Originally Posted by SockRolid
Exactly what I'm thinking. $278 million for PA Semi plus $121 for Intrinsity is too much to spend on a slightly warmed-over single-CPU ARM design. The purchases prevent competitors from acquiring that IP and engineering talent, but that's only a small bonus.
Yep. In the case of PA the rumor is that they where already at work on an Apple chip.
I think Apple's long-term goal is to create their own proprietary SoC for not just their iDevices but for Macs as well.
Well this is BS!!!!!
Seriously one big selling point for Macs is that the user can run just about anything in a VM.
This would help lower their hardware costs since they won't be paying off-the-shelf prices for one of the most expensive components in their products. And lower hardware costs will help Apple maintain their margins.
Apple simply isn't big enough to do its own processor to match the i86 families. Not even close.
But there are two more gigantic benefits. First, Apple could conceivably transition Mac OS back from Intel to their custom multi-core ARM. They have already transitioned Mac OS through several CPU changes: 68k to PowerPC, then PowerPC to Intel. Been there, done that, got the developers to come along too. And that could enormously benefit iDevices in the next decade. Eventually mobile device CPU power will exceed that of today's desktop computers, and Apple could prepare for that future by transitioning Mac OS to run on their ARM-based mobile CPUs.
I see zero chance of this happening.
Second, and this is perhaps the most important benefit for Apple, using a custom ARM chip on all their computing products would free them from dependence on an outside chip designers. For decades, from the 6502 to Intel Core i7, Apple has been at the mercy of the Motorolas, IBMs, and Intels of the world. Each of which have different goals than Apple. Motorola and IBM were more concerned with the embedded versions of their PowerPC chips than efficient and speedy desktop and laptop computer versions. Intel is more concerned with optimizing Windows performance than anything else. (And the CISC design of their CPUs uses vast areas of silicon for the execution of obscure backward-compatible x86 instructions generated only by Microsoft's compilers.)
It is one thing to run a program that uses ARM IP it is a totally different thing to build a processor that is functionally more impressive than the i86 hardware on the market.
None of those chip makers really wants to build a bespoke chip just for Apple. Intel, just after Apple completed the PowerPC-to-Intel transition, gave Apple their newest chips first. The original MacBook Air had an avant-garde chip that eventually was used in other laptops. But that was presumably because Apple paid them for that privilege, an unsustainable tactic, and the honeymoon ended.
I don't know about that, if I was AMD I'd be all over Apple and very willing to build whatever SoC they wanted. Imagine if one of AMD's Bobcat based Fusion products was tweaked for Apple, with Apple IP on board.
Apple could eliminate their co-dependence on other chip designers now that they have acquired PA Semi's and Intrinsity's intellectual property. And that will set them up for their next decade or two of innovation. No other tech company in the world will be as well prepared.
Well yeah in mobile devices, I suspect this is their goal. The problem is when you go beyond that, the issues are massively non trivial. More importantly the spark that got Macs to selling was i86 more than anything else.