A few days back, Apple unveiled the new iPhone 5 and a few other post PC products such a new iPods and a new ear piece as well, the Earpod. The new iPhone 5 of course gets much of the attention compared to the other products announced at the event. And what is more important in a new electronic gadget than its very heart, the processor? Well, nothing I suppose. So, coming to the processor in the iPhone 5, it is a new design and a new chip that Apple has built in house, called the Apple A6 processor. The iPhone 4S, which is the last generation iPhone, used the Apple A5 processor. So what the difference between the two?
Well, to begin with, as the company mentioned at the event, the A6 is two times faster and better at data processing compared to the older Apple A5 processor, and also, two times better and faster at graphics processing than the A5. That is a huge leap, if you ask me. But that is all the details we got at the event. We don’t know what is the clock frequency of the processor or how many cores are there in it.
The assumption was that since Apple makes use of the ARM architecture in its chips, the Apple A6 could be the very new and not yet publicized ARM Cortex A15 architecture which ARM has designed, but not yet licensed. But it turns out, it is not so.
AnandTech has been able to uncover the story behind this and the blog says that the A6 is an Apple custom-designed processor.
The A6 is the first Apple SoC to use its own ARMv7 based processor design. The CPU core(s) aren’t based on a vanilla A9 or A15 design from ARM IP, but instead are something of Apple’s own creation.
The advantage that Apple can have with this custom design is that the company can tune the processor as per its needs. And since both the software and the hardware of the device is taken of by the company itself, the combination is deadly.