Apple may have contacted a few Taiwan-based suppliers for core silicon components
Apple unveiled the A4 System-on-Chip processor with the iPad launch in January last year. Later the same A4 Chip was used in the iPhone 4, fourth generation iPod touch and second generation Apple TV. Now a Hong Kong based newspaper Apple Daily has reported that Apple is working on the next generation iPhone and has contacted a few Taiwan-based suppliers for the components. It’s being speculated that Apple is working on the ARM architecture based A8 System-on-Chip for the iPhone 5 and other devices.
The Apple A4 chip clocked at 1Ghz consists of an ARM Cortex A8 processor core and PowerVR SGX535 graphics crammed on a single die of silicon. It’s powerful enough to offer amazing graphics on iPad, iPhone 4, fourth generation iPod touch and second generation Apple TV.
Apple is rumored to have contacted Taiwanese component makers for the A8 SoC packaging. The A8 SoC application processor is planed for the fifth generation iPhone and other devices. There’s no detail about the rumored A8 application processor. However, I believe that the A8 SoC chip would consist of a dual-core processor crammed with PowerVR SGX543 graphics on same silicon.
Recent findings from iOS 4.3 as reported by MacRumors pointed out that the future devices will have PowerVR SGX543 graphics. It’s the same graphics that was rumored back in March 2009 and Apple was believed to be planning a multi-core iPhone. The PowerVR SGX543 supports dual-core processors and also OpenCL (Open Computing Language) that is used on Apple Mac OS X Snow Leopard. The OpenCL allows the operating system to reap benefits of the GPU for general purpose computing and make the best of CPU-GPU combination. In short, future iOS version used with the A8 SoC comprising of multi-core CPU and powerful graphics would certainly make Apple devices more desirable.
As of now, none of these details are confirmed and hence I have to call them a speculation. Quite possible that details of Apple A8 might have been confused with the ARM Cortex-A8 CPU, which resides in the Apple A4 SoC processor. Nevertheless, a dual-core processor iPhone with powerful graphics chip surely seems like a feasible option for Apple, especially after the CES 2011 that brought us a number of 4-inch screen phones running dual-core 1GHz Nvidia Tegra T20 mobile application processor. We don’t mind multi-core smartphones but not at the cost of battery life. We hope Apple comes up with the best of both worlds.