Apple left a lot of room for criticism with its first generation iPad, not the least of which is the inability for widespread multitasking (at least until the next OS update). But while we can fault Apple for leaving out essentials like upgradeable storage, USB ports, cameras, and Flash support, one area that hasn't come under fire is the custom A4 processor based on ARM's Cortex A8 design. The iPad just feels responsive, whether you're flipping through pages of apps or scrolling through hundreds of photos.
Come 2011, the magical tablet from Cupertino will be even faster. According to Digitimes Research senior analyst Mingchi Kuo, the upgraded 9.7-inch iPad slated for a Q1 2011 release will boast a new ARM Cortex-A9 based processor along with twice the amount of RAM at 512MB.
Depending on how Apple customizes the Cortex A9 chip, the company could have a very potent tablet on its hands. The Cortex A9 processor is available as either a single-core or configurable multi-core processor (up to four cores) running at 2GHz. In terms of clockspeed alone, that's twice as fast as the current-gen iPad's A4 processor.
Meanwhile, we're still left twiddling our thumbs waiting for everyone else to release their own handheld tablet PCs, a bevy of which have been announced for a late 2010 launch.