A new iPad has shown up in some development logs running what it appears to be the A6 processor, but from there the mystery just deepens that much more.
According to a developer that spoke with MacRumors, a new iPad has been showing up in user logs with the designation of “iPad3,6.” As a point of reference, the New iPad generally shows up in logs as iPad3,1, iPad3,2 and iPad3,3 to denote the various Wi-Fi and cellular models, so an iPad3,6 is definitely something that hasn’t been seen before. The oddities here are that this 3,6 model appears to be running an A6 processor, the latest chip from Apple that has thus far only appeared in the iPhone 5.
There have been rumors that a retooled New iPad to launch alongside the long-rumored iPad mini this month, but that speculation had mainly run to the concept of the Lightning port making its way to the larger tablet. To bump up the flagship tablet from the A5X processor to the A6 would certainly make the lives of developers easier, but wouldn’t that qualify as more than just a “retooling?”
It’s true, companies can secure better pricing with the more volume of a product it orders, and if Apple was purchasing the A6 processor for both the iPhone 5 and a refresh of the New iPad, that would certainly drop the cost. This large of a change, however, is usually reserved for a completely new launch and would make you think that it would launch in the iPad 4. Along that same line of thought, if this is an early test of the fourth generation tablet, wouldn’t it be designated as “iPad4,1” in usage logs? What is believed to be the iPad mini already showed up in developer logs back in Aug. as “iPad2,5” and “iPad2,6,” so that seems to also eliminate the possibility that this is the new 7.85-inch slate.
There is a chance that this is a very early test to see how the A6 performs in an iPad environment. The difference in screen size from the iPhone 5 to the iPad could cause some issues that need more testing, but at this point it is really anone’s guess what this means.
What exactly this “iPad3,6” is is definitely a mystery, but with rumors of an Apple event to be held on Oct. 17, it shouldn’t be too long until we find out the answer.