A newly published patent application from Apple reveals systems and methods for providing a system-on-a-substrate related to the A4 processor used in the iPad and iPhone 4. Apple notes, engineers designed the A4 chip to be powerful yet power-efficient mobile processor, able to easily perform complex jobs such as multitasking, editing video, and placing FaceTime calls, while maximising battery life.

Patently Apple highlights Apple's potential plans for reducing the total size of a system's circuitry by providing all of the components of the system on the same microchip.

This could result in smaller, sleeker Apple gadgets in the future, and the Mac maker utilising the technology in a  'iMac touch,' running both Mac OS X and iOS, reported earlier this week.

Apple mentions a 'computer' in the patent, which Patently Apple notes: "The latter entry of 'computer' is both interesting and important considering that Apple's recent iMac Touch patent basically confirms that possibility in practice. Meaning that an iMac touch could utilise both a standard CPU from Intel or AMD in addition to an A4 type chip or, as the patent presents it, a 'system-on-a-substrate' - for touch related functionality."

Apple's A4 chip may also end up in Apple's forthcoming Apple TV update, rumoured to be announced at a special music focused event next week, the website notes, citing an Engadget report.

Apple iPhone 4