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Apple's A6 processor could be company's first custom-designed CPU core

post #1 of 63
Thread Starter 
A report on on Saturday reveals Apple's new A6 processor is actually the company's first attempt at designing a custom ARMv7 core, possibly debunking earlier claims that the silicon was using ARM's A9 or A15 Cortex designs.

When Apple unveiled the iPhone 5 on Wednesday, not much divulged in the way of technical specifications, including the exact nature and build of the new A6 processor powering the device. Some, including the well-versed Anand Shimpi from AnandTech, speculated that the chip was using ARM Cortex A15 processor cores, the next-generation of ARM architecture that has yet to be seen in a consumer device.

In a follow-up report, Shimpi has reportedly unearthed fresh evidence to support the idea that the A6 is "first Apple SoC to use its own ARMv7 based processor design." He goes on to say the CPU core, or cores, are not based on ARM's A9 or A15 designs, but "are something of Apple's own creation."

"It turns out I was wrong. But pleasantly surprised," Shimpi writes.

A6


In coming to the conclusion that Apple custom designed the SoC's core, Shimpi whittled down the possibilities by delving into Apple's Xcode 4.5 development toolkit, comparing and contrasting certain features. He notes the newest version of Xcode dropped support for the ARMv6 instruction set architecture (ISA) used by the ARM11 core in Apple's original iPhone and second-generation iPhone 3G, while keeping support for the ARMv7 ISA used by current ARM cores. The software also added support for a new architecture designed to integrate with the A6's ARMv7s.

Shimpi goes into the technicalities associated with using the various ARM cores, including which compilers offer certain VFP version support, and came to the conclusion that Apple decided to go with either ARM's Cortex A9 or Cortex A15.

"For unpublishable reasons, I knew the A6 SoC wasn't based on ARM's Cortex A9, but I immediately assumed that the only other option was the Cortex A15," he said. "I foolishly cast aside the other major possibility: an Apple developed ARMv7 processor core."

Giving further clues to a custom-built core is Apple's claim that the A6 offers twice the performance of last year's A5 SoC with added bonus of extended battery life, a feat that cannot be accomplished by simply moving to Samsung's 32nm process. Samsung is responsible for the fabrication of the A-series processors, not the chips' design.

As for the A6 GPU, Shimpi believes Apple is using a higher clocked PowerVR SGX 543MP3 unit with a two 32-bit LPDDR2 memory interface.

While it is still unclear how many cores the A6 employs, a more detailed view of the processor's internal structure should be revealed next week when the iPhone 5 hits store shelves.
post #2 of 63
Quote:
"For unpublishable reasons, I knew the A6 SoC wasn't based on ARM's Cortex A9, but I immediately assumed that the only other option was the Cortex A15," he said. "I foolishly cast aside the other major possibility: an Apple developed ARMv7 processor core."

You fool! Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!

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post #3 of 63
Well at least now the fandroids can have their "A15 first!!!" conceit back. It's important for their self-esteem.

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post #4 of 63
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Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

Well at least now the fandroids can have their "A15 first!!!" conceit back. It's important for their self-esteem.

Id really like more info on what the A6 actually is, if not the A15 id love to know what apple did, seems kind of odd that they didn't make mention of customizing it themselves, they are usually quick to pat themselves on the back for design work.

post #5 of 63

When the halo settled the last few days, logic settled in to say if Samsung isn't pushing out A15s until the end of the year for themselves how were they pumping out millions for someone else? These kinds of designs take a long time. Wild guess suggests something like Qualcomm's S4; mostly an A15, but not quite.

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post #6 of 63

Told you it wasnt A15

 

Samsung is going to be the first or perhaps Meizu as it supplies them with their Exynos chips.

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post #7 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by xRCx View Post

Id really like more info on what the A6 actually is, if not the A15 id love to know what apple did, seems kind of odd that they didn't make mention of customizing it themselves, they are usually quick to pat themselves on the back for design work.

You didn't watch the keynote presentation when Phil Schiller had the A6 slide up, did you?

