Apple prepping quad-core iPad, iPhone?

Developers have spotted support for quad-core processors in Apple's Xcode, meaning it could be developing super-powerful iPads and iPhones.

Future models of iPads and iPhones will be quad-core, upping the processing power no end, if what developers have discovered is correct. Those poking around in Apple's Xcode developer tool have found it'll support quad-core ARM CPUs, meaning future versions of iPhone and iPad could well support next-generation processors.

The developers leaked the source code to ArsTechnica yesterday. The references show Apple recently added support for Marvell's quad-core ARM-based Armada XP processor. (We're not going to pretend to understand the code itself -- it looks like a computer going insane to us.) 

Whether Apple will actually use that chip or not is anyone's guess. It could use it as a placeholder until it develops its own quad-core CPU. The A5 processor found in the iPad 2 is dual-core, and the same is rumoured to be coming in the iPhone 5 . Other reports have hinted Apple's next CPU will be named A6 and use 3D stacking technology, though of course Apple hasn't officially revealed anything.

But if you think that means a quad-core iPhone 5, think again. As mentioned, it's rumoured to be dual-core, as quad-core smart phones aren't due until next year (on these shores anyway), despite promises . But this could spell very exciting things indeed for the iPad 3.

Nvidia's quad-core Kal-El chip may ship next year , bringing near-desktop performance to Android devices, so Apple will obviously have something up its sleeve to compete. Other rumours say it could use a similar processor in a new MacBook Air to provide better battery life.

Apple is widening its supply base for components , using fewer of Samsung's and more of Toshiba's -- probably something to do with all those lawsuits Apple and Samsung keep slapping each other with .

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