May 21, 2009
Apple's job listings can sometimes be an easy way to get an inside look at what Apple is working on deep inside their Cupertino fortress, and a couple of recent job listings may just give us a better idea of what to expect from the next iPhone. MacRumors has stumbled upon a job listing that was posted on May 13th that may indicate Apple intends to speed up the iPhone's ARM processor. The job listing reveals that Apple is looking for a low level iPhone programmer with detailed knowledge of the ARM processor:
The Vector & Numerics team is tasked with designing, enhancing and improving various subsystems running on iPhone OS. The group is looking for an exceptional high performance programmer to complement the team, and make a difference. The successful candidate will have excellent understanding and knowledge of processor architecture, specifically ARM and its vector unit NEON. Additional Intel SSE or PowerPC AltiVec is also very helpful. Being able to use processor micro-architecture to write and deliver fast routines is an essential attribute. Hand tuning of image processing, along with a track record of delivering work on specified deadlines is required. Low level performance programming experience is a must for this position. Track record of writing the fastest possible code using ARM NEON or Intel SSE or PowrePC AltiVec is essential.NEON is an extended instruction set similar to the PowerPC's AltiVec that can accelerate multimedia applications. NEON is basically a marketing term for this instruction set which is only included in the ARMv7 Cortex processor, and since the current iPhone 3G uses the ARMv6 processor, this may indicate that Apple intends to use the ARMv7 in the next iPhone and they need a programmer to ensure the OS uses the Cortex processor to the best of its ability. Another job listing found by MacRumors was listed only today, May 21st, and it indicates that Apple is also hiring for someone to deliver "cutting edge embedded video processing." They specifically mention that they are looking for someone with experience in real-time media and networking applications over Wi-Fi and cellular networks, which would suggest the listing is specifically for the iPhone. These are, of course, unfulfilled job positions, so even if this is an indication that Apple intends to use the ARMv7 Cortex processor, we are still in the dark as to when it would be implemented.