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Apple may have acquired ARM design firm

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Apple make have acquired Intrinsity

Thanks for Bernd over at Ars for the heads up and links.

Intrinsity is an ARM design house that has worked for many large clients.

edn says

Quote:
Well, the pieces are falling into place. Solid rumor has it that Intrinsity has been sold, and that the buyer's identity will become public in the next day or two. Keep in mind that it's Thursday afternoon, and that the iPad is due to go on sale in about 36 hours' time. As soon as that happens, software developers' NDAs will likely also expire, and at that point we'll know for sure the source of the iPad's CPU...which again, I strongly suspect, is Intrinsity in conjunction with its silicon integration and foundry partner, Samsung. So an acquisition announcement coincident with the iPad rollout makes a lot of sense, particularly if (as expected) Apple's plans for the A4 extend beyond the iPad. And the fact that Intrinsity's website home page is currently 'under construction' further thickens the plot. Expect something, I suspect, after close of market Friday.

Apple continues to get cozy with ARM architecture.
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post #2 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post

Apple continues to get cozy with ARM architecture.

The ATV desperately needs an ARM overhaul or if they get TV subscriptions on the iPad, it can replace it. I really hope that over the next few years there's not going to be some major transition to it though. They're low power cores and you'd fit maybe 40 x 2GHz cores into the same power envelope as a 2.5 GHz Core 2 Duo if it scales up linearly.

ARM performs like the Atom according to the spec so a 1GHz ARM is slower than a 1.6GHz Atom by about 60% but given that a dual 1.6GHz Atom is 1/3 the speed of a 2GHz Core 2 Duo (25% slower per clock), 40 x 2GHz ARM Cores would perform like a 32-core Intel chip but only using the power of a dual-core Intel chip.

It's interesting but worrying at the same time. I really don't want to go through yet another major software transition and lose x86 compatibility. I guess at that speed you can virtualize Windows just fine and they might even manage to virtualize the GPU for games but it would be a massive headache.

Can you imagine if that's what the Macbook Pro delay's been for. Last revision you had 2 x 2.5GHz Intel cores, now the new MBP has 20 x 2GHz ARM cores and lasts 10 hours and because it's ARM, you get Cocoa Touch apps native and a multi-touch screen. Then a new gold-rush for Mac apps.

The thing that annoys me most about this idea is I'm not sure whether to love it or hate it. If it stops me playing great Windows games and run certain types of software, I would hate it but if it makes video encoding, calculations and rendering run nearly 20x faster than what Intel offer then I'd love it.
post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
I don't see Apple moving away from Intel processors for Mac based computer anytime soon.

Intel's roadmap looks pretty good and they'll likely be first to 22nm as beyond after the Westmere and Sandy Bridge cores complete their lifecycle.
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post #4 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post

Thanks for Bernd over at Ars

I just read that again this morning and it took on a different meaning.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison

I don't see Apple moving away from Intel processors for Mac based computer anytime soon.

Intel's roadmap looks pretty good and they'll likely be first to 22nm as beyond after the Westmere and Sandy Bridge cores complete their lifecycle.

It's all down to performance-per-watt though:

http://www.greenm3.com/2009/09/arm-p...e-designs.html

"Cambridge, England-based chip company ARM on Wednesday announced the development of dual-core, quad-core, and eight-core Cortex A9 processor designs, explicitly aimed at markets currently served by Intel's x86 chips and IBM's PowerPC.

"This is a huge departure from what we've done in the past", Eric Schorn, vice president of marketing for ARM's processor division, told ZDNet UK. "We really wanted to take off the handcuffs and see what could be done with performance, performance, performance."

"the new processors, which can run at up to 2GHz, are up to eight times more efficient than Intel's low-power chips in terms of performance per watt"

Not quite the 20x I suggested but 8x is still very significant. Apple could start with their servers, where the low power consumption and less need for cooling with have serious cost benefits. If the servers worked out, you know they'd move it to the desktop eventually.
post #5 of 8
It's quite proven when you find out a number of members of the staff now work for Apple - as of very recently.

The price/power/performance balance of chips running the ARM architecture seems a very nice fit for small mobile devices right now. It's interesting that Apple hasn't tried to acquire ARM Holdings yet, with their market cap. of £3B
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

It's quite proven when you find out a number of members of the staff now work for Apple - as of very recently.

The price/power/performance balance of chips running the ARM architecture seems a very nice fit for small mobile devices right now. It's interesting that Apple hasn't tried to acquire ARM Holdings yet, with their market cap. of £3B

Agreed

I thought Apple might acquire ARM or Imagination but they seem to enjoy the bargaining power of dealing with vendors from arm's length.

Currently Apple's in the blackout period but expect the news to hit next week about the Intrinsity acquisition.
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post #7 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

It's quite proven when you find out a number of members of the staff now work for Apple - as of very recently.

The price/power/performance balance of chips running the ARM architecture seems a very nice fit for small mobile devices right now. It's interesting that Apple hasn't tried to acquire ARM Holdings yet, with their market cap. of £3B

Well, TheRegister is suggesting they may be...

Seems like an odd mix to me, and likely to get a whole lot of scrutiny...
post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by aaarrrgggh View Post

Well, TheRegister is suggesting they may be...

Seems like an odd mix to me, and likely to get a whole lot of scrutiny...

Seems far more plausible than Apple buying AMD IMO.

Apple buys ARM and maintains its investment in Imagination for access to PowerVR graphics when they need or Apple reworks ARM's Mali to better suit their needs.

I think the Intrinsity thing is a done deal and can you imagine the shockwaves and ARM acquisition would send throughout the mobile computing industry?
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