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iPhone 5 rumor rollup for the week ending July 6

More quad-core, sooner rather than later, exploding omens

By , Network World
July 06, 2012 11:17 AM ET
iPhone rumors

Network World - As American celebrated Independence Day, without aliens, the iOSphere celebrated the return of rumors promising quad-core bliss in iPhone 5.

This week: the wow of core confusion, palpitations over an earlier announcement date, an explosively self-combustive and bad omen, and epistemological angst in the iOSphere.

You read it here second.

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"Know Your Mobile, however, still can't see Apple bringing the release date forward two whole months. ... Put simply this is no more than wishful thinking, in our eyes ..." 
    -- Richard Goodwin, KnowYourMobile.com, generously describing the speculation that Apple will release iPhone 5 in August as "thinking"

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iPhone 5 will have a quad-core processor after all

A DigiTimes post reignited faith that iPhone 5 will have a quad-core processor, usually referred to as the A6, even though there's no indication that doubling the number of cores would actually deliver significant improvements to the user experience.

MORE BUZZ: Rumors of a 7.85-inch iPad Mini ramp up; mass production reportedly slated for September

The DigiTimes post, widely referred to as both a "story" and a "report," consists of five sentences, derived from otherwise-anonymous "industry sources." The two writers, David Shen and Steve Shen, don't even bother to say which industry: smartphone, semiconductor, supply chain, janitorial services or hospitality.

Sentence one: "Competition for quad-core smartphones will heat up in the fourth quarter of 2012, triggering by the roll-out of much speculated new iPhone and models built based on Qualcomm's quad-core chips, according to industry sources."

Sentence five, which pretty much repeats sentence one: "Additionally, Apple is also expected to release its next-generation iPhone built on Samsung's Exynos 4 quad-core processor in the second half, heating up competition in the segment, commented the sources."

Strictly speaking this last sentence means that DigiTimes sources are saying nothing more than that the Next iPhone "is expected" (by whom?) to have a CPU that's based on the newest Samsung-designed quad-core chip.

"Wow," writes Michael Nace, at iPhone 5 News Blog, apparently without irony.

The rumor that the Next iPhone will have a four-core processor has been around for over a year: Many confidently predicted that what turned out to be the iPhone 4S would have such a CPU. In fact, it uses the Apple-designed, Samsung-built dual-core A5, first introduced in iPad 2.

(Something similar happened for the iPad 3. For example Jonathan Geller, at Boy Genius Report, publishing photos that "showed" the Next iPad would have a four-core CPU; Apple stuck with a slightly modified version of the A5, called the A5X, which replaced an integrated dual-core graphics processor with a quad-core model.)

Smartphones with quad-core CPUs have started to appear from a few vendors such as HTC, Samsung and LG Electronics. The DigiTimes post simply reignites the debate over Apple's plans without actually contributing anything to it.

AppleInsider describes the original DigiTimes post as a "report" from the "sometimes-reliable DigiTimes." Most of its own "report" is a rehash of Apple's A5 chip evolution.

At Tech Source, Marius Maria -- erring on the side of wildly over-the-top generosity in describing DigiTimes as "a publication famous for their accurate rumors about the unreleased Apple products" -- claims the new rumor is that the iPhone 5 CPU "will be based on the technology used by Samsung for their Exynos 4 Quad CPUs. Until now, Apple used ARM processors compatible with the iDevices, and Samsung was the company that manufactured them."

This implies that something is changing in the iPhone 5 besides the number of cores. But Apple's A series chips have always been based on ARM's technology, with the A5 and A5X using the ARM Cortex-A9 MPCore CPU. And as AnandTech's Brian Klug notes, the Samsung Exynos 4 for the newest Galaxy smartphone is also based on ARM Cortex A9s.

What may end up being different for the iPhone 5 is not the number of cores, but the chip's process technology: the current A5 generation is a 45-nanometer process by Samsung; the Exynos 4 is a 32-nm process, according to Klug, with resulting lower power demands.

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