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Samsung excluded from development of Apple's next-gen 'A7' chip - report - Page 2

post #41 of 55

So we will soon see the "Apple's supply of iOS device is disrupted by processor supply problems"....

post #42 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

This is just plain garbage!


Have you not blocked him/her?
post #43 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by gsleon3 View Post

They will be back. There are not a ton of foundries out there & TSMC has already told Apple that they have no intention of being exclusive & Samsung takes a ton of their chips on top of their own. Given the knowledge of Apple's design (& Sammy's own E5 Octo 8-core Big.little) I would not be surprised to see Sammy processors back in the mix. If demand is high enough, they will do whatever they have to to move units & Samsung has a proven record of building products to spec & doing it on time. Not to mention, that Sammy is still providing memory & displays for iOS products like the Mini. You guys sure rip a lot on Samsung, who for an unimaginative copycat, surprisingly accounted for 60% of the iPad 2 bill of materials.

Samsung is far from your run of the mill counterfeiter. They are themselves, pretty innovative. Not just with mobile devices, but if anyone has had a chance to play with the new 2013 75" 9000 series smart TV from Samsung, you will know what I am talking about. & whoever said "nobody else is going to trust Samsung with SoC" you must surely be joking, right? Samsung's processors are used in so many things, not just mobile devices, but even there they are in numerous places, including the important emerging market devices. Apple only has a few choices, Samsung, TSMC, Intel, Global or building there own fab, which will take years to get going. I don't currently see a way they can cleanly & easily jump ship while keeping up with demand, unless demand takes a steep dive.


post #44 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by tooltalk View Post

 

It's well known here that Samsung did most of design and implementation of Apple's early APs (A4 & A5 notably), while Apple's technical contribution was quite minimal until the A6.  It's also been discussed several times that Apple stole Samsung's technical / business partners like Intrinsity to build Apple's own ARM expertise in 2010. 

 

There is nothing to retract - everyone here knows that when Jobs returned back in 1997, he gutted non-essential, non-money-making business units to stay lean and mean.  And that's one of the reasons why Apple relied on Samsung's technical and manufacturing expertise for the first ARM base APs. Nobody here would ever admit however that Apple depended on technical inspiration, manufacturing ideas from Samsung, SONY, Nokia, etc, etc.  It's important to maintain the false facade of innovation and originality -- which in turn translates to sales & customer loyalty.

I don't see how it is well known. Every Internet article I read says Apple designed and owns the A4 and A5. Sure, it collaborated with Samsung on it considering it was being built using Samsung's fabrication process. Design is about making choices amongst  available technologies and capabilities. It only makes sense it would work with Samsung to figure out manufacturing potential. Moreover, I am confused as to when buying something can be considered theft. Apple bought Intrinsity. It also bought PA Semi.

 

More importantly, people sometimes under appreciate Apple's involvement in technology design. Apple has a rich history in chip design. It was a major partner in the Power PC with Motorola and IBM. The Power PC chip, like ARM processors, were based on a RISC architecture. Moreover, Apple partnered with ARM back in the 80's when it was called ACORN. The Newton used an ARM processor based on Apple's partnership with Acorn, and Apple held the lion share of  ARM stock. In fact, its investment in ARM kept Apple alive during the lean times.  Apple also has invented technologies like Firewire, which still bests USB in every way. 

post #45 of 55

Excellent post.

post #46 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

I wonder why Apple is so reluctant to establish their own chip foundry.

 

One reason may be that it's not their core business, and they are leaving the risk of market sea-change in components to others. For example, if they build a facility that makes silicon and two years from now decide that the future is going to be all about graphene, they're stuck with an obsolete factory. The way it is now thats someone else's problem and they can just change suppliers if necessary.

post #47 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post

Use some of that cash horde to build fabrication plants. Sure, it would take years and isn't easy but developing AND fabricating your own chips would make it much harder for the copycats. And I believe this sort of plant is highly automated so why not build it in the U.S.

 

I've said this myself several time over the last 6+ months. 

post #48 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


This is perhaps the most interesting question that the thread has seen. I think the problem comes Down to this, Apple can't afford to replace a factory every two years. Samsung, TSMC and others have many customers willing to pay for products built on older processes but Apple not so much. At least not internally and Apple hasn't demonstrated the ability to act as a foundry or supplier of chips.

The simple fact is foundries are very expensive and are often only good for one or two process nodes before a rebuild is required. Once your product demands move beyond that process node, you don't have a way to pay for all of that capital if you are like Apple and focus on bleeding edge hardware. In a nut shell there isn't a good economic argument for Apple to get involved in manufacturing chips.

