Semiconductor firm ARM announced Wednesday a new processor by the name of Cortex A-9. This family of processors offers low power consumption and multiple cores that can run as fast or greater than 2GHz. The firm said that Cortex was specifically aimed at mobile devices, and that it will be available for manufacturers starting in the 4th quarter of 2009 (manufacturers are getting reference designs now).
The firm said in a statement, "The Cortex-A9 speed-optimized hard macro implementation will provide system designers with an industry standard ARM processor incorporating aggressive low-power techniques to further extend ARM's performance leadership into high-margin consumer and enterprise devices within the power envelope necessary for compact, high-density and thermally constrained environments."
If that sounds like it could fit well in a future iPhone, or perhaps some form of iPhone OS-based tablet device, you're right in line with speculation that's already spreading around the Internet. Apple uses a PA Semi-tweaked ARM reference design in the iPhone 3Gs, and ARM is precisely and specifically aiming this new version of the Cortex at the growing market of portable digital devices such as smart phones and netbooks.
The Cortex A-9 is being introduced as a dual-core chip at first, and an ARM exec told 9to5Mac that it will eventually be available in as many as 8 cores. The exec also told the magazine that the new Cortex will run Flash - something older versions can't, and part of the reason that neither Apple nor Adobe have implemented Flash on the iPhone.
So, even if this new processor isn't involved in any unannounced Apple tablet devices, they could well show up in future versions of the iPhone.