Why it matters: You would expect the 2020 iPad Pros to come with an all-new Apple SoC, but the latest generation of tablets feature an A12Z chip that's the same as the A12X processor found in the 2018 iPad Pros, only with an extra GPU core enabled.
Apple unveiled the revamped iPad Pros alongside an updated MacBook Air last month. Rather than featuring an upgraded version of the A13 SoC found in the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro, the slates feature the A12Z. Offering a very small performance increase over their predecessors, it was suspected that the chip was a re-binned A12X, and now it's been confirmed.
TechInsights did an analysis of the two chips and found that they are virtually identical. Apple did say that one of the benefits of the A12Z was the addition of an eighth GPU core, as opposed to the A12X's seven, but it was discovered that the latter SoC actually shipped with eight cores, though one of them was disabled.
Our analysis confirms #Apple #A12Z GPU chip found inside #iPadPro (model A2068) is the same as A12X predecessor. A report of our findings is underway & will be available as part of TechInsights' #Logic Subscription. Learn more here https://t.co/WWQqlPorNF pic.twitter.com/RsQEADpZsc--- TechInsights (@techinsightsinc) April 13, 2020
It's unclear why Apple disabled one of the A12X's eight GPU cores, though this is a common practice. It could have been related to yield levels, which may have now improved, but it was still a surprise to see the company opt for what is essentially the same chip in the new iPad Pros. Some reports claim that Apple did not want to develop a new A13X processor for the latest iPads, and that another revision of the tablets will arrive this fall with an A14X SoC, which would be bad news for those who've just bought the 2020 iPad Pro refresh.