Got a tip for us? Share it...

New in OS X: Get MacRumors Push Notifications on your Mac

Resubscribe Now Close

Evidence of Quad-Core Chips Shows Up in iOS 5.1 Betas

9to5Mac reports that evidence of support for quad-core processors has shown up in beta versions of iOS 5.1, lending support to claims that Apple's forthcoming A6 chips will see a doubling in the number of processing cores.
The references to quad-core iPhone and iPad chips come by way of a hidden panel that describes cores that are supported by iOS device hardware. The updated core management software includes an option of “/cores/core.3,” and this represents a fourth available processing core…
The report notes that single-core processors such as the A4 found in the iPhone 4 and original iPad fall under a "cores/core.0" designation, while dual-core processors such as the A5 in the iPhone 4S and iPad 2 are covered by a "/cores/core.1" designation. The "/cores/core.3" reference thus suggests compatibility with a quad-core chip.


Apple's A6 system-on-a-chip has been rumored several times to carry a quad-core processor, and has been presumed to be set for inclusion in the company's next-generation iPad and iPhone models. There have, however, been some questions about whether the production timeline for the A6 would support its inclusion in the iPad 3, which is rumored for a release around March of this year.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)

30 months ago

Wait what? I thought apple didn't care about specs? Who needs quad core processors? Funny

Sorry, but caring and publicizing are two different concepts.

Apple does not publicize many specs for its iOS devices. And they are right: Joe Consumer really doesn't care how MFLOPs the CPU can handle or how many polygons the graphics unit can paint in a second.

Remember that Apple is a software-driven company whose software and services run best on their proprietary, high-margin hardware.

The key with handheld devices is optimizing the software to run efficiently on the hardware. This is where Apple's tight control is advantageous. Android handset manufacturers do not have that control and often their devices which exceed Apple's on a spec sheet, don't perform as well in real world usage. In fact, they may need to beef up the hardware to get similar results.

The biggest concerns in throwing in more hardware performance is battery life and bulk. There are some very important design considerations that need to be made, particularly in the design of handheld devices.

Joe Consumer cares about how quickly the camera starts up and whether or not his favorite game stutters. Stuff like that. Joe Consumer does not care that smartphone X has a Tegra running at 1.2GHz whereas the iPhone 4S is probably underclocked to 800 or 900MHz.
Rating: 14 Positives
30 months ago

Wouldn't there also have to be a cores.2 reference?


No, core.3 stands for Quad-Core. There is no such thing as "core.2"
Rating: 11 Positives
30 months ago
Brilliant! My MacBook Pro has... 2 cores... Better by a phone I guess :D
Rating: 8 Positives
30 months ago
The A4 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_A4) and A5 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_A5) processors have their GPU in the same die as the CPU.

An iPad with a retina displays means four times as much pixels to draw, meaning it requires a GPU upgrade, hence a CPU upgrade too, it would make no sense to only upgrade the GPU.

Based on that, I'd be very surprised to see an iPad 3 without a quad-core CPU.
Rating: 8 Positives
30 months ago

cores.0 = single core
cores.1 = dual core
cores.3 = quad core

common sense would tell you cores.2 should be q tri core. as far as i know, there are no tri core processors out there.


There are tri core x64 CPUs. Technically the 360 is a tri core CPU.
Rating: 7 Positives
30 months ago

And I'm sure that you learned all of this through first hand experience by using Android and iOS phones on a daily basis over an extended period of time.

No, of course you don't. Your judgment would be completely different if you actually had.

If your iPhone/iPod Touch could run live wallpapers, I'm pretty sure you'd have one just to show off how awesome your gadget is. Since your castrated operating system doesn't support widgets and live wallpapers, of course, by definition, they have to be "stupid".

I also don't know where Android supposedly is a resource hog. My Galaxy S2 runs circles around the iPhone 4S and it never "fries" the battery. And it still has more features than the iPhone 4S - and most of the OS features that Apple now introduced as "innovations" in iOS 5 have been in Android since, well, ever. Including voice assistants.

Maybe the 3Gs still runs the latest iOS, but it's actually a suboptimal experience. Not as bad when iOS 4 was released for the 3G, but it's also not a real joy to use iOS 5 on that old 3Gs hardware anymore. And talking about software support in general -- my iPhone 3G was only over six months old when Apple decided to drop the software support for it. Sure, the 3G had already been on the market for quite a while when I purchased mine, but nevertheless I felt betrayed by Apple. I also felt betrayed by them when I had to pay for every single iOS update for my first generation iPod Touch. They only changed that AFTER I had already sold my iPod Touch.

But the most important thing speaking FOR Android and AGAINST iOS is the fact that you CAN customize the Android OS. It provides freedom. The one thing that you will NEVER get from Apple, and that alone is the ultimate killer argument for me to never buy an iOS-based product anymore.


A good friend of mine has a Galaxy S2. My 4S

- Gets better battery life time (even with the 4S' crappy battery life time)
- Makes better pictures and movies
- Syncs with my iMac-MBA-iPad calender/mail/address book faster through iCloud than his S2 does with his Google stuff
- Has a far far better browsing experience. Pages just load faster and scrolls like butter. He can have his flash.
- can download software that I know is verified by Apple, rather than the unverified spam junk that is on Android store.

But you go ahead and customize your phone OS until you weigh about an ounce. Meantime, I'll enjoy verified great software while watching beautiful photos and movies on my Macs that are neatlessly and flawlessly synced across my iCloud devices, as are my notes-calenders-email accounts-documents and so on.
Rating: 7 Positives
30 months ago
Wait what? I thought apple didn't care about specs? Who needs quad core processors? Funny
Rating: 6 Positives
30 months ago
Quad-core chip on the next-gen iPhone would be blindingly fast :D
Rating: 6 Positives
30 months ago
Nice, Glad i never got 4s, this will be sufficient for me for a long time if true (on an iPhone that is) Besides spec means nothing if the software is crap plus bloated some (Android,Blackberry), Apple is Good at software so will be a great device iPad & iPhone. Bring it on
Rating: 6 Positives
30 months ago

It has been so easy to predict the specs for upcoming iOS devices lately. Apple is just following Android manufacturers:

* Android gets dual core - Apple follows
* Android gets quad core - Apple follows
* Android tablets get cameras - Apple follows
* Android phones/tablets get better hi-res cameras - Apple follows
* Android phones get bigger screens - Apple follows (expected this year)
* Android phones get NFC - Apple follows (expected this year)
* Android devices get LTE - Apple follows (expected this year)
* Android devices create market for 7" tablets - Apple follows (later this year)

To get an idea of which new features the next Apple phone/tablet will get, one can simply look at the current crop of the best Android devices. The only mystery about Apple designs left is the number and location of buttons (usually one, usually we know where).


I'll trump all that and take you back to 2007.

Apple release iPhone, Google takes a fit, moulds Android (which at that point had looked more like a RIM knock off) into a UI that resembles iPhone. Whores Android to multiple manufacturers, who use it to create their own "version" of the iPhone.
Rating: 6 Positives

[ Read All Comments ]