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post #8 of 63
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Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post


You didn't watch the keynote presentation when Phil Schiller had the A6 slide up, did you?

I, infact, did not =P

post #9 of 63
It's not everyday that Anand is so off about CPUs. It seems obvious to me that Apple would not millions of A15-based chips ready to go for a shipping product on September 21st when the company that actually manufacture them aren't even getting them in low-volume products yet. I don't see how he didn't consider a Krait-like alternative. He did say he didn't think Apple's prowess in this department was good enough but when faced with a 2x A9 option yet with better battery life without a hugely larger battery and A15 the only options I see are that Apple is lying (which they have no history of for such claims) or that they are using a Krait-like solution.


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post #10 of 63
From what I've read the S4 isn't A15 either. It's supposed to be SIMILAR to A15. At least that is what I read. But the S4 has older GPUs which don't make them that great.

Krait has different variations, they range from A5 on up. depending on which design they use. But the name Krait doesn't necessarily mean A15 cores.

The Exynos that they are using in the S III is supposed to be an A9 design, not A15.

There are different Exynos chip designs.

THe other thing is that Samsung is shipping product, depending on the market, both Exynos AND S4's. At least that's according to wikipedia, which is VERY detailed on the specs of the S III components.

Now, there are lots of people with the S III that have constant charging issues. My friend has one and she has to charge it several times a day. Maybe because of widget, animation background, brightness level, etc. and it runs fairly hot. I've also seen pictures of blown up S III's, whether it was induced outside of normal use or not.
post #11 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by drblank View Post

From what I've read the S4 isn't A15 either. It's supposed to be SIMILAR to A15. At least that is what I read. But the S4 has older GPUs which don't make them that great.
Krait has different variations, they range from A5 on up. depending on which design they use. But the name Krait doesn't necessarily mean A15 cores.
The Exynos that they are using in the S III is supposed to be an A9 design, not A15.
There are different Exynos chip designs.
THe other thing is that Samsung is shipping product, depending on the market, both Exynos AND S4's. At least that's according to wikipedia, which is VERY detailed on the specs of the S III components.
Now, there are lots of people with the S III that have constant charging issues. My friend has one and she has to charge it several times a day. Maybe because of widget, animation background, brightness level, etc. and it runs fairly hot. I've also seen pictures of blown up S III's, whether it was induced outside of normal use or not.

You are correct. However, you should expect the same people claiming that custom chip was the first A15 core on the market to now come back and laugh and say the A6 does not count because it is a custom core. (even if , like the s4, it supports the A15 instruction set).
post #12 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

Well at least now the fandroids can have their "A15 first!!!" conceit back. It's important for their self-esteem.

 

Maybe, but now they might have to concede that Apple actually invents their own stuff. What could be worse for an Apple hater than to find out Apple engineered their own processor?

post #13 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post


You fool! Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!

"NOBODY expects the Spanish Inquisition!

Our chief weapon is surprise...

surprise and fear...

fear and surprise....

Our two weapons are fear and surprise...

and ruthless efficiency....

Our three weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency..

and an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope....

Our four...no...

Amongst our weapons....

Amongst our weaponry...

are such elements as fear, surprise....

I'll come in again."

post #14 of 63
Yeah, I think the GPU is where Apple is also focusing on speed, since a lot of what is going on is GPU intensive. Doesn't Apple use a company's GPU design that's supposed to be some rather intense GPU design? I think that is what was going on when they did the EA demo wasn't it?

The S4 is supposed to be SIMILAR to the A15, but technically NOT A15.

Either way, it's funny because the bottom line, if the A6 can render graphics in a game simulation app that EA had and they said it is approaching gaming consoles and they are the only one's doing that in a smartphone, then WTF?

call it a A1 or A100000, it's still a more powerful chip based on the game demo they performed. Either way, it doesn't matter in the end to the user. It's just that the Android users are trying to cut down Apple any time they can, because they are afraid of admitting that Android sucks as a platform.

