LONDON Further to an "email to the editor" which estimated that there may be three ARM cores in the Apple iPhone, we have been hearing that the main CPU for the iPhone is a PXA320, formerly the Monahan applications processor from Intel Corp., but now supplied by Marvell Technology Group Ltd.
However, some strangeness surrounds the rumor as a much used online reference citing an Intel executive appears to make no mention of iPhone, Marvell or ARM.
Nonetheless, according to one source the PXA320 is being used instead of the ARM-based Samsung applications processor referenced in the email to the editor, rather than additional to it. So the ARM core count would remain at three but include a StrongARM core in the form of the PXA320.
The Monahan processor was developed by Intel out of StrongARM technology, on the basis of an architectural license from ARM Holdings plc. Intel acquired access to StrongARM cores when it acquired part of Digital Equipment Corp. Subsequently Intel agreed to sell its communications and application processor units to Marvell for $600 million in June 2006.
While the XScale was originally based on the ARM5 instruction set architecture the latest derivatives of the architecture are able to offer better performance than the ARM11 core, according to reports.
Strangely all of the online accounts that refer to Marvell's design win seem, ultimately, to reference Dario Bucci, general manager of Intel Italia, in an article in Il Sole 24 Ore on Jan. 18, as the source of the Marvell PXA320 news. But the article as it stood when this item was posted contained no reference to Marvell, iPhone, or ARM at all.
Was it edited after initial publication to take out a Marvell disclosure?