updated 01:50 pm EDT, Mon April 19, 2010
Next iPhone said to use A4 variant
The next-generation iPhone (often called the iPhone HD) will use Apple's own custom processor, a scoop from anonymous executives maintained today. Where the iPhone 3GS and earlier models were using primarily Samsung-designed chips with an Apple influence, the next iPhone will supposedly use a primarily Apple-created silicon. Features weren't discussed with the Korea Times contact, but a variant of the iPad's A4 processor is the most probable candidate.
A move of the sort was already expected but may be important for Apple, which may be pushing for an HD focus with its new smartphone. The A4 is already capable of 720p video playback and could see that feature, as well as better battery life, carry over to the iPhone version. It's uncertain if Apple will have to underclock the A4 or otherwise make significant changes to accommodate the tighter spaces and power requirements of a handset.
The A4 is known to be a modified, system-on-a-chip design based on ARM's Cortex-A8, much like the processor found in the iPhone 3GS but with a newer PowerVR SGX535 graphics core, a higher clock speed and other optimizations.
Samsung would face a significant, if partial, customer loss if the details are accurate. It still manufactures the A4 and would likely do the same for the iPhone, but Apple will no longer be one of the largest customers for its actual designs. Despite its expertise, Samsung has only occasionally tried to custom-design processors for its phones, such as the 1GHz chip in the Galaxy S.