Home Mobility iPhone 5: quad core for sure?

With models of the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy SIII sporting dual-core chips with 4G/LTE in the US, but quad-core chips for their 3G models, some are wondering whether Apple’s iPhone 5 will be similarly “core-tailed”, or whether an Apple A6 processor can mix and match quad core with the 4G pedal to the metal – while retaining more than sufficient battery life.

When it comes to Apple’s next iPhone, consumer curiosity is certainly at an all time high, despite having to wait most of the next four months before any official iPhone announcements are made – let alone those for the mythical and highly anticipated 7.85-inch iPad Mini.

Now comes a report from the digerati at Taiwan’s Digitimes, which expects big quad-core competition come the final and most important sales quarter of 2012 – with the iPhone 5 expected to be a big player.

While Apple skimped on delivering a quad-core processor for the new iPad 3, instead going with a dual-core model that had quad-core graphics, along with 4G LTE tuned to North American frequencies, no-one expects Apple can get away with the same trick for the iPhone 5.

That’s especially so given most iPhone 5-class competitors already feature quad-core processors – except in the US, where those HTC Ones and Samsung Galaxy SIII models combine a dual-core chip with inbuilt 4G LTE, rather than the more power hungry and challenging quad-core chip with 4G LTE.

Thankfully, there is a country where the Samsung Galaxy SIII will sport that magical quad core and 4G/LTE combo, and that’s in Korea next week, according to Engadget, which bodes well for Apple to be doing the same, especially after its last 4G iPad debacle.

Indeed, the world is hoping that Apple bites the cost bullet and ensures its iPhone 5 with 4G, NFC, 4-inch screen, new OS, new maps, quad core processor, upgraded graphics processor, 1GB RAM and more also comes with a 4G LTE chipset that is compatible with not just US and Canadian frequencies, but those in Europe, Australia, Asia and elsewhere too.

While some iPhone 5 articles have wondered whether Apple would use Samsung’s quad-core Exynos processor (which is Sonyex backwards, interestingly), that just seems silly – Apple would surely brand any such processor as an A6 or something similar.

Indeed, Apple is an ARM-licensee and you’d imagine would need little help from Samsung in designing a processor, although it might need the Korean chaebol’s help to make it – if the legal battles between Apple and Samsung haven’t soured relations on the manufacturing front too much.

Still, if Apple’s next iPhone, be it the 4G, 4GS, new iPhone, iPhone 5, iPhone Steve or something else doesn’t come with a quad-core processor, it will certainly be a surprise.

Apple’s a company that is capable of anything, after all, but again – what worked for the new iPad isn’t guaranteed to be a successful strategy for the next iPhone, especially when so many competitors will be sporting their quad-core colours, but if anyone can make a technology popular no matter what’s inside, then that company is quite clearly Apple.

Whatever lies at the core of Apple’s next super-smartphone, one thing we know for sure: it can’t get here soon enough.

Here’s more on the iPhone 5 and the iPad Mini.


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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.


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