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Latest Xcode Release Suggests Apple is Already Working on a Quad-Core iPad

There’s no denying that the iPad 2 is incredibly quick. I’ve been using the device since its release back in March, and I’m yet to do anything on it that is even remotely struggling for that dual-core A5 processor. It seems someone in Cupertino, however, wants it even faster. How about a quad-core CPU?

In the source code for the latest release of Apple’s Xcode developer application, Apple has introduced support for Marvell’s quad-core ARM-based Armada XP processor — a chip which the company targets at the low-power applications — such as those that run on the iPad.

Xcode source code mentions quad-core CPU

Ars Technica has been able to confirm that support for this CPU is indeed in the latest version of Xcode, after a developer alerted them to a change in the source code. The only explanation for its appearance that we can think of, is for a future quad-core iPad, which would allow it to compete with the upcoming quad-core Kal-El CPU from NVIDIAArs suggests:

Apple could be considering the Marvell for next-generation iOS devices, such as the iPad 3. NVIDIA may possibly have its “Kal-El” quad-core Tegra 3 processors shipping sometime next year, powering Android-based mobile devices with “near desktop” processing power. Marvell’s Armada processors are certainly geared towards that kind of performance.

Ars also suggests that the chip couple possibly be destined for the MacBook Air. Rumors have been circulating for some time that claim Apple’s ultraportable will one day adopt ARM processors — there was even talk of an ARM-powered MacBook Air floating around Cupertino — but I for one don’t envisage this happening, at least not for a very long time.

The Intel processors Apple already uses for its MacBook Air are ideal: they’re already power-friendly and good on battery life, while at the same time powerful enough that they make the MacBook Air ideal for everyday tasks. Why would Apple want to change a winning formula?

The most conceivable scenario, then, is that Apple has introduced support for this processor in order to test it with the iPad in preparation for its own quad-core A6 processor — which is likely to debut in the iPad 3.

Do you think we really need a quad-core iPad?

[via Ars Technica]


Killian Bell

Killian Bell is a 20-something technology journalist based in a tiny town in England. He has an obsession with that little company in Cupertino...

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