Developer, Nick Frey (via 9to5Mac) has discovered code references in the latest iOS 7 beta, which suggests that Apple is developing the next generation A-series chip, most likely to be called A7, that could be used in iPhone 5S.
Frey has discovered a reference to an S5L8960x application processor, which appears to be a new version of the A-series chip. The A6 chip which powers the iPhone 5 is codenamed s5l8950x and the A6X chip which powers the iPad 4 is codenamed S5l8955x.
9to5Mac reports that Apple’s new system-on-chip will include some Samsung components:
Interestingly, it appears that Apple will again work with Samsung for this new chip. The main system-on-a-chip will include some Samsung components- at least to power the display, according to analysis of the above code by a person familiar with Apple’s chip design process. This contrasts with a rumor from earlier this year (like every year) claiming that Apple will switch to TSMC on the A7 processor.
This source also says that over the past couple of years, Apple has hit roadblocks (in relation to processing speed) with both the upcoming A7 and A8 chip, but it appears those that issues have been resolved.
Back in June, leaked photos of iPhone 5S revealed the new iPhone chip has a K1A0062 identifier, which indicated the chip may be made by TSMC instead of Samsung, as chips manufactured by Samsung typically start with an “N”.
There have been rumors and speculations that Apple is working on reducing its reliance on Samsung by shifting its chip manufacturing business to TSMC, but it doesn’t look like it is happening anytime soon.
It is also possible that Apple will use both Samsung and TSMC to produce the A7 chip, to reduce the risk of depending on just one company to manufacture its chips.
So what do we know about the A7 chip? So far not much, but the leaked iPhone 5S photo revealed it may come with only 1GB RAM (same as the iPhone 5 and iPad 4).