Apple’s rumored ‘iPhone 6c’ boasting an in-house designed ‘A8’ processor, a four-inch Retina screen, Touch ID fingerprint scanning and Apple Pay mobile payments could be with you in time for Thanksgiving, according to latest reports from Apple’s supply chain.
Assuming the reports are true, the mythical device will pose a significant jump in terms of hardware versus the iPhone 5c, which runs the iPhone 5’s three-year old A6 processor and has no biometric authentication or NFC.
Apple yesterday refreshed its aging lineup of iPod-branded music players. By and large, the iPod touch has received its most substantial upgrade yet as Apple really went all out with upgrades on the hardware front.
Not only does the new iPod touch run the latest Apple-designed “A8” processor as the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, but includes the M8 motion coprocessor, a much-improved eight-megapixel camera on the back, three times faster Wi-Fi and the latest in Bluetooth networking.
Here are some interesting tidbits related to the iPod touch’s hardware surprises.
Apple supplier Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) on Thursday announced record profits in the fourth quarter of 2014 buoyed by its lucrative chip-making deal with Apple for the new iPhones.
In addition, the firm announced migrating to a much finer 10-nanometer process technology this year after being among the first to adopt 20-nanometer chip-making technology in 2014.
According to KGI Securities analyst Ming Chi-Kuo, TSMC would not only pick up 100 percent of orders for Apple’s “A9X” chip, which should be used in an iPad refresh this Fall, but also get to produce an “S2” processor for a second-generation Apple Watch and an “A10” chip that should power a 2016 iPhone model, likely to be called “iPhone 7”.
While some photography apps in the App Store — such as the $49.99 Vizzywig 8xHD — make shooting film-like 4K footage on an iPhone a reality by taking a series of individual eight-megapixel images in rapid succession, the general public and techies alike are totally unaware that the latest iPhones are actually capable of rendering 4K 3,840-by-2,160 pixel video.
And who could blame them? After all, Apple’s been conspicuously mum about it. But as it turns out, the A8 chip ticking inside the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus provides enough oomph to seamlessly handle 4K content playback.
The surprising discovery was made public last week by Softorino (via TUAW), the developers of WALTR, a new Mac app which makes it easy to upload and convert any video or audio file to an iOS-friendly format for native playback on iPhones, iPads, iPods and Apple TVs.
While it makes little sense to render massive 4K videos on the 1,334-by-750 and 1,920-by-1,080 pixel resolution screens of the respective iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus smartphones due to inevitable downsampling, the very fact that the A8 processor can handle 4K content is important on many levels.
Apple sent out a notification to developers today, giving them a heads up on a few upcoming changes to its App Store submission policy. Posted in its developer portal, the bulletin says that beginning in February of next year, iOS applications must meet two new requirements.
Starting February 1, 2015, new apps and updates must be built using the iOS 8 SDK (software development kit), and they must include 64-bit support, otherwise they will be rejected. Apple made a similar announcement around this time last year for iOS 7 app optimization.
Following a blurry shot posted by Taiwanese blog Apple.club.tw this weekend that purportedly depicts a claimed iPad Air 2 logic board with a chip labeled ‘A8X’, the same source Monday republished a much clearer image. It should be music to the ears of everyone hoping Apple will bump the forthcoming iPad Air 2 to two gigabytes of RAM. The RAM module appears to be built by Elpida, one of Apple’s memory suppliers, as determined by the markings on the chip.
Doubling the amount of RAM would admittedly allow the tablet to keep more applications active and result in smoother multitasking, faster graphics and performance improvements across the board.
Apple’s upcoming iPad Air 2 and the rumored 12.9-inch iPad, dubbed by the media the ‘iPad Pro’, will both run an enhanced “A8X” processor with improved graphics, GforGames claimed Thursday citing Taiwan’s TechNews [Google Translate].
Last year’s debut of the iPhone 5s, iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display driven by the A7 chip broke Apple’s previous practice of maintaining two separate mobile processor families, one for iPhones and ‘X’ version powering the iPads.
The fact of the matter is, the A7 and A8 chips are powerful enough to drive graphics on both smartphone and tablet displays. That said, if there’s an A8X chip in tow for the rumored 12.9-inch device, chances are it’ll come outfitted with an ultra high-resolution screen that would require a more powerful GPU than that found inside the A8 chip.
The new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus powered by the Apple-designed A8 processor leave the vast majority of Android competition in the dust in terms of CPU performance and battery life, according to a series of performance benchmarks conducted by the reputable hardware review website AnandTech.
The website’s founder Anand Lal Shimpi recently joined Apple for an undisclosed role.
Speaking of the handsets’ graphics performance, the site has found the iPhone 6 Plus performing a hair slower versus the iPhone 5s due to the increased screen resolution. It’s also approximately fifteen percent slower in GPU performance than the Nvidia Shield-based tablets. Despite this minor setback, performance gains across the board translate into “a pretty solid lead over the competition for the iPhone 6/A8,” wrote the site.
According to Apple, the A8 processor has two billion transistors, twice as much as the previous A7 chip. The piece of silicon incorporates twenty percent faster CPU and a cool fifty percent faster graphics while enabling up to 50 percent more energy efficiency than its A7 counterpart, as per Apple’s official numbers.
Apple’s new iPhones — the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus — come outfitted with Apple’s in-house designed A8 system-on-a-chip which has an astounding two billion transistors, twice as many as its predecessor, the A7.
The second-generation 64-bit mobile processor is fabricated on a smaller 20-nanomenter process technology making it more power-friendly and thirteen percent smaller than the A7.
Conveniently timed just ahead of Apple’s big reveal at 10a. PT / 1pm ET, an alleged Geekbench benchmark of Apple’s unreleased iPhone 6 smartphone surfaced online Tuesday morning. The scores suggest that the Apple-designed A8 chip powering the forthcoming handset still has the same 1GB of RAM as prior iPhones.
However, Apple seems to have increased the A8’s clock frequency marginally, going from the 1.3GHz inside the iPhone 5s slightly up to 1.4GHz on the iPhone 6.
Geekbench scores come via the same Weibo user “zzray” who made a video of a nearly-assembled iPhone 6 booting to iOS 8 and running smoothly in spite of its bigger screen with more pixels.
According to DigiTimes, a hit-and-miss Taiwanese trade publication, Apple’s suppliers are ramping up production of components for a second-generation iPad Air, which sources describe as being thinner, faster and incorporating the widely expected Touch ID fingerprint scanning feature.
The report Tuesday doesn’t shed more light on the matter beyond stating the obvious, that the device will run the upcoming A8 processor and be thinner than the current-generation iPad Air, which itself is 7.5mm (about 0.29 inch) thick.