iPad's custom Apple A4 processor includes ARM-based CPU, GPU

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  • Reply 181 of 198
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Henriok View Post


    Well, the source that AI is quoting is stating that its a Cortex-A9 MPCore-based SoC, and those are at least dual core.



    That's actually not true, you could use a single Cortex-A9 MPCore in a SoC. Similarly, Nvidia used a single ARM11 MPCore in Tegra 1.



    Quote:

    But it still contains other errors, like that Snapdragon and Tegra is using Cortex-A9 (they are using Cortex-A8).



    Actually, Snapdragon uses Qualcomm's own ARMv7 CPU, Scorpion. Tegra1 uses an ARM11 MPCore, Tegra2 is dual Cortex-A9.





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Carniphage View Post


    But as I explained earlier, this does not need multi-tasking. Specifically it does not need apps to run in background. It would be entirely the *wrong* behavior if games continued to run while you answered a text.



    There are indeed many apps which don't need to run in the background, as they simply don't have anything meaningful to do without user input. However, most such apps are driven by input events and would not take any CPU time if put in the background anyway. They take up memory, but keeping data around is a necessity for fast task switching. Some memory allocations could probably be released, though.



    Games should pause and disable their render loop while in the background (like well-behaved games on the desktop do), but multiplayer games may have to keep up a connection to the server (or continue acting as server).
  • Reply 182 of 198
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by gin_tonic View Post


    You are talking about things that already has been solved. The OS manages foreground and background processes. If the system need more memory, it sends notification to background process to close.



    Run in the background until you get squeezed out? You think that is intelligent process managment? That is a default system before making it "good", which the original iPhone OS used. Those of us who used the original iPhones remember leaving the Safari app for a second just to have to wait for it to reload the page again when we went back into it. Saving the content when you exit, not sucking resources which result in poorer battery life and having an intelligent background managment system are much much better. Background apps will likely come soon, but they'll be done with the averge user in mind.
  • Reply 183 of 198
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MacTripper View Post


    Multitasking is necessary.



    For example you cant listen to a iTunes U lecture and follow along reading your e-Textbook.



    Waiting for a important email? Well you can't listen to music or watch a TV show in the meanwhile.



    Want to copy a great passage from a e-book and email it to your friend? oh no can't do that.



    Sometimes I think Apple has lost it's fscking mind.



    So many have so capably answered your rant previous to this I graciously withdraw my comment!
  • Reply 184 of 198
    neilmneilm Posts: 634member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Henriok View Post


    Well, the source that AI is quoting is stating that its a Cortex-A9 MPCore-based SoC, and those are at least dual core. And Bright Side of News is the only one really claiming to know stuff. All others are just speculation. But the fact that they got the GPU completely wrong, their claim of CPU must be put in that context. For what it's worth, Bright Side of News, have now corrected some stuff in their article so it doesn't include factual errors, like that the iPad would use Mali-50. But it still contains other errors.



    Exactly. Furthermore, BSN has now backed off their original claim, with this update:



    "Update #1, January 28, 2010 22:22 GMT/UTC - Following the request for comments, we were incline to update the story. First of all, we do not have concrete information about the number of cores inside the Apple A4 "CPU that it isn't" i.e. A4 SOC. We were told that the ARM licensed its CPU and GPU technology to Apple. That's it."



    So much for any credibility BSN might ever have had (none with me...) on this subject.



    For everybody's benefit, this family of processor designs is available as the ARM Cortex-A9 Single Core and ARM Cortex-A9MPCore (up to 4-cores), see http://www.arm.com/products/CPUs/core_selector.html.



    It's pretty clear that nobody outside Apple knows what's inside that A4 package at this point — maybe not too many inside Apple either!
  • Reply 185 of 198
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by NeilM View Post


    For everybody's benefit, this family of processor designs is available as the ARM Cortex-A9 Single Core and ARM Cortex-A9MPCore (up to 4-cores), see http://www.arm.com/products/CPUs/core_selector.html.



    It's pretty clear that nobody outside Apple knows what's inside that A4 package at this point ? maybe not too many inside Apple either!



    If i were to put money on it I'd say that it's no more than two. Historically, Apple is more inclined to take a conservative approach with these things, either control of known hardware an/or having a place to grow to so I wouldn't be surprised if this is just well optimized A8.
  • Reply 186 of 198
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by lowededwookie View Post


    It ain't going to happen because multitasking on mobile devices simply don't make sense and there is NO logical argument to support that it does.



    Considering how quickly you can change apps multi tasking is just a crap idea made by people who don't understand portable devices.



    The design of OS X ensures that multitasking isn't needed so there's no reason to add it. I mean how many apps do you NEED to run on a portable device at one time?



