With quad-core processors expected to power millions of new smartphone and tablet devices this year, Apple has yet to comment on whether it will deliver a new multi-cored A6 chip in its new products this year.

The company remains secretive of its plans but often embeds references to future products in its iOS operating system.

As 9to5mac has found today, it appears that the company does have plans to debut new quad-core powered iPhones and iPads this year after it was revealed in files embedded in Apple’s latest iOS 5.1 beta release.

The Apple-focused site reports:

Hidden deep inside the latest iOS 5.1 beta is updated processing-core management software that not only supports the dual-core processing enabled by the A5 iPhone and iPad chip, but also quad-core processing. The references to quad-core iPhone and iPad chips come by way of a hidden panel that describes cores that are supported by iOS device hardware. The updated core management software includes an option of “/cores/core.3,” and this represents a fourth available processing core.

According to the site’s sources, Apple’s core references begin at ’0′. This suggests that in Apple’s iOS code, ”/cores/core.0,” would refer to a single-core device and a dual-core device deliver the following reference:  ”/cores/core.1.” Whilst ‘core.2‘ doesn’t appear in the code (suggesting a triple-core processor), ‘core.3‘ does appear:

quadcore9to5mac 520x338 Code references in Apples iOS 5.1 Beta points to quad core iOS devices

Apple has reportedly already begun production of its new A6 processor, the successor to its dual-core A5 chip that powers both its iPhone 4S and iPad 2 devices. The company is said to have partnered with Samsung to manufacture its new processor, despite its legal fight with the company over alleged patent infringements.

References in iOS code are tough to find but it doesn’t rule out that the references to different cores are not linked to the processors that Apple uses. With Samsung, HTC and other companies ready to unveil new quad-core smartphones and tablets, Apple will not want to be left behind, so whether these code examples are correct or not, we believe the company will debut new quad-core phones and tablets this year.