iPhone 3.0 to Use Quad-Core Processors?

No sooner do we mention how Apple may need to ramp up iPhone 3.0 in response to the Palm Pre, than we find this little gem via ZDNet (which MacRumors is backing up):

iPhone 3.0 will support Quad-Core Processors.

Yeah, we fell off our chairs as well. But Apple did buy chip designers PA Semi and license both ARM and PowerVR, so the chips could very well be what we get the next time Apple (hopefully Steve Jobs!) takes the stage and pulls an iPhone from his pocket.

As ZDNet rightly points out, the current iPhone already rivals dedicated gaming portables in power, imagine that gone Quad-Core (would make for a nifty iPhone HD as well, now wouldn't it?)

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, ZEN and TECH, MacBreak Weekly. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter, App.net, Google+.

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There are 38 comments. Add yours.

Andrew B says:

Sounds good to me but at the same time they had better do something about the battery life because as it stands now those Quad Cores will last about an hour if that.

Bill says:

But it will be a heck of a gaming console until the battery croaks.

Keil Miller says:

This seems like a rumor rather than fact or something even of a "could be".

Santa says:

The current one is the fastest cell phone I have used so far. Apple shouldn't worry so much about the compititors as long as they keep using symbian or windows mobile as operating systems for thier cells.

The Reptile says:

@Andrew - a true statement. However, PA Semi is known for chips with extremely low power consumption.

ilikephones says:

@santa, any phone is fast when its limited to single tasking. not to say the iphone is slow but it does make a big difference.
And didn't it say it will 'support' quad core processors, not 'will come with' quad core processors?

Matt Sawyers says:

What about using the Atom processor?

Chupawilly says:

Santa, go back to the North Pole.
This is the Internet, you arent smart enough to be surfing here.
Go back to the workshop. Learn English.
Boats and Ho's

dloveprod says:

Maybe then we'll get mms and video recording, yah!

melwan says:

@Chupawilly:
and I take it that you are the Grinch? :p

Jimmy says:

Uhm, I just started getting into this tech stuff, so I'm kinda lost.
Can someone explain a "quad core processor"?
Please?

Stonewall#AC says:

Try Google Jimmy....Goodness

iAirmanshirk says:

shut up kurt, he came here for help, not a reference to help.
Jimmy, most computers have one computer chip that powers it. Over the years intel has been making them more powerful, but they quickly ran out of ways to make them more powerful. So what they started doing is putting more than one chip into computers, that way the computer could handle more. A quad-core would be 4 chips. In essence, this iphone would be more powerful than most computers. Im not so good at this computer stuff either, i just spend all day on tech sites ever since i broke my wrist so i learned a few things lol :) Hope this helped.

frog says:

Maybe it'll run full osx when plugged into a monitor?

Jimmy says:

Thank you for your help shirk.
Appreciate it.
Next gen iPhone should be pretty nice.

vikram says:

hi,this is vikram,nice blog and intrestring.it is a great news that iphone will support quad-core processors.
vikram,http://www.theiphoneblog.com/2009/01/08/iphone-30-quadcore-processors/#c...

mitchleary says:

Are these not the same people who said there was going to be all this new stuff at MW 09?

Sean Peters says:

I'd take this with a pretty big grain of salt. What's the point of having a multi-core processor if the OS doesn't let apps run in the background? Yeah, I'm sure it would help multi-threaded apps in the foreground, and whatever OS processes that ARE allowed to run in the background... but still. I can't help but think that most of the cores would be idle most of the time.

JerryAttrick says:

Folks, even if it ships with a quad core part, you have to understand that it would be a custom part very likely with 4 specialized cores (specific function for each core...i.e. a media processing core for video, one for comms, etc.) that maximize the potential of a handheld mobile device while running at extremely low power. Throw away all speculation of it "running full OSx when plugged into a monitor" and "this iPhone will be more powerful than most computers".

Ruggy says:

The current iPhone is super fast, but could still be snappier at certain things. If you're playing music while surging the web, you may notice a performance hit on content-rich websites. Multiple cores would fix this, and the power drain might not be much different. Expect improvements in both battery capacity and power management, with unused cores to sit
dormant in a low power state. The above is 100% embellished rumor and speculation! But I am posting because it "feels" like the time is right for this.

Gooondaah says:

This is insane..
I better be able to play like WoW or warhammer on this freaking thing!!

Bonzai says:

Come on. You can't even put a quad core in a laptop at the moment without it overheating. Only the highest quality gaming laptops are even capable and they run with a hefty price tag. the current iphone heats up when you're on a call for more than 5 minutes or your using the data connection a lot. and technically a dual core would be more effective for this application. Less power consumption and more responsive than a quad core. This is a rumor and will remain one.

Jerome vet says:

whaha a quad core in a iphone. thats a fake , the latest pc quad cores require a power of 100watt at least.
thats one h*ll of a battery your going to carry than.
no i gues it's a 600mhz. the laters phone have a 550mhz. thats very fast for a phone, but nessecery for 640x480 video playback with at least 500kbps video and 192kbps sound. :P
i think i would be a looker of the new apple interface for the mac, like the new windows mobile and the vista look.
but personaly im going for the nokia n97. 32Gb 3.2mp (30fps 640x480 16:9) video recording, :D hehe . new sound chip like the 5800,
(sorry for my bad enlish!)

