Apple’s A6 Processor Inspected at Microscopic Levels, Reveals Design Secrets

By Monday, September 24, 2012 0 , , Permalink 0

Apple has been quite verbose when it comes to boasting about the performance of the recently released iPhone 5 and specifically the A6 processor that powers the handset. To find out the secrets of the A6, UBM TechInsights went a lot deeper than standard teardown and found evidences that Apple had been busy adding cores to the processor based on its own unique design.

Cupertino, at the time of the iPhone 5’s launch, claimed that the new A6 chip delivers twice the performance as compared to its predecessors and that too with a longer battery life. The clock speed of the A6 chip is somewhere around the 1.2GHz mark which doesn’t answer the claim of ‘twice as faster’ claim. So, one may ask as to where does the new chip derive higher performance from?

Electronically speaking, to bump up the performance of a processor, either you have to increase the clock speed of the processor or add more cores to the processor. If clock speed is increased, longer battery life goes kibosh and more core means software needs to have more brains to handle the increased amount of silicon. The 1.2 GHz clock speed of the A6 indicates that Apple hasn’t gone ahead with the first option to achieve greater performance. This indicates that Cupertino would have gone for addition of more cores to the processor and as it has an ‘architecture’ license from ARM, it certainly would have taken up this route.

According to UBM the new A6 has two cores as found in A5 chips but, on further examination, the processor reveals its secrets. UBM found that the A6 is having three graphics cores. The processor has an entirely new design, that doesn’t look anything like that of its predecessors. Allan Yogasingam, Technical Marketing Manager at UBM, said, “It just looks different.”

Earlier it was speculated that Apple may be cutting down its component orders from Samsung following the patent battle but, according to UBM, the A6 does bear resemblance to that of Samsung manufactured chips.