The iPad mini features the same 32nm A5 processor as the 5th-gen iPod touch and iPad 2, teardown analysis confirms.

Apple's new iPad mini 7.9in tablet features an essentially identical processor to the iPad 2 update in May, one based again on the 32nm Samsung process, it has been confirmed by a chip analysis firm.

Prior to today's iPad mini launch, there had been speculation that Apple would once again update the process for its A5 chip, just as it did when launching the A5X for the third-gen iPad earlier this year. (At the same time as noisily launching the 32nm A5X, Apple quietly updated the process for the A5 chips in the iPad 2 and 5th-gen iPod touch.)

A new process or even a new foundry partner seemed particularly likely since the A5 chip was now appearing in an entirely new product line.

Apple iPad 4 and iPad mini

Apple's iPad 4 (left) and iPad mini

But instead, Chipworks reports that iFixit's teardown research found no changes. The package markings were identical, and cross-section analysis indicated no changes to the gate pitch and metal gates and confirming that the foundry partner was again Samsung (check the Chipworks link for better explanation of the technicalities).

"The foundry for the A5 is confirmed to be Samsung. Basically, we put our device in for a cross section and the images show the same contacted gate pitch and the same high-k metal gates, so we are comfortable with this conclusion," Chipworks said.

Apple iPad mini A5 processor cross section

Cross-section of the iPad mini's A5 processor. Picture courtesy of Chipworks

See also:

Apple iPad mini review

iPad mini unboxing

Apple iPad mini: More reviews are in

Analyst: 'iPad mini is competition's worst nightmare, particularly for Windows 8'

iPad mini launch: the first six at Apple's Regent street store tell us why they queued up