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Posts by bsimpsen

Anyone doubting the difficulty of doing baseband (for technical and legal reasons) need only look to Intel to get a head-check. Even after acquiring Infineon's baseband group, Intel's baseband business is still 1/10th the size of Qualcomm's. The ratio is far worse if you narrow the focus to LTE. http://www.fiercewireless.com/story/intel-mediatek-broadcom-and-nvidia-try-catch-qualcomm-lte/2014-01-10
While this acquisition would give Apple more control over the driver technology, and eliminate one level of margin, it would not allow integration of the driver into the SOC. The number of interconnects is simply too high. LCD driver chips are generally mounted on the LCD itself. For a 640x960x3 display, you'd need a minimum of 2880 conductors leading from the SOC to the display edges. It's more space efficient to carry the video stream from the SOC to the LCD serially.
I don't think Moore's law has flatlined just yet. Speed may have hit a wall, but other aspects of processor design have gone around it. Look at Geekbench marks since 2002. My current iMac scores 6x higher than my first Intel iMac, seven years later. That's 2x every three years instead of every 18 months. That's not much worse than the benchmark improvement rate in the middle of the 90s. Transistor count growth is actually accelerating. And I designed a 200MHz StrongARM...
As Chromebooks are (if I understand correctly) nearly completely dependent on the cloud, it's not surprising they'd not be seen in the wild. Absent someone using their phone as a wi-fi hotspot, or visiting a venue with wi-fi, Chromebooks would be stranded. I expect you might see more of them in homes and offices equipped with wi-fi.
Currently, carriers continue to charge the "subsidy fee" even after the end of the 24-month contract. So, whether you upgrade or not, you're paying the subsidy every two years, and see only the subsidized price of the phone at contract renewal time. You do not have the option of declining the subsidy fees if you keep your old phone. This is a powerful incentive to upgrade every contract cycle. Absent subsidies, your installment payments will end after two years. If you do...
TSMC makes semiconductors, not finished products. So, it's unlikely they'd go head-to-head with Apple in the marketplace. They can, and will, produce semiconductors for Apple competitors and there is little Apple can do legally or practically to stop that.
How would Google "beta" the license agreements necessary to offer subscription streaming? That's what's holding up Apple.
The iPhone 5 home button assembly has only two contacts, as you'll see around 4:45 in this video... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nUEFNcu_IEE Those two large gold pads were designed to mate to springs on some other subassembly. The speaker connects the same way.   It's possible that they switched to a surface mount connector for assembly related reasons, and that the smallest connector in the family carries 10 pins, but I see evidence of more than two traces in the flex...
The speakers on my new 27" iMac sound considerably better than those on my old one. Still not good enough to retire my externals, but getting closer.
I do expect margins to contract, but I also expect manufacturing costs to decline on legacy products. So I don't know how to read this news. The volumes are small and the window of opportunity appears short. Eventually, I expect all Apple portable products to go Retina, with the last of the non-Retina machines slipping away with reduced pricing.
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