With one iOS device update out of the way for 2012, Apple is working on updates to the iPhone and iPod touch. While these updates are expected, we’ve learned some details about this new iPhone and iPod touch.
First, the new iPhone. Much like they did last year, Apple has internally seeded a prototype next-generation iPhone with the iPhone 4 design. The actual next-generation iPhone is specifically said to not include the iPhone 4/4S design, but Apple is testing these new devices in older casings to throw off leaks. The purpose of the prototype iPhone that we heard about is to test a variation of the “A5X” chip in an iPhone. The A5X processor in the new iPad was specifically built to drive the new Retina Display, so that chip wouldn’t make much sense in an iPhone.
Instead, the iPhone prototypes that we’re talking about have a variation of the A5X’s S5L8945X architecture. Like the A5X-powered iPad, these new iPhone prototypes are packing 1GB of RAM. This prototype is labeled N96 internally, but we’re not sure if this internal codename will carry over to the actual next-generation iPhone. Again, this iPhone that we are describing is an internal-only unit built for testing the performance of a new chip in an iPhone, not an actual phone that Apple will produce.
On to the iPod touch…
The iPod touch was an interesting product for Apple last year as it was the only iOS device to not receive internal nor cosmetic changes (save for a new white model). However, it looks like Apple is still interested in the iPod touch and wants a future for it. According to a file inside of an internal iOS 5.1 build, Apple is working on a fifth-generation iPod touch that is labeled iPod 5,1 internally. We haven’t heard any specifics regarding the new iPod touch hardware, but the jump from 4,1 (the current internal iPod touch label) to 5,1 indicates major internal changes, at the very least. Perhaps Apple is finally moving to an A5 or A5X-like chip in the iPod touch. After all, the iPod touch is one of the most popular gaming devices on the market, and Apple’s dual-core iOS device processors offer top-of-the-line graphics performance.
It’s hard to determine an iPod5,1 release date based on its firmware reference, but with Apple seemingly moving their smaller iOS device announcements to the fall, we wouldn’t call it a stretch to see the new iPod touch launch alongside the iPhone just in time for the 2012 holiday season.