A6 CPU For iPhone 5 Looking More Likely, But Probably Not Till Fall 2012

I’ve been of a mind that Apple would probably wait for an iPad 3S or iPad 4, and maybe an iPhone 5S or iPhone 6 before rolling out their forthcoming quad-core A6 mobile processor. However, I may have been mistaken about that.

A report last week by Digitimes’ Yenting Chen, Ingrid Lee, and Jessie Shen says that according to sources in Apple’s supply chain partner firms, the imminent iPad 3 will be powered by A6 processors from Samsung instead of the dual-core A5 CPU in the iPad 2 and iPhone 4S. Interesting.

However, it should be noted that Chen, Lee, and Shen also suggest that Apple is planning to unveil the iPad 3 – which they predict will come in two versions – at the iWorld (formerly known as Macworld) trade show on January 26, 2012, a prediction being hotly disputed on the tech Web, and contradicting a report by the reporters’ own Digitimes colleagues Ninelu Tu and Joseph Tsai, who project that the iPad 3 will arrive in March, consistent with broad commentariat consensus, and this writer’s personal view. That is if Apple doesn’t release iPad 3 on February 24 in commemoration of what would have been Steve Jobs’s 58th birthday. In any event, I think either the latter or sometime in March will be the most likely release dates.

However, 100 percent accuracy of foresight is impossible in this sort of insider scuttlebutt reportage, and in my estimation Digitimes has a pretty good track record of industry pulse-taking, notwithstanding some inevitable clangers. Even if Chen, Lee, and Shen are mistaken about a January at iWorld iPad 3 release, it doesn’t necessarily follow that they are likewise in their A6 prediction.

And if the iPad 3 does indeed turn out to be powered by A6 silicon, it will be a strong indicator that the iPad 5 will be likewise equipped. However, maybe not before next fall.

My provisional expectation has been until very recently that the iPhone 5 would likely debut at Apple’s World Wide Developer’s Conference in June, but I’m rethinking that now as well.

For one thing, it was announced last week that Intel’s next-generation Ivy Bridge laptop and desktop CPU family rollout will be phased in over several weeks in April and May, with the Core i5 mobile chip coming toward the end of that release cycle, which doesn’t bode well for a MacBook Pro refresh or redesign plus Core i MacBook Airs being ready for Apple’s own traditional spring laptop upgrade release time envelope, so it’s quite conceivable that new Apple notebook announcements could be pushed back to at least the WWDC and perhaps beyond. Consequently, I wouldn’t anticipate Apple wanting to release a product as momentous as the iPhone 5 while all that is going on.

Then on Friday, BGR’s Jonathan S. Geller reported learning ” a number of details surrounding Apple’s next-generation iPhone from a close source.”

Geller says he can now confidently affirm that Apple’s next iPhone will launch in the fall of 2012 around the same date that the iPhone 4S was launched in 2011.

Geller also reiterates a rumor that the new iPhone case will incorporate in a bezel surrounding the front edge of the phone a rubber or plastic material similar to that used in the Apple’s bumper cases, and a 4″ display in a new aluminum housing similar to the iPad 2′s and with redesigned antenna system surrounding the device.

On the other hand, Geller says nothing about an A6 CPU for the fall iPhone 5. Apple isn’t likely to let on if they can keep us guessing about a key detail like that, so as I said, our first and best indication may be whether the iPad 3 gets an A6. However, I’m now thinking that if the iPhone 5 is to be a fall release, then it will be a big surprise should it not have A6 power.

In the meantime, Happy New Year!



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