While it’s common and even expected for Apple to boost the speed and internal specs with iOS device upgrades, 9to5Mac reports that the latest iOS 5.1 beta reveals that Apple is working on ultra-powerful quad-core processors for future iOS devices.
Hidden deep inside the latest iOS 5.1 beta is updated processing-core management software that not only supports the dual-core processing enabled by the A5 iPhone and iPad chip, but also quad-core processing. The references to quad-core iPhone and iPad chips come by way of a hidden panel that describes cores that are supported by iOS device hardware. The updated core management software includes an option of “/cores/core.3,” and this represents a fourth available processing core…
Apple’s custom processors have evolved well over time, moving from the 1ghz single-core A4 processor found in the original iPad to the dual-core A5 chip with enhanced graphics found in the iPad 2 and iPhone 4S. A quad-core “A6” processor would be a very welcome improvement.
If Apple has the capability to affordably include a quad-core processor in its next generation of devices, it would make sense for them to do so. It would dramatically increase the speed and performance of the iPhone and iPad, and would be especially useful if the iPad 3 does indeed get a Retina display, as rumors have suggested.
The fact that Apple has left references to quad-core chips in the beta is extremely significant, especially considering that iOS 5.1 or later is almost certainly being tested with Apple’s upcoming iPad 3.
While it’s not reasonable at this point to say that Apple will definitely be including a quad-core processor in the iPad 3, it is a definite possibility. It’s also possible, however, that such hardware is still in early testing and may not arrive for some time.