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Apple A4 processor in iPhone prototype has 256MB RAM

The markings on the processor inside the latest photographed next-generation iPhone prototype reveal the system-on-a-chip includes the Apple A4 and 256MB of Samsung DRAM on two dies.

The information was revealed to iFixit through the marking seen on the device, which was photographed in Vietnam. The markings "APL0398 339S0084" indicate the hardware includes the A4 microprocessor, while "K4X2G643GE" reveals the 256MB of system RAM from Samsung. Both were also found in the processor inside the iPad.

"Our engineers are not surprised by this finding," the solutions provider said. "We were very impressed by the extraordinarily low power consumption of the iPad, and remarked at the time that its power consumption and board design was much more in line with handheld devices than laptop computers."

The markings mean that the prototype iPhone has the exact same processor and RAM found in the iPad, which featured custom silicon designed by Apple. Apple's A4 is packaged just like previous iPhone processors, with three layers of circuitry that include the microprocessor in one package, and two memory modules in the other.

iFixit got an extremely close look at the A4 soon after the iPad launched in April, when they, along with Chipworks, X-rayed and dismantled the chip based on the ARM architecture. Inside the iPad, the A4's low power consumption offers the device an advertised 10 hours of battery life.

Though the 1GHz processor speed is faster, the next-generation iPhone prototype has the same amount of RAM found in last year's iPhone 3GS. Last year's model had a 600MHz processor, while the iPhone 3G had a 400MHz processor and 128MB of RAM.

The 1GHz clock speed of the iPad processor is largely credited to Intrinsity. The Austin, Tex., firm has developed a suite of design tools called "Fast14" that can accelerate clock speeds greater than is possible with static designs. Apple's purchase of Intrinsity was confirmed in late April.