updated 11:20 am EDT, Fri May 22, 2009
iPhone 2009 Next-Gen CPU
The next revision of the iPhone should be characterized by a dramatic increase in processing power, an alleged scoop by veterain technology writer John Gruber says. He refers to "informed" sources who say the iPhone will jump from its existing 412MHz clock speed to 600MHz but adds that a change in architecture should lead to a disproportionately larger increase in performance. Similar to the leap from Intel's 80486 design to the Pentium, the change is large enough that the difference should be more than the 50 percent gain implied by the clock rate increase.
Which processor isn't clear, though the most likely candidate is a Samsung ARM chip based on the newer Cortex architecture, which adds vector extensions and is much more modern than the 2007-era chip currently used.
It will also likely double the amount of system RAM to 256MB and further speed up the device, Gruber says. Other rumors are now claimed accurate and include a 32GB model, a magnetometer as compass and a 3.2-megapixel camera with autofocusing and video editing. The latter is expected to play a major part in the marketing campaign for the phone.
Accelerating the phone's performance is believed to not only have an impact on obviously CPU-dependent chores such as 3D but also on the perceived speed of Internet access. While faster 3G is increasingly thought a staple of the new iPhone, some of the perceived slowness comes from the processor's inability to cope with rendering HTML once it's downloaded.
Gruber anticipates Apple keeping its prices intact and selling a 16GB iPhone for $199 and a 32GB model for $299.
Besides the key rumors, the writer also claims to have heard less certain prospects of a notebook refresh that splits the line back into plastic MacBook and aluminum MacBook Pro lines as well as a smaller iPhone that would have 75 percent the size of the current model but isn't likely to show at next month's WWDC.