updated 10:25 am EDT, Mon April 9, 2012
Apple said testing A5X in old iPhone body
A new rumor Monday has shown that Apple might be examining the effect of the A5X chip in an iPhone. The 9to5 claim has a version of the new iPad's chip was reportedly sitting in the existing iPhone 4S body as a test mule. The design, codenamed N96, reportedly has the same 1GB of RAM, although no mentions were made of what might be different.
The 2012 iPhone design is claimed to be physically different and would see at least some change from the prototype. Likewise, it's unknown if N96 actually reflects the next iPhone or is strictly an internal component for the sake of research.
In the iPad's brief history, it has always served as a clue as to whatever processor the next iPhone would have, with both the A4 and A5 getting slight variants when they appeared in the iPhone 4 and 4S. As the A5X is itself a variant on an earlier design, though, its continuity isn't known. Rumors have swirled of an A6 also in development that may be waiting on a new 28-nanometer manufacturing process, ARM's new Cortex-A15 architecture, or both.
Side-by-side with the N96 is talk of a long-expected fifth-generation iPod touch. An Apple-only iOS build has been shown making mention of an "iPod 5,1," indicating a brand-new version rather than an iteration on the current fourth-generation iPod touch (iPod 4,1). It may introduce an A5 or A5X into the design along with updating the iPod in unknown ways.
Uncertainty exists as to whether the new iPhone might arrive at or near the Worldwide Developers Conference in mid-year or if Apple is now on a regular pattern of updating the iPhone in the early fall following the iPhone 4S launch. New iPods have usually shown at the very end of summer or early fall.