Apple Buys Chip Company Who Boosted A4 CPU To 1GHz: Oh, It's On
Apple has been on a quiet acquisition rampage over the past couple of years. They've managed to pick up P.A. Semi (a chip designing company), LaLa (a music streaming company), and now Intrinsity (another chip company). And those are just the three we know about. The tiny Texas-based company was greatly responsible for the lightning fast 1GHz A4 design that's within the iPad, and in what feels like an attempt to gain an edge over other tablet makers who might just decide to consult Intrinsity for their own designs, Apple has taken the company right off of the market. Must be nice.
What's most interesting about this move is just how serious Apple must be about mobile devices. It wasn't long ago that Apple was the laughing stock of the PC world as they continued to rely on IBM's sluggish "Power PC" chips while everyone else relied on AMD or Intel. Now, Apple is the envy of every other technology company, and with a new iPhone just months away, it's a likely bet that we're see more custom Apple silicon in there, too.
Analysts have suggested that Apple paid around $120 million for Intrinsity. Obviously, Apple has declined to comment. Many reports suggest that the A4 is actually an ARM A8 chip, but with a lot of major tweaking. Intrinsity reportedly worked with Samsung in order to boost the speed to 1GHz, giving Apple a huge edge. We found the battery life of the iPad to be leaps and bounds better than any other similar product, and we think there's some magic here between a boost in CPU speed and low power drain. Clearly, Apple doesn't want that magic to be licensed out to the highest bidders.
We can't ever imagine Apple licensing out any of their own chips to others, so this might mean that Apple simply intends to compete in the tablet and smartphone space on their own power. They've certainly got the money, and now the knowledge, to do so. But will the world continue to love a closed system if the App Store ever plays second fiddle to anyone else? Oh, the drama we love.