So it turns out Apple’s vaunted A6 is not based on the ARM Cortex A15 processor. Rather, it’s based on Apple’s own design.
Prior to the announcement we speculated the iPhone 5′s SoC would simply be a higher clocked version of the 32nm A5r2 used in the iPad 2,4. After all, Apple seems to like saving major architecture shifts for the iPad.
However, just prior to the announcement I received some information pointing to a move away from the ARM Cortex A9 used in the A5. Given Apple’s reliance on fully licensed ARM cores in the past, the expected performance gains and unpublishable information that started all of this I concluded Apple’s A6 SoC likely featured two ARM Cortex A15 cores.
It turns out I was wrong. But pleasantly surprised.
The A6 is the first Apple SoC to use its own ARMv7 based processor design. The CPU core(s) aren’t based on a vanilla A9 or A15 design from ARM IP, but instead are something of Apple’s own creation.