ChipMan says:

iAirmanshirk, a noble attempt at explaining what a quad core processor is, but ultimately flawed. They did not run out of ways to make them more powerful.
Manufacturers of processors squeeze ever increasing numbers of transistors onto their chips by shrinking the fabrication process used. At the same time, this also reduces the gate lengths.
By way of example, launch PS3 and Xbox 360 used chips based on the 90nm process. Recent models have some/all of their chips based on the 65nm process. However, PCs have used 45nm for a while now, with Intel looking at late 2009 for the launch of chips based on the 32nm process.
Basically, more work in less space = more heat. Cooling is becoming a major issue as technology shrinks. There is going to be a limit to how much they can shrink things using standard silicon technology. So, the simple way to increase power without melting components is to simply add more cores while maintaining a sensible clock speed. This is why they added more cores, not because they simply ran out of options.
The Intel i7 currently rates at 4 cores. Future models will have 8, even 16 cores.

Drewski says:

Wow, apparently some of you don't understand this quad core stuff. I sure hope you people are joking when you say "there is no way they can fit a quad core, they require 100W min!". Arm processors... hello! Dual core intel atoms have a tdp idle of about 15W, so my guess is arm quad would be about 10-40W depending on the speed of the processor. Also, Intel did hit a speed bump when doing the GHZ cranking up. Processors can only go as fast the processors stages can go, which the ALU tends to be the longest stage. Anywho, since intel hit the max on ghz, at that time, they switched to cores, and one can only image what's next, probably what ibm is whipping up with the 3D processors, pretty sweet stuff.
Point being Apple can do it with PA Semi, it's really not THAT hard, and with them developing their own battery tech nowdays with the 17inch Macbook Pro battery, they can make it work and have a nice battery life.

Thien Nguyen says:

Are you serious?
Quad core in a mobile device? They are hardly available for laptops as it is because it sucks up way too much power.
Imagine quad core in as something small as an iphone. Battery life? 5 mins.
Now what I really what to see in this device is the dedicated nvidia chipset.

Thien Nguyen says:

Edit:
Nvidia tegra chipset*

ChipMan says:

You guys really are as clueless as you sound.

Tomasz says:

I need in following order:

  1. Copy & Paste (including Safari, Contacts, etc.),
  2. DELIVERY REPORT for SMS!!!
  3. Email searching,
  4. Contact searching,
  5. Modem (like offered by currently not available netshare application),
  6. Possibility to re-use written numbers inside call application during the call. Keep this number after call is over, like in NOKIA or similar,
  7. Forwarding of sent or received SMS,
  8. Better calls forwarding options (if busy or unavailable),
  9. Possibility to modify phone number before use it, when it is taken from www pages or emails... (sometimes there is a lack of appropriate prefix...),
  10. Synchronization of contacts / calendar events through the network or bluetooth with other Mac,
  11. TO DO on iPhone as the part of iPhone iCal with synchronization with Mac,
  12. Keeping the same order and colors of defined calendars in all iCal applications operating on Macs and iPhones...
  13. Simplicity of the use of mp3 as ringtone for calls and events or alarm clock, instead of preparation special ringtones...
  14. MMS? Why not?
  15. Sending more pictures than the only one via email...
  16. Saving any files from web pages or from emails... including pdf, doc, mp3, with possibilities to use them or send via mail or MMS...
  17. Edit sent email as new one.
Ryan Braun says:

ok well quad core wouldn't be a power problem in iphone.. They will be basing this new iphone off of the new macbook pro.. lithium polymer.. battery will last about the same with a quadcore.. dual core.. will be unbelievable with the new battery apple is using... come on people.. you are questioning the people that created the worlds most powerful laptop... while keeping it the most energy efficient... stop questioning.. start waiting.. they listen to the wishes you greedy people have and they try to perfect it. if you can do it better than apple... i'll pay for your version of the iphone when you come out with it if you can prove better... they have quickly brought ATT into a signal crisis because so many people switched to and bought an iphone.. leave em be... it'll always be a surprise.

webman says:

why dont they use the new snapdragon processor?

motty says:

The last episode of Life on NBC (aired 3-25-2009) had a detective that was asked if her phone had a camera. she said yes and that it was 5 megapixels. I thought it was weird they even mentioned it until she pulled out what looked like an iphone. the back was covered with a leather protector so i cant be positive but looked exactly like it from the front. perhaps hinting at the next iphone with 5 MP camera?

Rob says:

Re; Tomasz' comment:
"Simplicity of the use of mp3 as ringtone for calls and events or alarm clock, instead of preparation special ringtones…"
That would be my number one request, I've made hundreds of ringtones over the years - mostly film/tv excerpts, and I love using them on my Nokia mobiles. Excellent suggestions all round actually Tomasz.

FatKatz says:

Hey Everyone, I found this!!!!
Apple iPhone / iPhone 3G / iPod Touch 1G & 2G Firmware 3.0 Beta 2 + Developer's Registration:http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&...
I was up and running within 1/2 hour. Seller is SUPER FAST!!! He will walk you thru every step!!

Mike says:

From wiki:
Apple's iPhone and iPhone 3G use the "underclocking" of a more powerful processor, rather than the full clocking of a less powerful processor, to maximize battery life. The power consumed by using a slower processor is more than using the more powerful processor at a lower clock rate. In this application, the ARM 1176 processor is "underclocked" from 620 MHz to 412 MHz.
That being said, multicore processors in phones are not PC's or notebooks. They work like this:
The ARM11 MPCore synthesizable processor implements the ARM11 microarchitecture and can be configured to contain between one and four processors delivering up to an aggregate 2600 Dhrystone MIPS of performance. (From arm's website)
So essentially it wouldn't be a "Quad core" chip, but 4 ARM-MP chips configured together.

ChipMan says:

Funny how none of you idiots out there have spoken up since the launch of the new iPhone... No wonder, with pathetic speculations like that.

send a press release says:

I really like this conference company a lot. I usually always go to pubcon and vegas has great meeting locations.