‘iPhone 5’ To Get Apple’s Next Generation A6 Chip?

It has been widely speculated that Apple’s next generation iPhone will be powered by a variant of the A5X system-on-chip that currently powers the 3rd generation iPad.

We’ve also heard rumors that Apple has been testing next generation iPhone prototypes with A5X variant, 1GB RAM in iPhone 4S casing.

Sonny Dickson who has published quite a few photos of the leaked next generation iPhone parts recently, has just published a photo, which appears to be the next generation iPhone’s motherboard.

As you can see in the image below, it reveals that the hotly anticipated ‘iPhone 5’ will be powered by Apple’s next generation system-on-chip dubbed ‘A6’.

Dickson also tweeted:

Yes, #NewiPhone will be a A6.  

Apple’s 1 GHz dual-core A5 chip powered iPad 2 and iPhone 4S. iPad 3 was widely expected to get the A6 chip, but  it came with a 1 GHz dual-core A5X chip and quad core graphics (as fast as A5 with improved graphics).

So based on last two years trend, it was speculated that ‘iPhone 5’ will get a variant of the A5X chip. But if the leaked part is indeed authentic, then it looks like Apple will surprise us with the next generation A6 chip, which could be significantly faster with quad-core processor.

The A6 will square off against quad-core mobile processors from Texas Instruments, Nvidia, Qualcomm and also Samsung’s 1.4 GHz Exynos quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 chip that powers Samsung Galaxy S III.

It remains to be seen if A6 will be based on ARM’s Cortex-A9 processor, which is the same design used in the A5 and A5X or it will be based on the next generation Cortex-A15 processor. The first devices based on that design were not expected to ship until late this year or early 2013.

Please note that the validity of the images cannot be confirmed, so please take this with a pinch of salt.

Update 1:

Here’s another photo of the purported next generation iPhone’s with A6 chip (via 9to5Mac):

Update 2:

Marco Arment – developer of Instapaper expects the next iPhone to come to be powered by a new chip rather than a variant of the A5X chip used in iPad 3. He writes:

The A5X is too big and hot to run in the iPhone. Even a die shrink wouldn’t make it ideal.

And the A5X doesn’t have any CPU-power advantage over the A5 — the primary difference is much more parallel GPU power to drive the iPad 3’s Retina display. That’s why CPU-bound operations on screen images, such as visual effects usingrenderInContext:, are actually much slower on the iPad 3: four times as many pixels are being processed by the same CPU power as the iPad 2.

There’s not much need for a big, hot, power-sucking, GPU-only boost to the iPhone.

But there is demand for more CPU and GPU power together, in a small and efficient package suitable for the phone’s size and battery capacity. Of course it will be a new chip, not the A5X, and of course they’d name it the A6.

What do you think about the possibility of the next generation iPhone with a quad-core A6 chip?