    It isn't multitasking so much that people need as background processes (just like how iPod can play in background). If Apple opens up a very restricted background services API I think they might quell all this frustration over "multitasking". Multitasking is really more of a hardware term & we know already that iPhone can multitask as you can play quicktime streams in Safari in the background or listen to your iPod.



    Apple also needs a suspend state API for apps so that when you exit an app it can suspend it's process where it is just like the OS on a laptop suspends when put to sleep. It already has this capability on iPhone as we see when exiting Mail & then going back to continue composing an e-mail. We need to see this feature expanded so that app developers don't have to create their own work arounds, which often are buggy & unreliable.
  • Reply 187 of 198
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post


    C'mon dudes-

    OSX (from the biggest Mac down to the smallest iphone) supports multitasking. This is a kernel property that *all* OS X variants (Mac OS and iPhone OS) share.



    What Apple is not allowing you to do is run multiple *3rd Party Apps* concurrently. You most certainly *can* multitask on an iPhone (ever make a call and look at a map at the same time?) The kernel in the OS supports multitasking just fine.



    That's what I'm getting at. The general thinking people seem to have is that multi-tasking is running more than one app at a time much like you do on a desktop. I was basing my comments on that ideology not how you're describing it as which I agree with.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by svnipp View Post


    At least two that I can think of off the top of my head. For instance, I can't tell you how often I would like to continue listening to Pandora while checking my e-mail or playing solitaire or a tower defense game. The iPad takes this even a step further. If I were say listening to a radio program and wanted to take some notes in Pages. These are just a couple examples of things that I would be doing on a regular basis.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Povilas View Post


    No, it does make sense. You know why? Because you can browse web using Safari while listening to music and running Timer in the background. It only makes sense, but it shpuld be implemented properly.



    But there are already systems in place that allow you to do that. Notifications pops a message on the screen, iPod is accessible from any application that has been written with the Apple APIs, and the Timer has always been able to run in the background.



    Apple has always given the APIs to allow developers to do all that and the iPad can do all of that because it's the same operating system as the iPhone. The idea that you can't listen to music while surfing the web is ludicrous because it's been done ever since OS X 3.0 so I fail to see what people are complaining about.



    What Apple hasn't allowed is for more than one application to run concurrently which doesn't make logical sense. I mean on a desktop or laptop Mac you have more resources at your beck and call so running multiple apps with a dock to access those when you need to makes sense. But needing to access a web browser, a database, an e-mail, and play a game at the same time doesn't make sense on a mobile device. That's where notifications come in and let's face it the Home screen is more or less an application selector anyway it just means you load up each application and close each application when you use it.
  • Reply 188 of 198
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hezekiahb View Post


    Apple also needs a suspend state API for apps so that when you exit an app it can suspend it's process where it is just like the OS on a laptop suspends when put to sleep. It already has this capability on iPhone as we see when exiting Mail & then going back to continue composing an e-mail. We need to see this feature expanded so that app developers don't have to create their own work arounds, which often are buggy & unreliable.



    But if Apple can do this for Mail then why can't everyone else? Bento does it. Twitterific does it. FaceBook does it.



    Ultimately the issue is not that Apple is preventing it from being done but it is that some developers either don't know how to do it or don't want to do it. How is that Apple's fault? How is it Apple's fault that a developer doesn't want to play the game and instead want to try and reinvent the wheel themselves?
  • Reply 189 of 198
    samabsamab Posts: 1,953member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    If i were to put money on it I'd say that it's no more than two. Historically, Apple is more inclined to take a conservative approach with these things, either control of known hardware an/or having a place to grow to so I wouldn't be surprised if this is just well optimized A8.



    It is much more likely that Apple did the exact same thing as Qualcomm --- license the armv7a architecture itself and create their own implementation. No reason to spend almost $300 million on PA Semi and their 150 engineers just to "cut and paste" a Cortex A8 core with a GPU licensed from somebody else.



    Qualcomm's Snapdragon doesn't have any Cortex cores in it --- no Cortex A8 or A9. The Snapdragon core is called Scorpion and is made entirely by Qualcomm.



    Why would they do that? Because that is the cheapest option when you have the expertise of a large CPU designer team. It's like AMD selling their own x86 chips --- AMD just license the x86 architecture from Intel, but the entire CPU is designed by AMD itself.
  • Reply 190 of 198
    In regards to the lack of true multitasking on the iPad--don't forget the rumored iPhone OS 4.0, which may make an appearance just before WWDC 2010. It's likely that now there is enough hardware "oomph," iPhone OS 4.0 will be able to actually do multitasking. Expect Apple to offer iPhone OS 4.0 for the iPad and the next-generation iPhones, which may offer a "reduced" version of the A4 CPU designed for the tighter power requirements of the iPhone.
  • Reply 191 of 198
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SactoMan01 View Post


    In regards to the lack of true multitasking on the iPad--don't forget the rumored iPhone OS 4.0, which may make an appearance just before WWDC 2010. It's likely that now there is enough hardware "oomph," iPhone OS 4.0 will be able to actually do multitasking. Expect Apple to offer iPhone OS 4.0 for the iPad and the next-generation iPhones, which may offer a "reduced" version of the A4 CPU designed for the tighter power requirements of the iPhone.



