Apple's iOS 5.1 beta seems to contain references to quad-core iPhone and iPad chips.

Apple has previously been tipped to be working on a quad-core 'A6' processor, with such processors said to be set to appear in 2012.

Now 9to5mac has discovered a hidden panel in the software that describes quad-core processors that are supported by iOS device hardware.

"We cannot conclude that due to iOS 5.1 including quad-core processor references, Apple's next-generation iPad and iPhone will include a quad-core chip," said the site's Mark Gurman. "But it seems reasonable based on Apple starting with a single core chip in 2010 and moving to dual-core in 2011. A quad-core chip in 2012 would fit the pattern."

9to5Mac suggests that such a chip would enable faster photography and very high-resolution display prowess on iOS devices, as well as the possibility of video editing capabilities.

The site features a comparison between the pre-iOS 5.1 beta iOS core management software and the iOS 5.1 beta version.