Although powered by an ARM class CPU capable of running at upwards of 667MHz, the iPhone as of firmware v1.1.2 runs at 412MHz with its 128MB of memory clocked at 103MHz for power consumption and operating temperature reasons.
Thusly, the iPhone would get about 15% less battery life and would be very warm to the touch if run at the full 667/133MHz, according to Rumors’ sources at the top of the iPhone Division food-chain in Cupertino.
However, there may be a compromise that would reduce slow-downs and hesitation when heavily multitasking — for example, working with several Safari instances while also listening to music and executing background tasks like downloading email, etc — without taking too much battery life or making the iPhone too hot to handle.
In the short term, Firmware Update 1.2 slated for early to mid January will add considerable new features while also boosting the iPhone’s maximum clock speeds to 533/117MHz.The increase will come along with additional kernel-level changes which should cancel out most of the battery life reduction caused by the increased clock speeds, and help improve multi-tasking performance, which is apparently very critical to making 1.2’s new features work with snappiness befitting an iDevice.
Also included in Update v1.2 are: Support for the new iPhone Developer SDK; The iTunes Store now adapts to EDGE connection by reducing its bandwidth usage, limiting numbers and resolution of images, etc; Several new Widgets; Mail updated to work better with new version of GMail; support for several new accessories, and at least some future-proofing to keep iPhone up to date with “iPhone Nano” and other new iDevices due out at Macworld or in the weeks following.
Although the current iPhone will probably not ever be officially clocked by Apple to its full potential, there is a lot of interest in the “iPhone modder” community for a third party clock speed adjustment/overclocking tool….and according to reliable sources in Cupertino, in early to mid 2008 the iPhone will be updated with an updated ARM CPU that can use less power at up to 800MHz than the current chip uses at 412MHz — and potentially run at upwards of 1GHz.
Stay tuned for a lot more iPhone dirt, and a report on Firmware Update 1.1.3 which we anticipate will be released in the next 10-15 days!