    It's demo has been coming in March with a new SDK. I'd say this is to get developer started with iPad specific apps but with a release on the update around-mid year The iPad will obviously be releasing with v3.2 but with the next major update just a few months later.
  • Reply 192 of 198
    jmmxjmmx Posts: 341member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by pats View Post


    The new A4 probably is an ARM Cortex A9 with Power VR GPU I doubt Apple is using MALI when they get great performance from the PowerVR GPU and PowerVR supports OpenCL. The article is so full of factual errors, that it is obvious that they are guessing like everyone else. As far as seeing an A4 in the iphone/itouch. You can bet on it with the next version. The upfront design cost of a modern SOC means you need to build a bunch to make it worthwhile.



    Good post. Thanks.



    I am guessing that the reason SDK 3.2 is iPad only is that there are special features of the A4 chip that it can address.



    How does this theory sound to you all out there?
  • Reply 193 of 198
    brucepbrucep Posts: 2,823member
    carniphage nails it here so does lundy and melgross

    read them and multi anything becomes clear
  • Reply 194 of 198
    brucepbrucep Posts: 2,823member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by lundy View Post


    Let's clarify some things here, folks.



    The OS is OS X underneath, which is a certified UNIX. So saying it "doesn't multitask" is ridiculous. As a developer, I can tell you that it obviously does - the OS has probably 50+ tasks bobbing in and out of execution at all times, just as in the desktop version.



    As far as not allowing 3rd-party apps to be switched out of the foreground, that's been explained here. You absolutely do not want 20 apps launched and not quit, which are then all downloading RSS feeds or photos or pinging servers or even continuing to run their graphics loops in the background.



    I can tell you that even ONE busy background task is enough to slow down the main thread on an iPod touch.



    Now as far as multi-core, it's true that threads don't care how many cores there are. But if a single-core chip doesn't have the performance to do two intensive tasks without one affecting the other, then separate cores solves the problem. An example:



    - You have a word game app that needs to load a 9 MB dictionary or word list at startup. There is no way to load part of it, because you don't know what part will be used first. And loading it lazily (depending on what is asked for) destroys the "instant response" feature of your game.



    - So, on launch you don't want to make the user wait 10 seconds looking at a "loading.. please wait..." screen before he can enter some text to look up. So you want the GUI to let him type into a text field WHILE the word list is being loaded in another thread.



    - This turns out to be easy using NSOperationQueue, especially since the threads don't rely on each other except that the word list has to be loaded before you let the user hit "Lookup" - the word list isn't needed WHILE the user is just typing the text in.



    - Now doing this on a gen 1 touch significantly delays the appearance of the keyboard when the user taps it - thus showing that the processor in the touch isn't up to the task.



    - But if the touch had TWO cores, it could easily dedicate one to the GUI and the other to loading the file off the disk and the user responsiveness would be fine.



    - I imagine with the performance of this new A4 chip, a single core would do fine compared to the ARM chip in the touch.



    - Given that Snow Leopard has Grand Central in it, and that high-level multitasking APIs such as NSOperationQueue already use GC, multi-core has to be in the cards, if it's not already on the chip.



    So anyone who says the OS doesn't multitask has no idea what the word means.



    can we make this post required reading for all members ??



    thank you admin for =the great info
  • Reply 195 of 198
    brucepbrucep Posts: 2,823member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by nkhm View Post


    This is a first generation device. It does a lot. Given time it will do more.



    Be patient.



    Buy one, or don't buy one. When the camera makes it's appearance, people will be complaining about the lack of being able to run Photoshop CS4 on this thing while playing 1080 HD video and web conferencing with their friends.



    It's not a laptop replacement. It does not need to be, nor will it ever be a powerful work tool, or a tool designed to replace a laptop or desktop. That would be the next evolution of those platforms, this is the first iteration of a new device. A 'dumbed down' device if you prefer to see it that way.



    The platform for this device - its audience - are not a 'niche' market. Plenty of people have no interest in computers, or are too old, too busy or simply can't be bothered to learn how to use a full computer (I know plenty, including my parents). These people still recognise that email and the internet are now an integral part of life and will be able to pick one of these things up and just use it.



    Even better, it can live in a drawer/bag/cupboard when not in use, as many people don't want a desktop computer in the corner of their living space, or a laptop to lug around. It could sit on the side as a digital photo frame if people so desired.



    It's not there for you to play xbox quality games on, to edit photo's in 16bit CMYK @300dpi, or to create serious business output. That isn't the purpose of this device. It's a toy - not a tool.



