More and more is being said and reported about how the 2012 iPhone 5 may feature a powerful quad core processor. In point of fact, it is one of only a few truly new rumors surrounding the iPhone 5 and what we might expect from it.
According to KnowYourMobile, citing 9to5Mac, code has been found embedded within the latest iOS 5.1 beta that points to the future expansion of the iPhone to include quad core processing: “the ‘core.3’ [code] indicates that there will be four cores in the chipsets used by Apple’s next-generation devices, otherwise known as the iPhone 5 and iPad 3. The report detailed that Apple’s A5 chipset devices – that’s the one found in the iPad 2 and the iPhone 4S – had similar notations in the software code, which read ‘core.1’ – sounds pretty convincing to us. But all this isn’t that surprising, really. Apple will have to come to the table with quad-core devices next year just to keep up with current market trends."
Quad core processing is well established as cutting edge processing technology for high performance laptops, but to include such powerful processing on a small mobile device like the iPhone 5 would give Apple the capabilities of taking the next generation iPhone to new levels in terms of what it can do and how fast it can work. Combined with Apple's commitment to achieving high levels of software optimization with its operating systems (maybe not so much so with the iPhone 4S and its battery drain, but still), the quad core processor could become the lifeblood of a new level of mobile computing alla the iPhone 5.
Related to this new rumor, of course, is a reminder than another rumored processor technology is still floating around in the iPhone 5 rumor mill -- 3D chips.
When you think "3D," you're thinking graphics and displays. But in this case, 3D" refers to a new concept in building processor transistors. Lamont Wood at Computerworld explains it as thus: "Instead of putting dies in separate packages, soldered to a circuit board and sending data through their I/O ports to other chips (i.e., driving through the suburbs), dies are stacked and data is moved from one layer to the next (i.e., via the elevator)." In short, 3D chips allow information to move through the processor much more efficiently -- a necessity in today's fast-changing world of technology.
Last year, we reported on 3D chips and their possible connection to the iPhone 5. On August 20th, 2011, I wrote how the technology could very well be in line for the A6 processor: "The A6 chip that Apple has in the works, however, is seen to be a more than worthy competitor to the new processing power of Android smartphones. The A6 will feature the highly advanced 3D IC technology."
We've yet to hear these rumors come back strong in the early going of the 2012 iPhone 5 rumor mill. But if you're a chip person and are beginning to get excited (again) about the prospect of an iPhone 5, then you have to be encouraged about these two possibilities for what might power the iPhone 5 in 2012.
By Michael Nace