Ars Technica points us to source code from the latest version of the LLVM-based default compiler within Xcode showing what appears to be support for Marvell’s ARM compliant Armada XP processor. Of course this has lead to speculation that Apple is potentially considering the processors for next-gen iOS devices, but as Ars points out, even the least exciting scenario would mean good things to come:
Last, and most probable in our opinion, is that Apple is using the Marvell chip in prototypes of future iOS device designs (or even an ARM-based MacBook Air that is rumored to exist somewhere inside One Infinite Loop) for testing purposes. An Armada XP-powered prototype logic board would allow iOS or Mac OS X software engineers to experiment with performance tuning and other optimizations, while Apple’s hardware design team—comprised largely of former PA Semi and Intrinsity engineers—could continue working on a possible quad-core ARM design to be manufactured somewhere down the road.
As the report notes, this is at the very least an indication of Apple potentially working on a new quad-core ARM processor of their own. Less likely is a Marvell chip being included in a publicly released Apple product.
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