According to a rumor, Apple’s next processor should bear the name ‘A10’ and it may come with as much as six-cores. It would be manufactured using a 14 nanometer production process and it would be produced by either Samsung in Texas or TMSC in Taiwan. Original rumor mentioned 10nm process node, but that just goes to show that original source should be taken with a kilogram of sea salt on its tail. These two companies would be competing for orders, the Weibo source said.
We can get behind the naming, but the rest seems a bit off as Apple is not a company known for doing major internal hardware changes. Their devices currently run on chips with a dual-core setup. This means that with this six-core rumor, the leap would simply be a major one for the device maker. It would also mean that the addition of four more cores would greatly impact battery life, a thorn in the heel for the Apple for several years now.
Apple stuck to its dual-core layout and didn’t feel threatened by the quad, hexa or octa-core developments by their competitors in recent years. The company allocated most of its die to GPU cores in order to enhance performance, and integrate other I/O directly into the die, reducing the number of chips iPhone motherboard features over the past couple of years.
Their focus has always been on performance, speed and usability, something that requires tried and tested hardware installed in the devices. While Apple may explore hyperthreading or some other, performance increasing options, the addition of more processor cores seems unlikely. For now. We may see a quad-core solution coming up in the forthcoming years, but going further than that would require a major shift within their goals.
The competition isn’t sleeping either. Recent articles are showing that the A9 processor inside the iPhone 6S / iPad and A9X inside the iPad Pro are not just competing, but being faster than Intel Core M processors, whcih is something Intel said they will not allow to happen to their Premium “Core” line of products (unlike Atom, Celeron, Pentium – all of which are now slower than the fastest mobile chips).
Situation will only get more difficult in the mobile world too, with the upcoming Samsung Exynos 8890 (SoC powering 2016 phones such as the Galaxy S7), showing a 10% faster per-core performance, and a massive 75% faster multi-core performance than the A9 in iPhone 6S.