Apple reportedly considering six-core CPU design for next year's A10 SoC

Apple reportedly considering six-core CPU design for next year's A10 SoC
The chips that power the Apple iPhone have always been a point of interest, for they might seem puny on paper in comparison with, say, Qualcomm and MediaTek's hi-end silicon, yet they produce rivaling performance in benchmarks. Take, for example, the Apple A9 ticking inside the iPhone 6S and 6s Plus. Following the September 9 Apple event, we've gotten to know that the chip, which scored some of the highest results pulled off by an ARM-based processor, comes with just two 64-bit CPU cores, clocked to a maximum of 1.8GHz each. 

Meanwhile, Qualcomm's hi-end Snapdragon 810 and 808 chips have eight and six cores each. Two cores may not sound very impressive, but the A9 does run iOS 9 like it was always meant to do that, right?

Turning our attention to the latest rumors, we heard something that sounds downright controversial! Originating from a source that's been credible with hi-end chipset data in the past, the rumor is that Apple will increase the A10 CPU's core count to a whopping, by conservative Cupertino CPU design standards, six cores. Reportedly, Apple expects to step up multithreading performance with this decision.

In a less puzzling move, though, Samsung and TSMC's 14nm or even 10nm fabrication processes could be employed for producing the chipset. Even Intel gets a mention as a possible production partner, but that would be a huge first for both companies, so we're not particularly invested in this opportunity.

In a hypothetical scenario, a thoroughly optimized six-core ARM chip could let Apple further increase the battery life of iOS devices by coming up with a more power-efficient design. The ninth instalment of iOS already saw the implementation of a power saving mode, along with the usual performance optimizations.

Ironically enough, while Apple is rumored to increase its CPU's core count, Android chipmaker Qualcomm is actually reducing the number of cores to four for its upcoming flagship processor, the Snapdragon 820. Interim, MediaTek is experimenting with a ten-core setup for its upcoming Helio X20 architecture. The chipmaking industry seems to be in an experimental mood, overall. We remember a time when just one core was enough for everybody, but there, that's technological progress for you!

via G For Games

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63 Comments

1. darkkjedii

Posts: 31311; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Just keep good battery life, and I'm all for it.

10. neela_akaash

Posts: 1239; Member since: Aug 05, 2014

Don't worry. It's not possible with Apple to take this huge jump...

19. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

Yeah well Apple doubled the RAM amount from the iPad Air 2 on the iPad Pro so this comment is no longer valid.

22. darkkjedii

Posts: 31311; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

I don't even bother responding to these miserable trolls anymore. They're like roaches, kill one, 10 more pop up. Post 10 bro.

24. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

They talk so much sh-t about Apple but always the first ones in the article lmao. Just wait until the iPhone review pops up. Bookmark this page - there's going to be over 70+ comments complaining how this scored higher than most other Androids on the market . Watch.

27. darkkjedii

Posts: 31311; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Lmaoooo there sure will be. 100% agreed lol

32. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

Hack both phone. Run windows on them or any OS not made for them to see who has the real raw power. android on an iphone would lag even more than ios 9 is currently lagging lol. ios on the hardware used in current flagship android would fly literally fly. Give me an octocore with 3 gb ram , 1080p screen , 3000 mah battery all on ios and i buy it tomorow. So this is great news if its happen.

36. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

Too bad the A9 is a better SoC than the Snapdragon 810. :(

46. Astoni

Posts: 649; Member since: Sep 28, 2013

To bad snapdragon hasn't been that good lately. Qualcom, if they want to shape up, need to adress the problems before release.

53. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Any SOC is better than the SD810. Samsung's own Exynos is too.

69. Plutonium239

Posts: 1232; Member since: Mar 17, 2015

Well, that depends if its vanilla android or if its Samsung's horribly inefficient Touchwiz. Vanilla android wouldn't lag like Touchwiz or IOS. Windows Phone 8, 8.1, or Windows 10 mobile(which is slightly less efficient than Windows Phone 8.1, at least the most recent build anyways).

39. Mister-Z-

Posts: 175; Member since: Sep 07, 2015

How the hell was that a troll post?

56. sgodsell

Posts: 7451; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Where are all the Apple people who always said specs don't matter? So now that Apple is going to jump onto a hexa core processor. I wonder what their excuse will be now?

58. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

Specs still don't matter. What apple does is slow, they don't rush, in response their 6core will most likely destroy an equivalent 6core. Let me know what current 2-core Arm soc in any android phone bench like the A9 does. Specs don't matter, but there comes a time when directions taken needs more, it is not about shoving an 8core chip into a system that barely uses it, shoving 4gb into a phone just to have the OS eat it up, and all that jazz when the equivalent low end hardware does just as well.

65. perry1234

Posts: 648; Member since: Aug 14, 2012

Well said !

63. darkkjedii

Posts: 31311; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

We'll simply keep using, and enjoying our phones. Times, and texh changes, no excuses needed.

67. nodes

Posts: 1160; Member since: Mar 06, 2014

it's just a very very early rumour, and you take it like it is for sure. and we don't know if 6-core setup consists of true 6-core running at the same time, or 2-4, 3-3 we don't know.

52. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Also took Apple twice as long as anyone else to do it too. The comment is still valid. 2GB of RAM isnt worth bragging about when I still have twice as much as you and last years model still had 3 times as much as you.

55. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

Memory leak on Lollipop makes 3/4GB useless. I've witnessed it in person. It's there.

68. nodes

Posts: 1160; Member since: Mar 06, 2014

2GB of RAM of fully optimized OS can keep apps from reloading more than 4GB of RAM of that Note 5.

29. meloth1991

Posts: 39; Member since: Aug 26, 2012

Just clocked 6 hours 37 min usage time and 14 hours 27 min of stand by time on my iPhone 6 after the iOS 9 update !! Was quite shocked , I guess the promises of better life is true after all .

59. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

And here I am with my 1520, on beta software at 17hrs with 15% left after having the screen on for 4 straight hours and other uses which probably pushed total screen time to 8hrs (no gaming today).

64. stanislav

Posts: 136; Member since: Sep 22, 2014

I think it will had at least a little sense to comapre it with iphone 6+

33. Ruturaj

Posts: 1484; Member since: Oct 16, 2014

Quad core would have done the job, I guess. Apple has to stop the game, who makes thinnest phone, very few people care. I want device with good screen to body ratio, sufficient battery life, I am okay if it's a little thick.

60. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

I would suspect they might do big little, 2 little cores for standby that get turned off and let 4 cores take over during action.

44. MikeG77

Posts: 426; Member since: Nov 24, 2008

The major issue with having "good" battery life is that year over year we keep seeing phones become thinner, with more ram, faster processors and higher resolution screens but we don't any major improvements with battery life. Don't get me wrong we have devices with wireless charging and fast charging which is nice but it's just a stop gap for the time being. I wish companies like Apple would stop trying to make there phones thinner and invest some money into trying to create a denser battery even if it causes their new phones to be a little thicker then i would be fine with it.

61. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

We do see a major improvement in batteries. Take those same specs, grab a 2010 battery and see how long it lasts...I'll wait...(you might need to solder some parts but ill wait). MS actually had the right idea of two different batteries. Currently batteries do horrible in low power mode and horrible in high draw mode, they are designed for medium draw scenarios. The idea of having a split battery one optimized purely for low draw and one optimized purely for med-high draw, MS saw lab results of a week on a single charge.

66. MikeG77

Posts: 426; Member since: Nov 24, 2008

I'm not saying there aren't any improvements but typically those come from a combination of throwing in a larger battery with a more efficient processor which like wireless/quick charging is just a stop gap. My Droid Incredible, Thunderbolt and Galaxy Nexus were all terrible with battery life and my 2013 Moto X is only slightly better so i know a 2010 battery will get smoked. Now if Microsoft has seen lab results of a week on 1 charge why have they not brought it too market? To me that's the kind of innovation we need to see when it comes to batteries in a smartphone.

2. vincelongman

Posts: 5724; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Sounds great Any word if it's 6 of the same or a big.LITTLE setup? Either way it will probably be top notch Next year will be very interesting for ARM SoCs A10 vs 820 vs Exynos with M1 Mongoose cores vs X30 vs 950

9. InsertUsernameHere

Posts: 430; Member since: Aug 31, 2014

I think it will be 6 of the same.

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