Apple Buys Chip Company Who Boosted A4 CPU To 1GHz: Oh, It's On

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News Posted: Wed, Apr 28 2010 10:42 PM
Intrinsity. It's a company you have probably never, ever heard of inyour entire life. And if it weren't for a little company fromCalifornia called "Apple," you may perish without ever hearing of them,either. But that's not exactly the case anymore, as Apple has justdecided to plunk down the necessary funds in order to acquireIntrinsity, much like they did with P.A. Semi a few years back.

Apple has been on a quiet acquisition rampage over the past couple ofyears. They've managed to pick up P.A. Semi (a chip designing company),LaLa (a music streaming company), and now Intrinsity (another chipcompany). And those are just the three we know about. The tinyTexas-based company was greatly responsible for the lightning fast 1GHz A4 design that's within the iPad, and in what feels like an attempt togain an edge over other tablet makers who might just decide to consultIntrinsity for their own designs, Apple has taken the company right offof the market. Must be nice.

What's most interesting about this move is just how serious Apple mustbe about mobile devices. It wasn't long ago that Apple was the laughingstock 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, Appleis the envy of every other technology company, and with a new iPhonejust months away, it's a likely bet that we're see more custom Applesilicon in there, too.

Analysts have suggested that Apple paid around $120 million forIntrinsity. Obviously, Apple has declined to comment. Many reportssuggest that the A4 is actually an ARM A8 chip, but with a lot of majortweaking. Intrinsity reportedly worked with Samsung in order to boostthe speed to 1GHz, giving Apple a huge edge. We found the battery lifeof the iPad to be leaps and bounds better than any other similarproduct, and we think there's some magic here between a boost in CPUspeed and low power drain. Clearly, Apple doesn't want that magic to belicensed out to the highest bidders.

We can't ever imagine Apple licensing out any of their own chips toothers, so this might mean that Apple simply intends to compete in thetablet and smartphone space on their own power. They've certainly gotthe money, and now the knowledge, to do so. But will the world continueto love a closed system if the App Store ever plays second fiddle toanyone else? Oh, the drama we love.
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rapid1 replied on Thu, Apr 29 2010 12:20 PM

"But will the world continue to love a closed system", That in itself is a very good question. As far as it has gone in the market in the past that answer would be no. The one big thing M$ had over everyone else as well as what made them what they are today was interoperability.

This is now as evidenced by the last three years somewhat of a different market as Apple with there closed system, and the expansion of said system (OS) has expanded it's capabilities quite admirably. This along with there other hardware player purchases recently as well as the HP/Palm merger bring a lot to a very specialized piece of the market specifically.

As I have stated quite regularly in the past year or so here, is where everything is going "the mobility market". I also remember right before the iPod was released discussing with a friend that we would have a cell phone sized fully operational PC within 5 years if not sooner.

This is where the largest part of the market is now concentrated. If they would just get the holographic displays up, and the robots more functional we will be in Blade runner before long. Especially with the burning oil well's, and the pollution ruining our environment, personal jets, automatic cars, and personal jets all being realities either now or before very long.

Now we just need some light sabers, and laser guns to add to the effect. Oh and also some teleportation devices, and huge space ships that fly at the speed of light. It would also help if Bigfoot (Chewbacca) would quit hiding as well.

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First off, Apple and Samsung paid Intrinsity (about 50 mil estimated) to apply their "Domino Logic" (DL from now on) to an A8 design. Intrinsity is a company that was founded and specialized in DL design. However, they only apply DL to the slowest parts and stages of the processor, since DL increases the power used (even more than normal Dynamic Logic).

DL also has the problem of being very fab/process dependent and taking longer to impliment after a change. At the current rate, by the time Apple gets a PA Semi/Intrinsity designed A9 out on the market, it will be competing against Arms vanillia "A10" (or whatever they name that gen).

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realneil replied on Fri, Apr 30 2010 9:28 AM

I think that Apple imagines itself and it's retail markets as being part of a huge retail Chess Game. That said, just close your eyes and listen, you hear that?


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