The difference I see is that since Apple didn't want to use things like widgets, animated background, flash and other stupid things that Android uses to requires a LOT of overhead, Apple just is using the processor/RAM, battery more efficiently and what the chip is doesn't really matter. I hate it when the only thing people can talk about it how many cores or what clock speed makes one product better than another.

Bottom line, does it work? Is it easy to use? Does it overheat? Does it have good battery life? Is it reliable? etc. What the specs of the chips almost don't matter because it boils down to how efficient the OS and application code is at doing it's job.

Android users should only compare Android products amongst other Android products. Windows users should only compare Windows products, and Apple users should compare Apple products with other Apple products.

Decide which platform based on if you can run the apps you want to run, if the OS is easy to use, easy to maintain and the company that sells the hardware/software makes good products and supports it well, etc.

What Apple, Windows, Android requires to run properly is different from OS to OS, version to version and what code is being run to determine how efficient it is.

I'm sure if an Android user didn't use widgets, animation background, a simple GUI and didn't install Flash, it would run better on less of a processor.
post #15 of 63
Other things i've noticed.

1. Samscum is also trying to push Micro SD as upgradeable storage. Since when did Micro SD Flash become as fast as SSD? My gut feeling is that Samscum has a BIG warehouse in Korea with a boat load of this MicroSD cards sitting around collecting dust and they figured most consumers are stupid and they can pawn that off as a means to "UPGRADE STORAGE" to 64G to make it LESS EXPENSIVE than a 64G iPhone. I talked to a AT
post #16 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by drblank View Post

Other things i've noticed.
1. Samscum is also trying to push Micro SD as upgradeable storage. Since when did Micro SD Flash become as fast as SSD? My gut feeling is that Samscum has a BIG warehouse in Korea with a boat load of this MicroSD cards sitting around collecting dust and they figured most consumers are stupid and they can pawn that off as a means to "UPGRADE STORAGE" to 64G to make it LESS EXPENSIVE than a 64G iPhone. I talked to a AT

You're missing many facts here, and the semantics are really unnecessary. What you don't seem to understand is that the NAND storage of the iphone does not in any way compare to the performance of what most people think of as an SSD. If we assume an SSD refers to a notebook class device, you won't find it in a phone. Micro SD [s]should be on par with what is available to the iphone[/s] is close enough for bulk storage. I remember Micro SD being around 15 MB/s write. Both are a far stretch from what we think of as SSDs. Take a look at the Anandtech review. This was the 4s, but the NAND found in phones will not perform at the level of the SATA drives in your macbook pros and airs. It won't even compare favorably with notebook class HDDs. Power consumption is most likely a much bigger concern than absolute performance for these kinds of devices.

 

 

http://www.anandtech.com/show/4971/apple-iphone-4s-review-att-verizon/4

 


Edited by hmm - 9/16/12 at 12:26am
post #17 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by xRCx View Post

Id really like more info on what the A6 actually is, if not the A15 id love to know what apple did, seems kind of odd that they didn't make mention of customizing it themselves, they are usually quick to pat themselves on the back for design work.

 

Apple bought a company a while back that was making highly power-efficient ARM chips for the federal government/military. (I can't recall the name of the company) Anyway, the idea was, at the time, that Apple was laying the ground for highly portable devices in the future. My suspicion is that we may see Apple widening the gap with the competition on having more power-efficient iDevices in the near future. The A6 could be the first conservative move in this direction. 

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post #18 of 63
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Originally Posted by Macky the Macky View Post

Apple bought a company a while back that was making highly power-efficient ARM chips for the federal government/military. (I can't recall the name of the company) Anyway, the idea was, at the time, that Apple was laying the ground for highly portable devices in the future. My suspicion is that we may see Apple widening the gap with the competition on having more power-efficient iDevices in the near future. The A6 could be the first conservative move in this direction. 

It was P.A. Semi and they were actively developing Power PC chips at the time, but they were laying the groundwork. Clearly that investment is paying off.

