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iOS 4.3 look shows A5 processor due for iPhone 5

updated 05:30 pm EST, Wed March 9, 2011

iOS 4.3 shows iPhone 5 using same A5 as iPad 2

An early look at the publicly released iOS 4.3 update has confirmed that the iPhone 5 will be getting the same A5 chip as in the iPad 2. Both the tablet and the future iPhone, codenamed the N94AP, are listed as using the same S5L8940 processor. They don't confirm the clock speed, but Apple ran a slightly underclocked version of the A4 in the iPhone 4.

The switch would give the iPhone its first dual-core processor and should at least make it competitive with a slew of Android phones, including the Motorola Atrix and LG Optimus 3D. It would guarantee support for 1080p video output, broader multitasking and other tasks that are difficult or impossible with current single-core processors.

The A5 consumes roughly as much power as the A4 and should have PowerVR SGX543 video. It's not yet known if it's running the contemporary ARM Cortex-A9 architecture used in the NVIDIA Tegra 2 or TI OMAP 4430, or else if it's just using dual Cortex-A8 parts. It's constructed on a 40 nanometer process and assembled by TSMC.

Apple is presumed by most to be unveiling the iPhone 5 in June at WWDC with a launch either that month or in July. [via 9to5]

By Electronista Staff


  1. jwhitley

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2006


    It's definitely not an A8

    The ARM Cortex A8 core is not symmetric multiprocessor (SMP)-aware. In plain English, the A8 "does not play well with others." If Apple started with an A8 and modified it so heavily as to have SMP support (and presumably other modifications) it is no longer meaningfully an A8 core. Call it an A8.5 or whatever.

    For sake of argument, assume that Apple does have significant modifications to the A8 core used in the Apple A4 chip (ain't that confusing?). For A5 they would have had to weigh upgrading the A8 vs. using the Cortex A9 core as a new baseline and modifying that to their needs. I suspect that using the A9 core would be the more strategic choice in this scenario. If Apple doesn't have a heavily modified A8 design as a starting point, then there's little sense in spending engineering opportunity cost by reinventing the Cortex A9.

  1. aussiearn

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2011


    A5, A8...

    A5, A8, A...whatever! I don't really care that much about the specs anymore as it will run iOS plenty fast. New phone with faster hardware & at same price as the old top model which is now cheaper. I'd be happy with a cheaper iPhone 4 and even picking up an iPhone 3GS at dirt prices on craigslist.

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