Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum
The Cortex A5 opens another possible direction for iPhones.
Especially considering the rumors from years ago that PA Semi was split into two teams. One was to develop processors for tablets and the other for phones and smaller devices. I see A4 as a stop gap measure to give PA the time to do decent work on a high performance chip.
I think (or used to think) that Apple would use the iPad (because of lower shipments) to test the water for the next SOC tech to be used in the iOS devices to be built for the next 12 months.
They could do that. Right now I look at IPad as a very generation one device and the A4 as a stop gap measure. If Apple went in a different direction with phones Obviosly not much can be tested on iPad.
As a side note, these days you either have functioning silicon or you don't.
While not required on every model of iPad, the cell radio is an option. In addition, the iPad has space and a big battery.
The other thing is that cell tech has been changing rapidly so it might make sense to limit what you put on the SoC. Well atleast until we move to all digital radio systems.
Well, because of the success of the iPad, Apple needs to get whatever SOC it uses,in pretty large volumes -- more than many smartphone mfgrs,
Not to dismiss Apples efforts but their volumes are pretty small compared to the traditional suppliers.
Sol, above links to the coming Qualcom Snapdragon as a potential base for the next Apple SOC -- though he doesn't think Apple will use it.
I tend to doubt Apple using the products of external ARM suppliers. Once they went with an internal development group there is a big disincentive to use other suppliers. This even if the parts from the external suppliers are better.
When Apple first announced doing their own ARM chips I expressed concerns about their ability to keep up. I'm not to sure that anything has developed to indicate this isn't a concern. In 3-5 years we should have an idea about Apples ability to leverage internal ARM development.
One advantage to the Snapdragon is they make a version that would appear to work on any GSM or CDMA network.
I've done some searching and reading and it appears that Qualcom has a chip, the QSD8672, coming out this year. It has dual-core 1.5 GHz CPU, integrated GPU (OpenCL supported) and the requisite support for GSM and CDMA.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snapdragon_(processor)
I wonder if this could be manufactured, with Apple tweaks, in quantities suitable for the iPad, initially -- and later in the year the the iPhone (maybe your iPhone Maxi).
Why not? Not that I think Apple will use the processor but it is in the same class as what I'm expecting from Apple. It should also be noted that these companies have quad core SoC coming this year too.
ARM development has been extremely rapid of late. Apple could easily surprise all of us. Last I heard Cortex A9 cores use about 600 milli watts at 1GHz. Give Apple a suitable advanced 32nm process and they likely could do much better. That means four cores running in a power profile only marginally worst that today's A4.