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post #19 of 63
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Originally Posted by hmm View Post

You're missing many facts here, and the semantics are really unnecessary. What you don't seem to understand is that the NAND storage of the iphone does not in any way compare to the performance of what most people think of as an SSD. If we assume an SSD refers to a notebook class device, you won't find it in a phone. Micro SD should be on par with what is available to the iphone. Take a look at the Anandtech review. This was the 4s, but the NAND found in phones will not perform at the level of the SATA drives in your macbook pros and airs. It won't even compare favorably with notebook class HDDs. Power consumption is most likely a much bigger concern than absolute performance for these kinds of devices. Perhaps next time you could post something that doesn't make you look like an imbecile?

 

I enjoy reading various points of view and reading corrections to some statements that may be in error. Thank you for doing so. However, you were rather harsh in your last sentence and I don't think that makes for a good interchange of ideas.

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post #20 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by Macky the Macky View Post

 

I enjoy reading various points of view and reading corrections to some statements that may be in error. Thank you for doing so. However, you were rather harsh in your last sentence and I don't think that makes for a good interchange of ideas.


I was annoyed by the semantics. Those things always irritate me. Note that I removed it a couple minutes later.

 

Also I apparently didn't do the strikethrough properly.

post #21 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by Macky the Macky View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

You're missing many facts here, and the semantics are really unnecessary. What you don't seem to understand is that the NAND storage of the iphone does not in any way compare to the performance of what most people think of as an SSD. If we assume an SSD refers to a notebook class device, you won't find it in a phone. Micro SD should be on par with what is available to the iphone. Take a look at the Anandtech review. This was the 4s, but the NAND found in phones will not perform at the level of the SATA drives in your macbook pros and airs. It won't even compare favorably with notebook class HDDs. Power consumption is most likely a much bigger concern than absolute performance for these kinds of devices. Perhaps next time you could post something that doesn't make you look like an imbecile?

I enjoy reading various points of view and reading corrections to some statements that may be in error. Thank you for doing so. However, you were rather harsh in your last sentence and I don't think that makes for a good interchange of ideas.

Speed, reliability and service life issues aside -- I find micro SD cards are antithetical to the concept of a "grab and go always with you" smart phone.
  1. Do the cards protrude from the phone when in use -- snagging on pockets?
  2. Do you need a special phone case to accommodate a protruding card?
  3. Where do you put them and their individual little cases when you are on the go -- do you need a separate bag or case for the SD cards?
  4. How do you keep track of what data/content/apps are on which SD card -- do you need to carry and maintain index cards or somesuch?
  5. How do you manage/move/delete the contents from card to card

I find the whole process too "fiddley" -- too much busy work and another thing to clutter your mind and pockets.
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post #22 of 63

Don't worry : next iPhone will probably double storage capacity, and then again, and then again ....

post #23 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by xRCx View Post

Id really like more info on what the A6 actually is, if not the A15 id love to know what apple did, seems kind of odd that they didn't make mention of customizing it themselves, they are usually quick to pat themselves on the back for design work.

 

And yet they also like keeping secrets. This could be a secret worth keeping as long as they can -- it's a safe bet that if they did something good here, people will try to copy it. 

post #24 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by EricTheHalfBee View Post

 

Maybe, but now they might have to concede that Apple actually invents their own stuff. What could be worse for an Apple hater than to find out Apple engineered their own processor?

 

The latter, but it will take them a while to figure it out. Funny the things that apple-hate can do to cognitive abilities. 

post #25 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

Speed, reliability and service life issues aside -- I find micro SD cards are antithetical to the concept of a "grab and go always with you" smart phone.
  1. Do the cards protrude from the phone when in use -- snagging on pockets?
  2. Do you need a special phone case to accommodate a protruding card?
  3. Where do you put them and their individual little cases when you are on the go -- do you need a separate bag or case for the SD cards?
  4. How do you keep track of what data/content/apps are on which SD card -- do you need to carry and maintain index cards or somesuch?
  5. How do you manage/move/delete the contents from card to card
I find the whole process too "fiddley" -- too much busy work and another thing to clutter your mind and pockets.

