Apple's iPhone 5C is likely to shift to ARM's latest Cortex-A17 CPU design later this fall. According to ARM, the new Cortex-A17 processor is optimized for maximum performance for mobile mid-range power budgets. The Cortex-A17 processor reaches a single thread performance of 60% over the Cortex-A9 processor, making it the fastest mid-range solution available.
The current iPhone 5C uses the A6 according to Apple's iPhone 5C specifications. The current A6 processor is in a 32-bit package and is based on a custom-designed ARMv7 dual core 32nm CPU at 1.3 GHz. At the high-end, the new ARM processor is based on an improved ARMv7-A architecture. It'll be offered in dual and quad core configurations and is based on 28nm that will be ramped up to 2 GHz. The mid-range will power up to 1.5 GHz.
Key Features of the New ARM Cortex-A17 Processor
Some of the key ARM features set for the Cortex-A17 Processor are listed below. Considering that Apple customizes ARM processors, it's unknown which of these listed features will make their way to either the iPhone 5C or Apple TV set top box this fall.
Thumb-2 Technology: Delivers the peak performance of traditional ARM code while also providing up to a 30% reduction in memory required to store instructions
TrustZone Technology: Ensures reliable implementation of security applications ranging from digital rights management to electronic payment.
NEON: NEON technology can accelerate multimedia and signal processing algorithms such as video encode/decode, 2D/3D graphics, gaming, audio and speech processing, image processing, telephony, and sound synthesis
DSP & SIMD Extensions: Increase the DSP processing capability of ARM solutions in high-performance applications, while offering the low power consumption required by portable, battery-powered devices. The DSP extensions are optimized for a broad range of software applications including servo motor control, Voice over IP (VOIP) and video & audio codecs.
Floating Point: Cortex-A17 processor provides a high-performance FPU including hardware support for floating point operations in half-, single- and double-precision floating point arithmetic.
Hardware Virtualization: Highly efficient hardware support for data management and arbitration, whereby multiple software environments and their applications are able to access simultaneously the system capabilities. This enables the realization of devices that are robust, with virtual environments that are well isolated from each other.
Large Physical Address Extensions (LPAE): The introduction of Large Physical Address Extensions (LPAE) enables the processor to access up to 1TB of memory.
Optimized Level 1 Caches: Performance and power optimized L1 caches combine minimal access latency techniques to maximize performance and minimize power consumption. Cortex-A17 processor offers configurable caches with sizes between 32kB and 64kB for instruction and 32kB for data.