Apple says the processor in the iPhone 5 is twice as fast as the processor in the iPhone 4S and offers up to twice the graphics performance. Yet the iPhone 5 is also expected to offer better battery life than its predecessor.

The secret is in the new Apple A6 processor. But Apple hasn’t really said much about how the chip works.

Apple iPhone 5

The folks at AnandTech did some detective work by examining the markings on the chip, checking with sources, and applying some expert knowledge about mobile processors.

Here’s the verdict: Apple didn’t simply license an ARM Cortex-A9 or ARM Cortex-A15 design and modify it to fit its needs. The company designed its own chip based on ARMv7 technology.

The Apple A6 processor is manufactured by Samsung and features 1GB of Elpida DDR2 1066 MHz memory. While that offers more memory bandwidth than the company’s earlier chips, it’s not entirely clear how the Apple A6 compares with Cortex-A9 or Cortex-A15 chips… but AnandTech suggests that Apple probably steered clear of the former in order to boost performance, and the latter in order to keep power consumption low.

We’ll probably know more about the real-world performance of the chips once people start to get their hands on the phone on September 21st.

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