Not to mention all the design issues. Adding a card reader adds bulk (and power consumption) to the device. No wonder Android phones are so huge.

There's also the reliability concern. A card reader is a space for moisture and dirt to enter the phone and also a source of possible problems when the card is damaged or the contacts get dirty.

Overall, it's just a lousy idea. Not to mention an unnecessary one. Unless you plan to take your entire movie collection with you everywhere you go, there's no need for it.
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post #26 of 63
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Originally Posted by Chris_CA View Post

"NOBODY expects the Spanish Inquisition!
Our chief weapon is surprise...
surprise and fear...
fear and surprise....
Our two weapons are fear and surprise...
and ruthless efficiency....
Our three weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency..
and an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope....
Our four...no...
Amongst our weapons....
Amongst our weaponry...
are such elements as fear, surprise....
I'll come in again."

Funny but I prefer this
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post #27 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blastdoor View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by xRCx View Post

Id really like more info on what the A6 actually is, if not the A15 id love to know what apple did, seems kind of odd that they didn't make mention of customizing it themselves, they are usually quick to pat themselves on the back for design work.

 

And yet they also like keeping secrets. This could be a secret worth keeping as long as they can -- it's a safe bet that if they did something good here, people will try to copy it. 

That is one area of patent law where there is no wiggle room. Even Samsung cannot copy CPU architecture. They already know everything about the chip. They made it.

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post #28 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

Speed, reliability and service life issues aside -- I find micro SD cards are antithetical to the concept of a "grab and go always with you" smart phone.
  1. Do the cards protrude from the phone when in use -- snagging on pockets?
  2. Do you need a special phone case to accommodate a protruding card?
  3. Where do you put them and their individual little cases when you are on the go -- do you need a separate bag or case for the SD cards?
  4. How do you keep track of what data/content/apps are on which SD card -- do you need to carry and maintain index cards or somesuch?
  5. How do you manage/move/delete the contents from card to card

I find the whole process too "fiddley" -- too much busy work and another thing to clutter your mind and pockets.

 

 

An iPhone has no use for an SD card except to import photos, however, Android allows file system access so they can use the SD card as a sort of sneaker net to move files from one device to another. It is a poor way of providing general storage though, because it is not contiguous with the built in device storage and you cannot use it to store or run apps. (although there are hacks to allow apps on SD card they are often problematic)

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post #29 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by EricTheHalfBee View Post

Maybe, but now they might have to concede that Apple actually invents their own stuff. What could be worse for an Apple hater than to find out Apple engineered their own processor?

They block it out of their memories like it never happened, so they can continue to claim Apple never invents anything and just repackages other companies' components and dresses it up in stale designs and stale UIs.

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post #30 of 63

Unless they paid Qualcomm for IP or subcontracted some of the work to Q I doubt apple made a Krait like custom core. It took qualcomms army of engineers years to develop the first snapdragon processor, they're first custom SOC with a custom core. As much as I believe in apples innovative abilities I just doubt they built a krait like processor of there first try at a custom core. 

 

Also, if they did build a krait type cpu then why didnt they incorporate the radio into the chip like qualcomm did? That would have been very apple-like to put it all in the same piece of silicon and they're already buying the chip from qualcomm so why not license it from them and just build it into the SoC. 

post #31 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

You're missing many facts here, and the semantics are really unnecessary. What you don't seem to understand is that the NAND storage of the iphone does not in any way compare to the performance of what most people think of as an SSD. If we assume an SSD refers to a notebook class device, you won't find it in a phone. Micro SD should be on par with what is available to the iphone is close enough for bulk storage. I remember Micro SD being around 15 MB/s write. Both are a far stretch from what we think of as SSDs. Take a look at the Anandtech review. This was the 4s, but the NAND found in phones will not perform at the level of the SATA drives in your macbook pros and airs. It won't even compare favorably with notebook class HDDs. Power consumption is most likely a much bigger concern than absolute performance for these kinds of devices.


