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Firmware 3.0 may bring multi-core capability to the iPhone?

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ZDNet, a leading technology site, reports that the iPhone 3.0 firmware will support quad-core processors in an upcoming iPhone hardware revision.

While Apple has not yet detailed iPhone 3.0 firmware, numerous sites have independently heard from a reliable source of this same multi-core support in the 3.0 firmware which should accompany the next iPhone. This should greatly speed up processing for the iPhone and its applications.

Meanwhile, in related new, Imagination Technologies is announcing a multi-core GPU that could be very suitable for iPhone use. Apple, who happens to be an investor in Imagination Technologies, presently uses a less powerful version of their PowerVR GPU in the iPhone and iPod touch.

The likely candidate for the new iPhone’s CPU, however, is a derivative of the ARM Cortex A9 multi-core processor. The ARM Cortex has excellent power efficiency (useful for battery life, one of the iPhone’s main remaining complaints), well ahead of Intel’s Atom offerings. Apple appears to be an ARM architectural licensee and their acquisition of P.A. Semi has brought low-power chip design expertise into the company.


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