Apple Working With Quad-Core Processors for Next-Generation iDevices?

Even with all of the confusion surrounding Apple’s iPhone announcement this year, there are two things we know for certain. The device is going to include a faster processor (presumably the A5 found in the iPad 2), and a better camera.

While we don’t know much about the camera just yet, we do have a pretty good idea of what the A5 is capable of. It wouldn’t surprise me to see Apple tout the next iPhone as the fastest in the industry. And they’re already working on making it faster….

Ars Technica spotlights some interesting code, found within Xcode, that suggests Apple is already experimenting with quad-core processors. The utility, which developers use to make apps for iOS and Mac OS, shows support for a quad-core processor.

Ars Technica explains:

“Last, and most probable in our opinion, is that Apple is using the Marvell chip in prototypes of future iOS device designs (or even an ARM-based MacBook Air that is rumored to exist somewhere inside One Infinite Loop) for testing purposes. An Armada XP-powered prototype logic board would allow iOS or Mac OS X software engineers to experiment with performance tuning and other optimizations, while Apple’s hardware design team — comprised largely of former PA Semi and Intrinsity engineers — could continue working on a possible quad-core ARM design to be manufactured somewhere down the road.”

Android manufacturers are already rumored to be working on quad-core processor devices, so it’s nice to know that Apple isn’t asleep at the wheel. The ARM-based MacBook Air, however, is intriguing, as it could be the next step in iOS-Mac OS convergence.