    Try and grasp that concept.



    The only omission for the everyday user is a front facing camera (this thing is the wrong form factor to ever be used as a digital camera, so only a front facing camera is a sensible addition). I can see that video conferencing would be an ergonomic nightmare when this device is hand held, unless you want people to look up your nose. It will come though, probably at the same time as the front camera on the iPhone/iPod Touch, perhaps even sooner.



    Be patient. There are no omissions or errors here, only potential additional features which will no doubt be added as the product continues to develop.



    nice post

    puts a pin the balloon quite well



    cheers dude



    peace 9
  • Reply 196 of 198
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by b-a-r View Post


    .. I'm sorry, but this thing just baffles me. I felt seriously sorry for Jobs, watching the keynote and seeing all those webpages load with the missing Flashplayer icon. I see he's totally into it, and honestly seems to believe in it, but no camera? iPhone OS? It sucks on the iPhone, why wouldn't it suck more on a 9" screen? I guess i could see this thing being kinda cool in a classroom, for rented textbooks, etc.. but, how about a little OLED clamshell, real keyboard, 16:9 screen, blu-ray support or even an internal blu-ray drive (Shoot, while their at it, how about an HD-DVD/Blu-Ray drive for all us suckers who adopted HD-DVD) Did Apple actually do any customer market research on this thing? Because i know if apple asked ANY of us about it, they'd have made something very different (or at least incorporated desired/functional features). I'd pay $900 for something like that. They've mastered overseas manufacturing for pennies on the dollar, made billions in the last few years. How about giving people a price break and offering something seriously killer??? I'm optimistic they could make up the profit loss in volume??? I love Apple, don't get me wrong, i've been fully Apple from the get-go, but this thing just seems like a rich guy's toy, about 3 years behind the times.

    Ugh.. my rant is over.



    Wow... Just wow.
  • Reply 197 of 198
    philipmphilipm Posts: 239member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Henriok View Post


    Well, the source that AI is quoting is stating that its a Cortex-A9 MPCore-based SoC, and those are at least dual core. And Bright Side of News is the only one really claiming to know stuff. All others are just speculation. But the fact that they got the GPU completely wrong, their claim of CPU must be put in that context. For what it's worth, Bright Side of News, have now corrected some stuff in their article so it doesn't include factual errors, like that the iPad would use Mali-50. But it still contains other errors, like that Snapdragon and Tegra is using Cortex-A9 (they are using Cortex-A8). It might be right that A4 use Cortex-A9 MPCore... It's likely but we don't know.



    Before this event, I would have put my money on a core with a pipeline that P.A. Semi had built from scratch. Just like what they did with their PWRFicient PowerPC processors. this being their first product, they might have opted for an existing core though, That makes sense too.



    If we are all speculating, we might as well read some informed speculation. This article quotes people from well-informed sources like Microprocessor Report who admit no one really knows but the most likely thing given lead times is A4 is based on an existing ARM core with a graphics engine very similar to that in the iPhone. The most likely reason for doing their own design is cost (they also mention power but ARM designs are generally already very competitive on power management).
  • Reply 198 of 198
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by philipm View Post


    If we are all speculating, we might as well read some informed speculation. This article quotes people from well-informed sources like Microprocessor Report who admit no one really knows but the most likely thing given lead times is A4 is based on an existing ARM core with a graphics engine very similar to that in the iPhone. The most likely reason for doing their own design is cost (they also mention power but ARM designs are generally already very competitive on power management).



    Perhaps some folks see no problem with powerful processors running at 1% utilization. I would like to see the A4 benchmarks and see where it falls related to other processors on the market. My sense of what is being said is that it ought to be very capable. While there may be some need for limited multi tasking of user applications; I am not interested in an unresponsive unit that wastes time bringing up an application or drags down the user interface. Lean clean virus free functionality seems to be a goals of the iPad.



    I have been working in an environment where much work has been done to put medical records into web form for doctors and nurses to view and update. Windows based units have had short battery life, weigh too much and are burdened with security problems. If the A4 based iPad can do fast full page web browsing, provide a light easy to read unit with reasonable input ability and run without recharging a whole work day; all at a very reasonable cost; I think the unit will prove to answer many many needs which have not been well met to date. There simply isn't much else like it on the market.



    While Microsoft is focused on putting ever larger OS's into a smaller package, they seem to be ignoring the fact that hardly anyone needs all that power running obese applications. Apple is on track in recognizing that most users do not need wasted powerful processors, and together with the foresight of seeing that in those cases, powerful applications can be run off on some other CPU(s) out on the web or private network while viewing and controlling these applications remotely. You can run demanding programs elsewhere and switch between webpages. I think that in the iPad Apple is providing a system which can take great advantage of these insights.
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