 

I disagree with the notion of not being able to afford this. If any foundry makes a profit and still spends $billions on retooling, then Apple can do likewise as the savings of not having to purchase a chip from someone would offset the cost of ownership. Apple needs enough chips now I think that would justify this cost. 

post #49 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by ankleskater View Post

If this article is to be read literally, then Samsung was involved in previous development processes, and wasn't just a dumb foundry? How many people here will now retract some of their previous statements? Nah, why allow hindsight promote humility?
The article is wrong.
I wont retract any statements at all. Every A series chip since the A4 has been completely designed and laid out in-house by Apple with absolutely no input from Shamelessung. This is well documented everywhere. There is a really good history and breakdown on wikipedia and also on adnandtech. If you want to google info about this is not hard to find.

Shamelessungs contract with apple is to fab the chips period that is all. No design involved. Copying sure, but no design.

here is a little history on iPhone and iPad A Series processors:

The iphone and iphone 3g included a Samsung 32-bit RISC ARM11 620 MHz processor (underclocked to 412 MHz)


The iPhone 3GS is powered by the Samsung APL0298C05 chip, which was designed and manufactured by Samsung. This system-on-a-chip is composed of an ARM Cortex-A8 CPU core underclocked to 600 MHz (from 833 MHz)

The iPhone 4 is powered by the Apple A4 chip, which was designed by Intrinsity (Apple bought Intrisity so they own the chip design) and, like all prior iPhone models, manufactured by Samsung.

The Apple A5 is a system-on-a-chip designed by Apple Inc. and manufactured by Samsung[1][2] to replace the Apple A4. The processors commercially debuted with the release of Apple's iPad 2 tablet, and also powers the iPhone 4S, iPod Touch fifth generation, and the iPad mini. This is consistent with how Apple debuted the A4 chip: first in the original iPad, followed by the iPhone 4, and then the iPod Touch (fourth generation).

The Apple A5X is an ARM-based system-on-a-chip (SoC) designed by Apple, originally used on the third generation iPad. It was announced on March 7, 2012 and was a high performance variant of the A5 processor that powered contemporary Apple devices.

The Apple A6 is a system on a chip (SoC) designed by Apple Inc. that drives the iPhone 5 which was introduced on September 12, 2012. Apple states that it is up to twice as fast and has up to twice the graphics power compared to its predecessor the Apple A5.

The A6X uses a 1.4 GHz custom Apple-designed ARMv7 based dual-core CPU called Swift,[2] introduced in the Apple A6 (a less powerful version introduced with the iPhone 5). It uses an integrated quad-core PowerVR SGX 554MP4 graphics processing unit (GPU) running at 300 MHz and a doubled memory subsystem,.[3][4] This produces twice the computing power and graphics performance of the previous Apple A5X processor found in the third-generation iPad.[5] The A6X has no RAM as a part of the chip package and a metal heat spreader, similar to the A5X but unlike the A6 found in the iPhone 5.
Manufactured by Samsung on a High-κ metal gate (HKMG) 32 nm process, the chip is 123 mm2 large[6] which is 26% larger than the A6.

These are all quotes from wikipedia with references to there source which is apple inc.

You can go look all of them up if you want but you probably won't.
Notice that Apple has not used a Shamelessung designed processor since the iPhone 3GS. Starting with the A4 apple bought intrinsity and moved there engineers into apples R and D labs in cupertino and they have developed and designed all of the A Series chips since then.
Samsung has not had any input on them starting with A 4 at all.
Edited by Mechanic - 4/10/13 at 6:51pm
post #50 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Getz View Post

 

I've said this myself several time over the last 6+ months. 

They could when AMD opened up there new chip fab in germany 10 years ago I remember reading an article it cost them at the time 2.5 billion.  Well within apples reach.  I think the real issue would be getting the engineers nessesary to run the plant.  I dont know if they could run this type of plant at a break even or profit stance.  But I would like to see them give it a go.  For no other reason than to keep all of there designs private from criminals like Shamelessung.

post #51 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by ankleskater View Post

 

I understand your POV. Why the need for a V8 over a V6 when you can still go to 100 mph in 7.5 second. But there is more to the need for speed than how a driver drives his car. Likewise, there is more going on in your phone than your perceived user experience, whether it has to do with iOS7 features or not.

 

Edit: I have read your post more carefully - you wrote about your perceived need for greater speed rather than your perceived need for speed. No offense and please don't take it the wrong way, but why would Apple make a decision based *your* perceived need?

