According to conjecture from Linley Gwennap (reported by Barron's), senior editor at Microprocessor Report, Apple's next-generation mobile processor, the A6 chip, should be quad-core but only available in iPads.
Gwennap wrote a piece examining the structure of Apple's current A5 processor found in the iPad 2 and come up with two interesting conclusions about how Apple is using their own processor technology to advance their hardware faster and more efficiently than their competitors.
One conclusion is that Apple:
"has gone for bigger chips than the 'merchant' silicon offered by vendors such as Nvidia because it can get greater performance at the same price: Apple doesn't pay the markup it would have to give to Nvidia or another company. Larger chip, same money, in other words."
When you make your own product, you reap all the rewards--only fair if you accept all the risk of doing so.
Gwennap notes that because Apple sells so many iOS devices that use Apple's own chip technology, the cost of research and development per device is well under $1. Not a bad price to have your own processor that is outperforming anything from other companies.
Gwennap then concludes that Apple's next chip, the A6, will most likely be a quad-core processor, but will run much too hot to be included in the iPhone 5. Instead, expect the A6 in iPads only with iPhones running a version of the A5 until Apple engineers a way for the speed of a quad-core A6 processor to run cooler.
Conspiracy theorists can get in on the action too. Gwennap offers a bit of mystery surrounding Apple's A5:
"Gwennap notes that about 33 square millimeters of the A5 is extra circuitry that can't be accounted for. It's not the CPU, it's not the GPU, it's not any kind of integrated functions, such as wireless controller logic, etc., as all of that stuff is still external to the processor, as it was in the A4."
Is Apple smart to use their own chip technology in their products? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!