Apple's new iPad launched this week, its key features a higher-resolution Retina Display screen and the quad-core GPU within the A5x processor. The iPhone series already has a spangly ultra-high resolution screen, and analysts predict that the smartphone will not use the same A5x CPU.
The Linley Group founder Linley Gwennap posits that Apple will likely look for a more power-efficient processor, saying " I think that this new chip is probably just for the iPad… it looks like they planned ahead for this." The naming convention for the Apple A-series chip suggests the often-cited A6 chip will take on iPhone duties, but what will it be?
As the iPhone 5 is unlikely to sport anywhere near the number of pixels as the new iPad, it can be argued that it may not need a quad-core GPU. However, with a band of quad-core Android smartphones visible on the horizon, a SoC design with a quad-core central processor and quad-core GPU shouldn't be ruled-out. A more power-efficient CPU doesn't necessarily mean a less powerful one.
The first iPhone - released June 2007, aka "the old days"
The iPhone 5 will be the Steve Jobs "swansong" device. Following the launch of the iPhone 4S, it was revealed that Jobs didn't have a great deal to do with the current model in the period leading up to its launch - he was instead working on the upcoming phone.
An iterative design hasn't hurt the current phone's sales, though. It sold four million units in its first three days, and 37 million in its first three months.