve iOS 7 on the iPad mini, iPad 2, and iPod touch

iOS 7 iPad

iOS 7 brings about various new features and enhancements. These features and enhancements can be very useful, but iOS 7 also currently brings with it decreased performance, particularly on A5-based devices.

Users of those devices, which include the iPad mini, iPad 2, and iPod touch G5, can make certain changes to improve their experience on Apple’s latest OS. While hopefully a future update will improve performance for these devices (two of which are still being sold by Apple), the following settings can all be changed now.

Almost all of these changes are done in the, and are located under the accessibility option in general settings. (more…)

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The retina iPad mini’s A7 chip runs at 1.3 GHz

With the latest iPad models, Apple has standardized on the A7 chip originally shown in the iPhone 5S. This chip offers the best performance in the market, besting even Intel’s x86 Atom chip in some benchmarks.

While the difference between the A7 and other market-leaders such as the Snapdragon 800 and Intel Atom is only truly noticeable in benchmarks, the difference between the A7 and the A5 — the chip that powered the original iPad mini — is massive. In fact, the latest upgrade offers 5X the performance of the original model, according to Geekbench 3, all while having twice the number of pixels to power and maintaing the same ten-hour battery life.


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