Apple’s A6 Processor Reportedly Enters Trial Production; No September 7 iPhone Announcement; Samsung Galaxy S II U.S. Debut Coming Aug. 29Posted by CharlesMoore on Sunday Aug 14, 2011 Under iPhone 5 News, iPhone 5 Rumor
Apple’s next-generation ARM A6 processor chip, believed to be a quad-core unit destined to power future iPad and iPhone models, has reached production trials at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., Ltd. (TSMC), according to a China Economic News Service report by Steve Chuang.
TSMC, reportedly the world’s largest semiconductor foundry by market share, is projected to have the production design finalized sometime in the first quarter of 2012, with public unveiling by Apple in Q2 2011 ” at the earliest,” according to industry sources cited in by Chuang, who goes on to say that TSMC is applying its latest 28-nanometer process and 3D stacking technologies to produce the A6, which will also benefit from TSMC’s cutting-edge silicon interposer and bump on trace (BOT) methodologies.
Needless to say, the A6 chip will not be found in the next iPhone, which is expected to finally get Apple’s dual-core A5 CPU that has been powering the iPad 2 since last March. It is widely anticipated that the A6 chip will make its public debut in an iPad, although it won’t necessarily be the iPad 3, which is expected to roll out in February or March of next year. However, if rumors that an upgraded iPad 2 with a Retina Display will be released before the iPad 3 — possibly before the end of this year — bear out, that could provide Apple with some breathing space to delay release of the iPad 3 until the A6 is ready toward mid-year.
And if that timeline plays out, it will probably push any A6-powered iPhone (iPhone 6?) release forward to fall 2012 at the earliest, or even into 2013. After all, there’s still no A5-powered iPhone going on six months after its iPad 2 debut.
Speaking of that, on Friday Loop Insight’s well-connected Jim Dalrymple poured cold water on the rumor that a new iPhone is coming at an Apple Event alleged to be scheduled for September 7. Dalrymple says he has it on good authority from his sources that there will be no new iPhone launch on Sept. 7, but that if and when a September special event takes place, opinion is still split among his sources on whether the device announced will be a relatively modest Phone 4 upgrade or a major redesign with many new features (that presumably would be called iPhone 5).
Meanwhile, it’s looking like Samsung will almost certainly beat the next iPhone to market with its Galaxy S II handset, which a report by PCWorld’s Daniel Ionescu says is ready for its U.S. unveiling at a Samsung press event scheduled to be held on August 29.
Ionescu reports that the Galaxy S II has already sold a record 3 million units in just 55 days in other markets, and lists its feature set as including a 4.3-inch display, a 1.2 GHz dual core processor, 1GB of RAM, and a 8-megapixel camera packed into its superthin form factor. He also says that significantly different variants will be offered by different carriers respectively, with the AT&T Galaxy S II “Attain”rumored be getting a slide-out QWERTY keyboard, while Sprint’s version to be called “Within “expected to have 4G WiMAX connectivity, and the Galaxy S II for Verizon (“Celox?”) may support 4G LTE connectivity, a larger 4.5-inch display, and a dual-core 1.5Ghz CPU, although these relatively radical deviations in the Verizon model are highly speculative at this point, and could indicate that Verizon will get a handset based on a different Samsung model than the Galaxy S II.
And finally, adding a bit more intrigue to the mix, The Economic Times reports that Orange, the France Telecom subsidiary that is Apple’s official partner in France, is advertising a job opening for an engineer who will be expected to work with Apple’s fifth-generation handset, and tasked to define “as precisely as possible, of what impact a handset like the iPhone 5 will have on clients’ Internet use, as well as a vague reference to a modification of the handset’s use by “iPhone 5″ users.” Make of that what you will, friends.
[Updated for more clarity on rumored Samsung Galaxy S II carrier spec. variants.]