DigiTimes has reportedly heard from its Far East sources that Apple will equip its sixth iPhone with a quad-core ARM chip based on Samsung’s Exynos 4 architecture. Other details on the purported CPU, including graphics processing capabilities or clock speed, haven’t been provided.
The latest iPhone 4S released in 2011 boasts an Apple-made 800Mhz dual-core processor nicknamed the “A5.” The company started using the chipset in its mobile devices months earlier, in the second-gen iPad, where it was clocked slightly higher at 1Ghz thanks to a more spacious design with a larger battery.
When launching the new iPad this March, Apple didn’t introduce a true next-gen processor. Instead, the updated tablet was powered by an improved variant of the old chip dubbed the “A5X.” That chipset is based on Samsung’s 45nm low-power architecture also featured in the iPhone 4S and iPad 2’s A5 CPU.
The key difference between the A5X and its predecessor was an enhanced integrated graphics chip. While the processor itself remained dual-core, Apple upgraded the GPU to quad-core in order to drive the device’s ultrahigh-resolution Retina Display packing a total of 3.1 million pixels.
If the new iPhone indeed sports a quad-core ARM chipset, the upgrade could supposedly be significant enough to grant the processor the “A6” moniker. According to DigiTimes, launching a quad-core iPhone will help Apple successfully compete with other quad-core handsets.
In the second quarter of this year, a string of quad-core smartphones, including those made by Samsung, LG, HTC and Meizu, has already hit the market. The top offering is the Galaxy S III, Samsung and Google’s flagship Android-based handset. So far, the quad-core version of the device has only been available overseas, while the LTE-aware model launched in the U.S. incorporates a dual-core Snapdragon S4 CPU. The quad-core LTE Galaxy S III is slated for launch next week, but only in Korea.
The abundance of Qualcomm chips is also expected to prompt smartphone makers to design more quad-core models in the second half of 2012.