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Apple M4 Processor Debuts in New iPads

All-day confidence

The Apple M4 processor in the company’s just-launched iPads integrates features introduced in previous Apple processors, including a similarly speedy Neural Engine NPU as the A17 Pro and a GPU supporting ray tracing and mesh shading like the M3. Top-end iPads get an M4 with four performance and six efficiency CPUs.
It’s unclear if these CPUs share the A17 Pro’s or M3’s microarchitecture as Apple only compared them with the M2 found in the previous-generation iPads. Compared with the M2’s P-core, however, the M4’s big CPU is revamped, featuring wider front- and back-ends and a deeper pipeline. They also integrate better ML acceleration, although it’s unclear if Apple is alluding to a faster AMX coprocessor, new Arm SVE instructions, or something else. Frustrating as the company’s limited disclosure is, Apple doesn’t need to reveal any details. Being end users, its customers are interested only in what cool new things they can do. Like a detergent’s blue crystals, techy details are fun to talk about but irrelevant. Unfortunately, while Apple talked about the M4, wowed audiences with the iPad’s thinness, and dazzled the eyes with an awesome new screen, it didn’t show new applications enabled by these technologies.
That said, let me know if you’re interested in Apple’s microarchitectural details. They can be obtained through software-based reverse engineering.





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