New version of iPhone to Use Quad-Core Processors?

Macworld 2009

There is an interesting rumor emanating from Macworld 2009, both ZdNet and MacRumors are reporting that the iPhone 3.0 firmware will support quad-core processors.

The firmware support for quad-core processors would be to support the upcoming iPhone hardware revision.

In related news, Imagination Technologies will announce a new version of its graphics chip IP at CES 2009 tomorrow.

TGDaily highlights the significance of this launch:

"The PowerVR SGX543 is the firm’s first multi-core capable GPU technology which scales to, in theory, an unlimited number of cores and offer support for GPGPU acceleration. While Imagination’s technology is known to be integrated in graphics products from Intel and Texas Instruments in the past, this new version is especially interesting since Apple could have access to it and may be planning a powerful graphics engine with GPGPU acceleration for one of the next iPhones."

Apple is incidentally an investor in Imagination Technologies and uses a less powerful version of their PowerVR GPU in the current versions of iPhone and iPod touch.

MacRumors believes:

The likely candidate for the new iPhone’s CPU, however, is a derivative of the ARM Cortex A9 multi-core processor. The ARM Cortex has excellent power efficiency, well ahead of Intel’s Atom offerings. Apple appears to be an ARM architectural licensee and their acquisition of P.A. Semi has brought low-power chip design expertise into the company.

An upgraded four core iPhone should worry the likes of Nintendo and Sony in the mobile gaming space as you can see below, the current iPhone compares quite favorably
with other mobile gaming devices in terms of processor speed:

  • Sony PSP
    • Processor: MIPS CPU @ 222 or 333MHz (selectable)
  • Nintendo DS
    • Processor: two ARM CPUs (67MHz and 33MHz)
  • iPhone
    • Processor: ARM CPU @ 412MHz (532MHz in 2G iPod touch)

What do you think?

[via ZdNet]

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