Report: Apple testing A5 iPhones with game devs

New report says Apple is having developers test version of iPhone with faster, dual-core A5 processor. If true, that would be far ahead of several-times reported release of next iPhone.

Apple's A5 processor, currently found only in the iPad 2. Apple

Select iOS application developers have been given versions of the iPhone with Apple's dual-core A5 processor, according to a new report.

Citing an anonymous source, 9to5mac says Apple has given some prominent game developers prototype versions of the iPhone that pack the A5 processor to test their applications. These units are said to be otherwise identical to the current version of the iPhone 4, except for the faster internals.

The A5 processor made its debut within the iPad 2. A successor to the A4 processor, which can be found in the first generation iPad and the iPhone 4, the A5 sports two cores while using the same power draw as the chip it is replacing. When he introduced the A5 as part of the iPad 2's specifications, Apple CEO Steve Jobs also noted that the chip boosted graphics performance by a factor of nine.

That extra oomph could give game developers a noticeable boost in graphical power, since the iPhone 4 has a lower overall screen resolution than the iPad, meaning there are less pixels to push. That additional power could be spent on extra shaders, adding more processing effects to what's happening on-screen.

Giving developers a heads-up on extra power is not an unusual habit for device makers, however Apple has a track record of giving advance notice to only a select few people, and of providing that information just weeks, or sometimes days, ahead of a public unveiling. But with multiple reports from major outlets pegging the release of the next iPhone to sometime near September, the A5 news would suggest Apple is changing its habits in regard to advance notice, perhaps to give developers a chance to produce content that would be exclusive to the platform and the hardware itself.

One thing that could pour some cold water on this rumor is that teardowns of the A4 and A5 chips by Chipworks showed the A5 to be more than twice the size of the A4. The A5 that's in this alleged iPhone prototype would likely be made using a different manufacturing process, or use different packaging because of obvious space constraints.

Other tidbits from 9to5mac's report say that the prototype hardware is being kept in a secured location within the companies and is running iOS 4. Shortly following the release of iOS 4.3, evidence was found within its source code that the operating system was able to support the A5 processor for an unnamed device within the iPhone family. That mystery device could very well be these alleged prototype units.

 

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