http://www.anandtech.com/show/4971/apple-iphone-4s-review-att-verizon/4


The flash in the better smartphones is much faster than that in cheap sticks or SD cards. One thing that holds them back is the lack of a drive controller like what we see in an SSD. The memory is also more reliable than in those cards. So, yes, for starters, it's more expensive. The last time Anand compared memory speeds between devices was Witt he new iPad and others. The iPad memory wp was much faster. That's not just memory though. It's limited by the SoC's memory channel capabilities.

There are also several ways of implementing that. Apple's is one of the faster ones.
post #32 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blastdoor View Post

And yet they also like keeping secrets. This could be a secret worth keeping as long as they can -- it's a safe bet that if they did something good here, people will try to copy it. 

Apple isn't a chip producer, selling to others. So there's no need for them to detail what they're doing, ala Intel.

They usually do give us some info though. This year, they were stingier than usual. SJ may have given us somewhat more, and Shiller usually does tell us something.

We do see x-rats of these chips at some point when others do that work, and a very general idea of how the chip is allocated can be seen, but that's about it.

We know, for example, because we were told this, is that the A5, at least, has a processing area for photography, as we see in many cameras. How many other SoC's have that I don't know,but it's responsible for the cameras excellent performance in a number of areas.
post #33 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post


I'm against the concept of removable memory for mobile devices.

Android has a problem with this, which Google acknowledges. They are just now addressing this with Jelly Bean. A problem is that the user had little control as to what went where, in many instances. You could end up with required info on the card which would make apps, or even the device inoperable if the card were to be removed, or damaged.

Most people never used the cards at all, or just kept the one that came with the device, if it were included.
post #34 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post


The flash in the better smartphones is much faster than that in cheap sticks or SD cards. One thing that holds them back is the lack of a drive controller like what we see in an SSD. The memory is also more reliable than in those cards. So, yes, for starters, it's more expensive. The last time Anand compared memory speeds between devices was Witt he new iPad and others. The iPad memory wp was much faster. That's not just memory though. It's limited by the SoC's memory channel capabilities.
There are also several ways of implementing that. Apple's is one of the faster ones.

THere are some (expensive) micro-sd's that are very fast, like 90mb/s fast. Although most that you see in the checkout line of your local staples are much slower and cheaper. You cant make a blanket statement that all micro-sd's are slower than all internal phone memory.

post #35 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

I'm against the concept of removable memory for mobile devices.

Android has a problem with this, which Google acknowledges. They are just now addressing this with Jelly Bean. A problem is that the user had little control as to what went where, in many instances. You could end up with required info on the card which would make apps, or even the device inoperable if the card were to be removed, or damaged.

Most people never used the cards at all, or just kept the one that came with the device, if it were included.

You certainly would not use the card that came with the device for running an app since those default cards are usually like Class 2, not the Class 10 cards that Android fanatics boast about.

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post #36 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by WESALLEN View Post

THere are some (expensive) micro-sd's that are very fast, like 90mb/s fast. Although most that you see in the checkout line of your local staples are much slower and cheaper. You cant make a blanket statement that all micro-sd's are slower than all internal phone memory.

True in most cases the SD memory is considerably faster than the internal device memory which is designed for minimal power consumption rather than speed. Reading and writing to a large SD card will use up more battery even if it is faster.

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Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

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post #37 of 63
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Originally Posted by WESALLEN View Post

THere are some (expensive) micro-sd's that are very fast, like 90mb/s fast. Although most that you see in the checkout line of your local staples are much slower and cheaper. You cant make a blanket statement that all micro-sd's are slower than all internal phone memory.

Yes, I know, I keep pointing that out to people, both here and other places, who whine about 32GB sticks and SD cards for $20. Those cards that are truly using higher quality flash are very expensive, up to $150 for a 32Gb card. The cheap cards that claim to be fast aren't. I've tested a big bunch over th years.

