Although a number of credible sources have stated that Apple’s next-gen iPad 3 would feature a quad-core A6 processor, other sources have suggested that the device may feature only a dual-core chip. But which chip will end up in Apple’s future devices? According to 9to5Mac, the answer may be both.
Going by this naming scheme, the next major iOS device processor revamp (A6, not A5X) would be called the S5L8950X. Now, we have discovered evidence that Apple is working on that specific chip. Deep in the iOS 5.1 betas (as shown below) sits references to two next-generation iOS device chips: the previously discussed S5L8945X and this brand-new S5L8950X. While nobody has found this 50X (A6) chip in the code until now, we can report that both next-generation processors entered the iOS code simultaneously. This would seem to indicate that Apple has been working on two next-generation chips.
The report states that iOS 5.1 contains references for both an A5X and an A6 chip, suggesting that Apple has been working on two separate chipsets for iOS devices. A prototype iPad logic board has also recently been found to hold an A5X chip – an enhanced version of the dual-core chip found in the iPad 2.
But what does this all mean? It could mean that Apple may slightly upgrade the processor in the iPad 2, while keeping it available at a lower price. It’s also possible that the A5X chip may be destined for Apple’s third-generation Apple TV, Apple’s rumored Siri-enabled television set, or even a smaller version of the iPad.
If Apple is working on an A6 chip, it would make the most sense for them to included in their latest flagship device – the iPad 3, reserving the A5X chip for other purposes. As always, however, the truth of the matter won’t ultimately be known until Apple releases devices containing both chips (if they do in fact plan on using both).