Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is developing a new A7 processor, which is likely to be featured in the iPhone 5S, the company’s 2013 model of the flagship smartphone, according to code found inside the new iOS 7 operating system, and the company might work with Samsung (KRX:005935) to produce the chip, contrary to earlier reports.
Nick Frey, an Apple developer, who suggested that the next iPad mini could include an A6 processor, has provided yet another tidbit from inside the iOS 7, suggesting that the upcoming iPhone 5S will sport a faster processor, compared to the existing iPhone 5’s A6 chip.
According to a report from 9to5Mac, the developer found references to an “s5l8960x” application processor in a code within the iOS 7, which he believed to be a new A7 chip. The “s5l8960x” reference is seen to be a leap over the existing numerations, such as “s5l8950x” and “s5l8955x,” which refer to the A6 and A6X processors found in the iPhone 5 and the iPad 4, respectively.
“Based on recent chatter, it seems plausible that this will be the chip powering the new iPhone 5S,” the report said.
In addition, the hidden code inside the iOS 7 also showed that Apple’s new A7 processor will consist of components from Samsung. The 9to5Mac report said, citing “a person familiar with Apple’s chip design process,” the new system-on-a-chip will sport some Samsung-made parts, which could power the device’s display.
Reports surfaced earlier this year, saying that Samsung was excluded from Apple’s plans for its A7 processor, and that Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, or TSMC (NYSE:TSM), would get the exclusive rights to produce the new chip.
DigiTimes reported in May that TSMC is expected to grab 100 percent of the order to produce the application processors for the 2014 model of the iPhone, while Samsung would continue to manufacture the chips for the iPhone 5S.
While the appearance of clues to possible Samsung components in the iOS 7 code seemingly confirms that Apple will work with the South Korean tech giant for its product line-up for 2013, it still remains unclear whether TSMC is completely out of the picture in the chip production process.
Recent rumors also said that Apple might be looking to reduce its reliance on Samsung and had already secured a three-year deal with TSMC, under which the Taiwanese chip-maker would produce new A8, A9 and A9X chips for future generations of iPhones and iPads.
Apple is expected to release the iPhone 5S toward the end of September or early October with a number of new features, including an improved camera, a fingerprint sensor, new capability to record video at a faster rate to create slow-motion clips and, of course, the iOS 7.