But please don't tell me that people who want memory cards are going to buy those expensive cards, because they aren't. They are the ones who complain about the prices of built-in memory, and who are using those cheap, crappy sticks as examples. I didn't think it was necessary to mention really high quality cards.

And, by the way, even many of those cards don't use the most reliable flash. They are intended for uses that don't do tens of thousands of writes every month, or even week. They are intended for cameras, or for music, or for back-up, where writing isn't constantly being done in a computer, which, or course, is what these phones, and tablets are.
post #38 of 63
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Originally Posted by melgross View Post

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Originally Posted by Blastdoor View Post

And yet they also like keeping secrets. This could be a secret worth keeping as long as they can -- it's a safe bet that if they did something good here, people will try to copy it. 

Apple isn't a chip producer, selling to others. So there's no need for them to detail what they're doing, ala Intel.

They usually do give us some info though. This year, they were stingier than usual. SJ may have given us somewhat more, and Shiller usually does tell us something.

We do see x-rats of these chips at some point when others do that work, and a very general idea of how the chip is allocated can be seen, but that's about it.

We know, for example, because we were told this, is that the A5, at least, has a processing area for photography, as we see in many cameras. How many other SoC's have that I don't know,but it's responsible for the cameras excellent performance in a number of areas.

 

I suspect that we might see the A6 used in a iPad Mini, come October...  Possibly the next ATV, depending on what they do for games, etc.

 

I think that any new chip for the next iPad will require more RAM, more powerful GPU, and (possibly) more CPU cores.

 

If Apple has taken this direction in designing their own CPUs, conceivably, they could tailor the number of CPU cores on an A chip to suit the usage needs of a particular iDevice.

 

Another big advantage is that Apple could select different foundries to manufacture the chip -- and not be dependent on a competitor.

"Swift generally gets you to the right way much quicker." - auxio -

"The perfect [birth]day -- A little playtime, a good poop, and a long nap." - Tomato Greeting Cards -
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"Swift generally gets you to the right way much quicker." - auxio -

"The perfect [birth]day -- A little playtime, a good poop, and a long nap." - Tomato Greeting Cards -
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post #39 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

 

If Apple has taken this direction in designing their own CPUs, conceivably, they could tailor the number of CPU cores on an A chip to suit the usage needs of a particular iDevice.

We've already seen this. It is apparently more cost effective to simply disable a core as they did in the latest aTV.

Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

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Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

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post #40 of 63
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Originally Posted by WESALLEN View Post

Unless they paid Qualcomm for IP or subcontracted some of the work to Q I doubt apple made a Krait like custom core. It took qualcomms army of engineers years to develop the first snapdragon processor, they're first custom SOC with a custom core. As much as I believe in apples innovative abilities I just doubt they built a krait like processor of there first try at a custom core. 

Also, if they did build a krait type cpu then why didnt they incorporate the radio into the chip like qualcomm did? That would have been very apple-like to put it all in the same piece of silicon and they're already buying the chip from qualcomm so why not license it from them and just build it into the SoC. 

Apple has been working on these processors for years as well. Only the first phone didn't have their stamp on it. Every phone since then has seen increasing Apple IP. It's not difficult to believe this. Apple now owns three proccessor companies.

And don't forget that Apple and Acorn, together, formed ARM specifically for the purpose of designing a mobile chip for a computer. That computer was the Newton, the first tablet, and the first device to use a mobile ARM chip. In fact, Apple owned half of ARM, until they gradually sold off the stock. Too bad about that too.

But Apple has had plenty of experience designing chips over the decades. They wrote much of the microcode for the PPC, and we're instrumental in combining the Power architecture with the Motorola architecture way back then.

Apple has a whale of a lot of knowledge about chip technology. Remember that they even designed their own chipsets for many years. And they bough a couple of GPU design companies.

They likely have at least as much knowledge as any other ARM manufacturer, and probably more than some, such as Nvidia, who came late to the game.
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