updated 12:00 pm EDT, Fri September 23, 2011
May be testbed for future A-series chip
The most recent source code for Clang -- the default compiler in Xcode -- now shows support for a quad-core Marvell processor, the ARM-based Armada XP, according to Ars Technica. The chip is notably built for low-powered cloud computing tasks. Support can only be enabled when an "open source" flag is left undefined, something believed to imply that only Apple's own Clang binaries can compile for the XP.
The company is unlikely to use Marvell's chip in any Mac or iOS devices, as since the first-generation iPad it has taken to creating its own ARM-based processors, the A series. It's speculated that Apple may be employing the Armada XP in a prototype logic board, letting software engineers work on optimizations for iOS or OS X while its hardware team crafts an actual quad-core A-series chip, possibly the A6.
Apple has been rumored as testing a MacBook Air running an ARM chip instead of an Intel processor. Such a switch would let Apple take more control over its computer designs, and possibly help bridge iOS and OS X. It might also bring a number of complications however, namely having to rework OS X for compatibility with the ARM platform and third-party devices.