Many believe that 2012 is going to be the year that quad core processing comes to mobile devices like the smartphone and tablet. But if Apple chooses to skip quad core technology on the A6 chip, will the iPhone 5 pay the price?
Thus far in the past few years, we’ve had “The Year of the iPhone” (several times) and “The Year of the iPad.” For some reason, Google has yet to claim, “The Year of Android,” which is interesting, since all a marketing department has to do is say it in order to claim it as their own.
But that’s for another article. Maybe.
2012 may be deemed “The Year of the iPhone 5,” but for real tech junkies, it was also be “The Year That Quad Core Broke Into The Mobile Gadgets Market.” Ok, it doesn’t really have that zing to it, but given the rumors of quad core goodness in the air, it is a fair moniker. we recently reported on rumors of a quad core-tipped Motorola Atrix 3, which, with Google at the helm, could rise to become their mano e mano answer to the iPhone. But there are more quad core Androids coming than just the Atrix 3 – NVIDIA is Promising to ship oodles of Tegra 3 smartphones starting, well, now. This year’s Mobile World Congress is reportedly going to be ground zero for quad core smartphones.
The ascendency of the quad core smartphone is leading tech pundits to imagine that if the A6 chip turns out to be not quad core, that it will constitute an epic fail for the world’s must hyped smartphone.
Cue the panic:
Mark Chubb over at Phones Review run an article today entitled, “iPhone 5 success on release could be dented if no quad-core,” wherein he stipulates, “It’s inevitable that the iPhone 5 will be a hit, almost regardless of how it actually turns out,” but that “it seems there will be a positive cornucopia of smartphone offerings this year featuring the NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad-core processor and very soon dual-core processor smartphones will seem outdated.” At face value, Chubb’s concern is understandable: imagine that 2012 is chock full of quad core smartphones, and the iPhone 5 is left holding the bag with a dual core A6.
He goes on to remind us that Apple was reportedly testing both a dual core and quad core-powered iPhone 5 in the past, so that it isn’t as if quad core is completely off the radar for Cupertino. As a result, it’s hard to know if the recent reports that the A6 might not be quad core is little more than a ruse to lower expectations on the A6 ahead of its deployment in the iPad 3.
But let’s imagine for a minute if the iPad 3 and iPhone 5 fail to feature a quad core A6. Could this technology lapse really hurt the iPhone 5?
On paper, if the success of the iPhone 4S last year would have been determined on how it matched up with rival Androids, it would have been an epic fail for Apple. The iPhone 4S, after all, failed to deliver on 4G LTE and a larger screen — two majorly important features that were widely available on Android smartphones, and features that iPhone users explicitly wanted, according to polls.
And yet, in spite of this, the iPhone 4S has gone on to enjoy record sales.
The fact is, Apple has managed to build into its products an intangible that transcends any letdown that not getting quad core may entail. Sure, the Geeknorati will not be pleased — but are they ever? When it comes to the average Joes and Josephines who buy and love the iPhone, their thresholds for excitement and disappointment in a new iPhone model do not seriously consider whether dual core or quad core make it a success or failure.
Besides which, Apple does have a propensity for getting equal or even more performance out of processors that are not necessarily as technically powerful as their rivals.
I still think that there is a good shot for the quad core A6, anyway. Or, if it turns out to not be quad core, it will have some other impressive feature, like the 3D transistor architecture we’ve heard about before. Either way, I don’t see a dual core A6 slowing down iPhone 5 buzz or sales in 2012.
By Michael Nace