Apple rumored to be working on both A5X and A6 chipsets for next generation devices

Apple rumored to be working on both A5X and A6 chipsets for next generation devices

iMore heard Apple was going quad-core with a full on, next generation A6-powered iPad 3, so did Bloomberg, but The Verge heard dual core and strings have been found identifying a less ambitious A5X chipset instead. Which one is it? Both? Neither? Mark Gurman from 9to5Mac thinks it's almost certainly 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.

Why there are two new chipsets in the works is anyone's guess. Mark thinks Apple A6 may be bound for the iPad 3, while the Apple A5X goes to the less demanding Apple TV 3. The less powerful chip could also go to an updated, but still lower priced iPad 2, or something we haven't even seen yet, like the long-rumored Apple iTV television.

Strings from the iOS code showing both the  S5L8945X (A5X) and S5L8950X (A6) processors..

Source: 9to5Mac

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Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, Vector, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Apple rumored to be working on both A5X and A6 chipsets for next generation devices

15 Comments

After 5 years or whatever of iOS device, why do people continue to speculate that there will be a "less expensive" version of a new device, even though this has never happened? If you want a cheaper iPad, you get the last generation. If you want a chapter iPhone, you get the last generation. What point would there be in Apple suddenly changing this business model?
Take that with a 7, 8, 9.7, and 12 inch grain of salt.

"Take that with a 7, 8, 9.7, and 12 inch grain of salt."
hahah
So why the two referenced processors? Apple TV 3?

It's happened every year for the last few years.
Apple kept the iPhone 3G on the market after the iPhone 4 came out, at a reduced price. They've kept the iPhone 3GS on the market for 2 extra generations, at increasingly reduced prices. They've kept the iPhone 4 on the market after the iPhone 4S came out, at a reduced price.
They've done similar with the iPod touch one in a while as well.
So... it would be exactly Apple's current business model, wouldn't it?

Exactly, they kept previous versions on the market. They didn't release an iPhone 3GSX when the iPhone 4 came out as a "slightly upgraded but less expensive" option. If you don't want to pay for the newest model, you get the previous one.
That's okay, though... it makes for better "news" to talk about a 7-inch iPad or an iPad 2S with a faster processor but no retina display that will be released to compete more directly with the Fire.

Just like the iPhone 3 and 3s, as well as the iPhone 4 and 4s, there will most likely be an iPad upgrade to the iPad 2 with a name like iPad2s.... Which is just an updated iPad 2. Unless Apple places an A6 chip in the next iPad, it will be nothing more than an upgraded iPad 2.
I believe that given Apple's track record, the next iPad will just be an upgrade of the iPad 2 with no major redesign so a chip like the A5x would be appropriate. The "x" for extra or extreme will be required for the new display, but little else.

Who says it has to be both in iPads why not in iPhone.
Also unless Apple is ussing Tegra 3 there is no other quad-core that I know of and Apple uses Samsung in the Past and m they have is dual-core also quad-core has not been out long enough.

This sounds right to me. We're already hitting the limits of the original iPad's hardware as newer apps are released. Adobe Photoshop Touch is just the latest example. A quad core iPad leaps ahead of all other iOS devices dramatically in processing power. As much as I'd love for my next iPad to have a quad core chip, it would accelerate the development of apps that are incompatible with older iPhones and iPads. These portable devices really don't need that much power. But a MacBook Air would.

Here is just a thought..... The tegra 3 quad core chips don't support lte yet, so is it possible that the a6 quad core doesn't support lte yet either? Using that theory, the a6 chip could be for wifi and non lte iPads/ iPhones while the a5x could be for the lte chipset . That trade off could also possible help balance battery life. Hey till the official announcement it's all speculation anyway

Perhaps they'll keep the iPhone dual core and put the quad core in the iPad? Or there will be two screen sizes of iPad? Won't know for sure until the iPad announcement.

Isn't it common knowledge that Apple is working on more than one project associated with a product line (ie: more than one iPhone design,) then wouldn't it stand that they may also be working on more than one chipset design.

Maybe a summer release iPod Touch with the A5X? IPhone has the spotlight in fall now, and the Touch didn't get a hardware bump last year, so a summer announcement of new Touches would give Apple that summer hardware event each year back, between the two huge bookends in the spring and fall. I could also see it used in the "single purpose" Apple TV 3, and that device saved for such a summer event as well, as it would get lost at a new iPad or IPhone announcement.