This one caught us off guard, but Apple just announced the A6 SoC powering the new iPhone 5 features 2x faster CPU and GPU performance compared to the iPhone 4S. Apple reserves major Ax SoC number iterations for architecture changes, combine that with the performance claims as well as some other stuff we've heard offline and there's one conclusion: the iPhone 5 uses ARM Cortex A15 cores inside. Update: It uses a custom Apple core!

Our guess is two cores. No word on the GPU yet.

The A6 is 22% smaller than the A5, although it's not clear if that's a package or die size claim yet. There's a good chance this is built on Samsung's 32nm LP HK+MG process.



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  • lowlymarine - Wednesday, September 12, 2012 - link

    Are you kidding? MSM8960 (Dual-core Krait @ 1.5GHz) is probably the single most common SoC on the market today. A partial list of phones using it:
    HTC One S (all) and Droid Incredible 4G LTE
    HTC One XL/LTE One X/Evo 4G LTE
    LTE Galaxy S 3
    Nokia Lumia 820 and 920
    Motorola Droid RAZR HD and Atrix HD
    Sony Xperia V
    ZTE V96
  • dishayu - Thursday, September 13, 2012 - link

    Yeah, well, sadly, not all One S are dual core kraits.

    The one that sells in India (and a handful more countries) comes with a dual core scorpion at 1.7 Ghz.
  • Roland00Address - Thursday, September 13, 2012 - link

    Type "ctrl+f" and search for Krait it lists multiple models of krait depending on dual core vs quad core, mhz speed, and what form of baseband modem
  • mrtanner70 - Wednesday, September 12, 2012 - link

    I agree. It could be a maximally clocked A9 at 32nm. I hope its A15 though. Reply
  • 3DoubleD - Wednesday, September 12, 2012 - link

    You might be right, they could just be running higher clocked dual A9s.

    As for the A15s in Android devices, those should be releasing imminently. That said, dual 1.5GHz Krait cores are plenty of power. So much so, I still haven't bothered flashing my SGSIII with CM or some other stock android build. Ya, TouchWiz (or whatever they are calling it now) is ugly, but I'm mostly holding out for stable CM10/JB.

    In the end, I wouldn't be totally surprised if Apple was the first to release A15s though. They are willing to pay for it. They've been paying for their MASSIVE SoCs for the past few generations now. If you are Nvidia, you need to produce chips that will sell in high volume. Most manufacturers aren't willing to buy a chip 4x the size. Apple on the other hand can design this chip, contract out Samsung, and get the volume they need to make workout on the quarterly spreadsheets.

    Only other company that can do this is Samsung themselves.
  • name99 - Wednesday, September 12, 2012 - link

    "Only other company that can do this is Samsung themselves."

    You forget that Apple are IMMENSELY disciplined in how they reuse chips across all their devices, from iPads to iPod Touch's to Apple TVs. This reuse allows them a whole lot of scope for getting use out of chips that are less than perfect (one of two cores doesn't work, power or frequency targets aren't hit, etc).

    Samsung, in THEORY, could do this; but in practice they are as indisciplined as every other CE manufacturer, using a random collection of chips across a constantly mutating product line, with zero thought given to these sorts of holistic issues.

    The only comparable company I see is Intel, which likewise designs its product line for maximal value from somewhat defective devices and maximal reuse of IP.
  • Swamp - Wednesday, September 12, 2012 - link

    you do realize this is a phone. right??

    If it was a tablet, yeah I'd want a fast cpu/gpu. But its just a phone.

    Nothing special...

    Same boring design as the first iphone. Cant even tell them apart.
  • name99 - Wednesday, September 12, 2012 - link

    Amazing how the SAME people who insist that Apple buyers are driven by fashion seem to care a lot more about the appearance of the iPhone than its ACTUAL buyers.

    And if you can't tell the difference between iPhone and iPhone 5 you're an idiot.
  • miskol - Saturday, September 15, 2012 - link

    "Same boring design as the first iphone. Cant even tell them apart."

    woww... iPhone 2G and iPhone 5 have "same boring design"???

    pure idiot. just shutup, and go talk to a wall...
  • lowlymarine - Wednesday, September 12, 2012 - link

    "The best they have is still the OMAP 4470. Pathetic."

    Funny you should say that, because my first thought on Apple's announcement was "huh, that sounds EXACTLY like the OMAP 4470." Think about it: 2x Cortex-A9 at 1.5+ GHz, and an SGX544 MP2 for graphics. That would provide almost exactly twice the current A5's performance in both areas.

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