Remember the A6? It was the next-generation processor that was anticipated for the iPad 3, which almost inexplicably turned out to be the A5X, a chip that had been rumored though few expected would actually show up, particularly with a quad-core GPU used to manage the New iPad’s slick retina display. With the A5X already out in the open, many have wondered if the iPhone 5 would come equipped with the same chip, or something different. It is not expected that the iPhone 5 would feature a display that would have to be powered by the likes of the A5x.
Enter the A6 — yet again — to the iPhone 5 rumor mill.
The fresh rumor about the A6 comes by way of a DigitTimes article, which talks about the overall rise of quad-core processors in this year’s top-tier smartphones. The article ends simply by stating: “Additionally, Apple is also expected to release its next-generation iPhone built on Samsung’s Exynos 4 quad-core processor in the second half, heating up competition in the segment, commented the sources.”
Apple has never been one to worry as much about the competition when it comes to hardware upgrades as it does about what its devices actually need in order to succeed with its user base. Case in point: the iPhone’s display size. While its Android-powered competitors have far surpassed the screen dimensions of the iPhone, Apple (to this point) has remained steadfast in its smaller screen. With this design ethic in mind, it’s hard to imagine that Apple would simply throw in a quad-core A6 processor, unless the quad core architecture would contribute to higher performance for the iPhone 5.
And even though the A6 might not end up being Apple’s first quad core mobile chip simply because the GS3 is quad core, well, it still won’t hurt to match them tit for tat in the processing department — and least for those in the marketplace who care about quad core versus dual core.
Always on one’s mind when hearing about improved and increased power in the processing department, however, is the enduring concern about battery life and energy use on the upcoming iPhone and beyond. As you may recall, there was a disturbing report recently about the battery production quality at Apple, with only 30% of their batteries functioning at optimal capacity. I suggested at that time that, if the report proved to be true, that it could have release date implications for the iPhone 5, depending on how endemic the problem really is. If the iPhone 5 will be featuring a quad core A6 processor, the need for the right battery will be all the more important.
All of this being said, the appearance of this “new” A6 chip rumor, should it prove to be true, only continues to point to the iPhone 5 delivering major hardware overhauls. Let’s just hope it happens sooner rather than later.
By Michael Nace