Apple and its potential chip manufacturing partner TSMC have already begun to test out production of the ARM-based Apple A6 mobile processor, which would potentially be found on the company’s iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch devices of the future. The A6 chipset would succeed today’s A5 dual-core chipset being manufactured for Apple by partner Samsung. At the iPad 2 unveiling, Apple CEO Steve Jobs had said that the A5 chip delivers twice the processing power and up to 9 times the graphics power of the last generation single-core gigahertz A4 chip. It’s still unclear how many cores and what the graphics potential is on the A6 chipset.
While Samsung is the manufacturing partner for the A5 chipset, Apple may move to a different supplier for the A6 as the Cupertino, California iOS-maker has been engaged in a lengthy patent dispute with Samsung, which while supplying components to Apple also competes with Apple in the tablet and smartphone space.
It’s unclear how ready the A6 chipset is. On the ARM front, NVIDIA is expected to debut its Kal-el quad-core solution this Fall. Moreover, the latest rumor around the iPhone 5 suggests that Apple may have delayed the iPhone 5 until next year to utilize the A6 processor. Instead, because of overheating issues found on the dual-core A5 chips, Apple had been forced to delay the iPhone 4S’s release from the typical June-July time frame to an August-September launch to work out problems, and perhaps utilize a modified dual-core A4 chipset instead of the newer A5 architecture.