When Apple announced the iPhone 5 at their recent media event, they lifted the lid on what was possibly the worst kept secret in the smartphone world. The numerous leaks that had emerged in the months leading up to the announcement had pretty much enlightened us on what to expect, and when Apple officially introduced the device, there weren’t any great surprises. With that said, one aspect of the device that hadn’t had much pre-announcement coverage was the processor within the device, which turned out to be the new Apple A6 CPU.
Anyone who regularly watches or keeps abreast of Apple hardware announcements will already be aware that they always choose not to go into any great technical specifics about the processors that they embed within devices. From a user’s perspective, the only thing they really need to know about is how the new processor actually affects their day-to-day usage of the device, something that Apple covered when they discussed performance improvements like launching apps, saving images and viewing attachments from within emails.
Just before the event, there was a small amount of chatter around the internet that the processor within the iPhone 5 would be a modified version of the CPU that was included within the latest iPad, which is the A5X. Part of that speculation was formed through the fact that analysts have noticed that Apple seem to reserve making changes to their processor architecture for iPad announcements in the first quarter of each year. The specialists over at AnandTech had initially shared their opinion that the new A6 in the iPhone 5 was built around two ARM A15 cores, an assumption that was derived from the performance improvements announced by Phil Schiller.
It seems that the early guess was proven to be inaccurate, with the information coming out today that the A6 processor is actually Apple’s first system-on-a-chip (SoC) to feature its own ARMv7 inspired design. This moves away from the early guess and actually shows that the A6 processor is one of Apple’s own creation. While it may not mean a great deal to the layman, the benefit of this is that it actually allows Apple to customize the performance of the chipset to suit their own needs. Maybe the iPhone 5 includes a lot more innovation that some are giving it credit for.