We’ve seen plenty of leaked parts for the iPhone 5S, but the latest batch might be the most important yet. Images published by MacRumors suggest that Apple is indeed upgrading from an A6 chip to an A7 chip in the iPhone 5S.
The site noticed a new marking of APL0698 on the processor, which seems to be an upgrade from the APL0598 marking on the iPhone 5 A6 processor. That’s not too surprising, since we’re expecting a faster processor than what’s in the iPhone 5. What is interesting, however, is that the chip appears to be manufactured by someone other than Samsung.
MacRumors spoke to two members of the team at Chipworks who noticed that the A7 chip identifier is K1A0062, but identifiers on chips made by Samsung and provided to Apple typically start with the letter “N.” It’s not confirmed yet, but the change in identifier suggests that perhaps Apple is already moving its business away from Samsung and toward Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) — though that partnership wasn’t expected to begin so immediately.
The prototype—which also features a dual-LED camera flash—was allegedly built in December 2012, which means it’s very possible for a lot of components to have changed by this point. Apple is expected to unveil the iPhone 5S sometime between now and the fall.