"iPhone 5 first device to use next-gen processor" - Doctor Tech


13 September 2012

"iPhone 5 first device to use next-gen processor"

 While many of the upgrades in the new iPhone are evolutionary there is one big change that has surprised many. The new phone is powered by a new dual-core processor that uses ARM's next-generation cores called A15.

A15 cores are a huge step up from A9 cores that power most of the smartphone processors currently. ARM, a firm based in the UK, doesn't make a processor but licences its technology which is used by companies like Apple, Samsung, Qualcomm and Texas Instrument.

ARM describes Cortex A15 processor as "the highest-performance licensable processor the industry has ever seen". iPhone 5 is the first phone to feature this technology.

While introducing the new iPhone, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller said that A6 processor in the iPhone is twice as fast as A5, which powers iPhone 4S. "You're going to see this in many things you do. Two times faster performance across the board," he said.

The new chip is also 22% smaller than A5. While the reasons for smaller size are not clear it could be either because Apple is making these chips with a better silicon manufacturing technology in 32nm Samsung fabs or it is using TSMC's 28nm fabs. Fabs are factories where silicon manufacturing takes place. Also, so far Apple has not revealed the graphics chip it is using inside A6.

Both Samsung and Texas Instrument are already working on their next-generation processors but it is unlikely that they would introduce products powered by these processors this year. Qualcomm, however, has created Krait cores by heavily modifying A9 technology and is likely to stick to it for a while.

Samsung has claimed that its next-generation dual-core processor, called Exynos 5250, will have a memory interface providing 12.8 GB/sec of memory bandwidth, support for USB 3.0 and SATA 3.0. The chip will also decode 1080P videos at 60 frames per second and will be able to simultaneously support a resolution of 2560x1600 on a mobile display as well as 1080P over HDMI. This chip will use Mali Mali-T604 graphics processor.

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