Probably because his POV is not unique to him.  In fact, I'm sure that people felt like the 3GS was all the speed they needed.  I feel the same way about my iphone5.  I upgrade my phone every two years, but this is the first handset where I felt like I might hold on to it for longer than the length of my contract.  For the things I do with my phone, the 5 is more than enough.  Barring the reveal of some otherworldly feature that I can't currently dream up, I may be able to skip the next major upgrade.

post #52 of 55
After getting my iPad I'm no longer a big iPhone user. Taking that perspective in mind, I'd rather have both in my next iOS device. A device that cold be a Touch or an iPhone. The reality is they may be able to double performance in 2014 and maintain or even lower power levels.

For the iPad I'm expecting 64 bit hardware and more than a doubling of performance by 2014. The reality is each process node means more capability at a lower power level. As such I'm hoping iOS adopts some of the features long hoped for or speculated about by futurist. That means more AI, AI delivered by background tasks and other features.

For me I don't see Apple hitting a performance wall anytime soon. That is a point at which they no longer have a need for more performance out of their hardware.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blastdoor View Post

I did not mean to suggest that all progress should stop and that Apple should never introduce an A7. Instead, I only meant that for the iPhone 5S, I'm not sure that it's really necessary to improve SOC performance. I think that given a choice between longer battery life and higher CPU performance, it would currently be best to move in the direction of longer battery life. But eventually, sure, it will make sense to push again on performance. And tablets are a different question entirely -- I agree there's more need for speed there. 

The preference for more speed on a tablet instead of a phone is a personal thing, I'm certain we could find people that would strongly support the opposite.
post #53 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post

Use some of that cash horde to build fabrication plants. Sure, it would take years and isn't easy but developing AND fabricating your own chips would make it much harder for the copycats. And I believe this sort of plant is highly automated so why not build it in the U.S.

This would be a very poor use of Apple's cash as chip manufacturers spend billions upon billions to upgrade their factories on a regular basis to keep their chips relevant to very competitive (if not cutthroat) markets they serve. With the short life cycle of chips being manufactured today, the ROI would be terrible. Apple may use more chips than most, if not all others, but in the grand scheme of things Apple would never produce chips in the volumes required to realize the economy of scale necessary to get the chip costs down to level that specialized companies like Samsung, Intel, TSMC or even Global (formerly AMD) can achieve.


Edited by Realistic - 4/10/13 at 9:21pm

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post #54 of 55
This doesn't even get into the various IP blocks that Apple license or buys directly for use in or on their SoC. if Apple designs in an IP block it doesn't mean they designed that block.

It is pretty obvious that many people commenting here don't really grasp the foundry business. In many ways it can be likened to the 70's and 80's when logic boards where built with TTL and CMOS logic chips and soldered together on a printed circuit board. A manufacture like Apple didn't own the designs of the various chips (the IP) their contribution was hooking those chips up in a useful fashion.

So too with SoC processor design which is effectively the new printed circuit board. The only difference here is that Apple, with A6, has taken a giant step forward with the A6 and has delivered their own IP block for the core processor. Effectively they have designed a unique piece of hardware to execute ARM instructions.

Like all partnerships in life this is likely a course overview of what was contributed by both parties. There is certainly a public record of Apple rapidly expanding its contribution to the point that few other manufactures have followed. Most ARM processors in operation these days are built with AZrM reference designs for the cores, Apple is now one of the few companies in the world to venture outside of that world into the world of custom ARM instruction set processors.
Quote:
Originally Posted by TBell View Post

I don't see how it is well known. Every Internet article I read says Apple designed and owns the A4 and A5. Sure, it collaborated with Samsung on it considering it was being built using Samsung's fabrication process. Design is about making choices amongst  available technologies and capabilities. It only makes sense it would work with Samsung to figure out manufacturing potential. Moreover, I am confused as to when buying something can be considered theft. Apple bought Intrinsity. It also bought PA Semi.

More importantly, people sometimes under appreciate Apple's involvement in technology design. Apple has a rich history in chip design. It was a major partner in the Power PC with Motorola and IBM. The Power PC chip, like ARM processors, were based on a RISC architecture. Moreover, Apple partnered with ARM back in the 80's when it was called ACORN. The Newton used an ARM processor based on Apple's partnership with Acorn, and Apple held the lion share of  ARM stock. In fact, its investment in ARM kept Apple alive during the lean times.  Apple also has invented technologies like Firewire, which still bests USB in every way. 
post #55 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by mjtomlin View Post

 All the SoCs prior to the A4 were designed by Samsung with input from Apple.

 

All Samsung R&D on ARM chips has been made by an external firm: PA Semi, which Apple bought few years ago. 

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