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Doubts cast on likelihood of quad-core A6 CPU in third-gen iPad

A new report has countered rumors that the processor expected to power Apple's third-generation iPad will be a quad-core model, noting instead that the chip will still be dual-core, though with a "significantly more powerful" graphics processor.

The Verge reported on Wednesday that its sources had indicated the A6 CPU the so-called "iPad 3" is likely to sport "will not be a quad-core chip." Report author Joshua Topolsky said the tip was surprising, as he had previously heard that it would have a quad-core CPU.

The tipsters did, however, note that the next iPad will have a double-resolution as expected that will be "nearly physically identical" to the iPad 2. They also said the A6 would include a vastly more powerful GPU.

Talk surrounding the third-generation iPad was stirred up on Wednesday with the discovery of a back panel purportedly for the as-yet-unannounced device. The component appeared to show that Apple's next tablet will feature a larger battery, new LCD display and a different camera.

Topolsky's claim that Apple would continue to use a dual-core chip in its A6 processor directly contradicts a report from BGR> from last week that included photos allegedly of debug data from an "iPad 3 prototype." At the time, the publication, which has a shaky track record with hardware predictions, said the photos showed an A6 processor with quad-cores carrying a model number of S5L8945X. But, Topolsky's record isn't perfect either, as he was the original source of a rumor last year that claimed the "iPhone 5" would be tapered and feature a multi-touch home button.

Meanwhile, BGR is not alone in anticipating a quad-core A6, as Bloomberg said last month that the next iPad would contain a quad-core processor, LTE functionality and a high-resolution Retina Display. A Korean newspaper also reported last October that Samsung was expected to manufacture a quad-core A6 processor.

For its part, Apple does appear to be making preparations for quad-core A-series chips in the future, as evidence of quad-core ARM CPU support was found in its Xcode developer tool last September.