Originally Posted by Blastdoor
If the A6 is really quad core, then that must mean that Apple thinks they can make productive use of four cores. They wouldn't make it quad core just for marketing purposes.
I wouldn't put it past them to market the heck out of quad cores.
As to your other concern Apple already has the system structured to make use of all the cores available. That is one of the reasons iPad 2 showd consistently good performance in creases on a dual core chip. Apple has put a lot of thought into this and has supplied programmers with the APIs to leverage future hardware. For example NSOperation has been in iOS since version 2.
So if it really does end up being quad core I'll be very interested to see how Apple ends up making use of all those cores.
What does Apple have to do with it? Seriously apps have to be written to exploit the hardware, there is very little for Apple to do. IOS underneath is a very UNIX'y environment much of the system load would be balanced across those cores already as part of the normal operation of the kernel.
From the perspective of Apple or the app developer the tools to make use of these cores has steadily expanded. For example iOS4 introduced Grand Central Dispatch. The tools are there, further some methods of implementation mean automatic usage of the available cores.
I know this is long winded but my point is Apple is actually ahead of the game here software wise. They have introduced concepts from Mac OS well before the hardware became available. When you start up an iPad 3 with four cores (if it exists) you will see many apps performing much better if they have embraced Apples APIs and recommendations.
There's no doubt that iMovie could make use of them. But beyond iMovie, what else would really use quad cores? Would it be useful for a lower power way to play back video? (that is, use all four cores to play back video, but run them at a much lower clock speed?)
I get really frustrated when I see this question in either context (iOS or MacOS). First off due to the nature of video it is best handled in hardware!
As to other apps well you need to get a grip on the concept here. Almost any app has the potential to use all of those cores. Which do and how often is a question of program design and user input. Frankly I really don't understand people's obsession with this question because honestly how often is a dual core machine using all of it's cores.
Think about it, as you type away on an iPad how loaded are those cores or core. Maybe you are using 5% of the total capability typing with huge bursts of activity when doing something more demanding.
Of course, that's assuming we're talking about an iPad. How would four cores end up making sense in a phone? Or maybe Apple would split the line?
I suspect that the SoC line will split soon with tablets getting the more powerful versions. It only makes sense, you wouldn't want tablets held back to keep phones running cool.
Frankly it would not surprise me at all if Apple decides to keep the A6 dual core but with the ability to hit higher clock speeds.
It isn't clear to me what will happen other than a huge overhaul is needed to support Retina displays. That means paying attention to cache sizes, data transfer rates and the GPU. Provided that they can do that in the allocated space it might make sense to add more ARM cores rather than to crank power up with high clock rates.