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New iPads, Apple TV boxes to share 'A5X' chip (report)

Apple's next tablet and Apple TV set-top box will share the same, souped up dual-core chip, a new report says.

Apple's Airplay Mirroring feature running on the iPad 2 and the Apple TV.
Apple's Airplay Mirroring feature running on the iPad 2 and the Apple TV.

Adding to previous chatter, a new report says Apple will unveil a new Apple TV set-top box alongside its next iPad.

In a report this afternoon, The Verge says both devices will get their debut at tomorrow morning's special event and that there's a reason for that: they both use the same chip.

Citing anonymous sources, The Verge says the chip will be the previously rumored (and photographed) "A5X," versus the A6--the latter being the expected quad-core chip and successor to the dual-core A5, currently used in the iPad 2 and iPhone 4S.

Separately, a source told CNET that Apple plans to use a dual-core chip, versus one with four cores.

The Verge's report also mentions that Apple's next tablet will feature more RAM than the iPad 2, include the much-rumored 2048x1526 Retina Display, and support 4G LTE, with Apple offering separate models to support the different standards, as it did with the 3G models of the iPad 2. (Note: this is the second such report today to offer that the next iPad will support 4G LTE networks.)

As for what's new with the Apple TV set-top box, The Verge says it will get support for 1080p (up from the current model's 720p output), a move tied to the AirPlay mirroring feature that works on the iPhone 4S, iPad 2, and presumably the next iPad. Considering that Apple doesn't offer 1080p content through its iTunes Store, the 720p limitation has made sense, but bigger resolutions will be more important, given the much-rumored higher resolution on the tablet, as well as the upcoming Mountain Lion OS X update, which will let Mac users beam their screens to their TV sets.

The Apple TV--which is not to be confused with Apple's much-rumored, and eventually expected, TV set--has been in short supply in recent weeks, with a report from MacRumors last night noting that you can't find one in 98 percent of Apple's retail stores in the United States. Retailers began discounting the product as long ago as November, with Amazon changing the listing to the "2010" model.

Apple is widely expected to take the wraps off the next iPad at its event tomorrow morning, with a new report today claiming that the device will go on sale on March 16. CNET will be there to cover the event live.

CNET Blog Network contributor Brooke Crothers contributed to this report.