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

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  • Reply 21 of 198
    sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,788member
    I'm sure Apple didn't want to spill the beans on iPhone OS 4.0 before this year's iPhone rollout. It's months away, and Steve doesn't want anything to distract consumers from iPad until then.



    The key word being "consumers." The iPad is aimed the big fat middle of the bell curve: people who may or may not have a computer at home already. And if they do, they probably hate having to navigate through that 1980s desktop-with-folders office-productivity metaphor. Why should casual computer users be forced to wade through such an archaic interface?



    If you're a regular reader of this site, you're at one of the thin edges of that curve. Tech-savvy, opinionated as hell about hardware and software features. Up on all the latest specs, rumors, and full of pet peeves. Well, sorry, but the market is passing us all by.



    It's hard to give up the old ways, I know. But not that hard. Especially when the new way is easier.
  • Reply 22 of 198
    povilaspovilas Posts: 473member
    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.



    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.
  • Reply 23 of 198
    What exactly do you need to multitask? People keep saying that but take a moment and think about it in a practical sense. Are you going to play a game while listening to music... editing a document and watching porn.... all on a 9.3" touch screen. From what I've watched... I see all the Apps open instantly on tap. Within a micro second you are doing whatever you want to. If you need to multitask in the true sense you use a laptop or a desktop. I'd rather have 10 hours of battery life than multitasking on the iPad. I'm sure eventually true multi-tasking will arrive on such a mobile device but defiantly not to sacrifice battery and performance.
  • Reply 24 of 198
    addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,660member
    Just kind of looked around on that "Bright Side News" site: ugh. Doesn't really appear to be a paragon of investigative reporting, and the Apple stuff, in particular, seems to be larded with pointless snark.



    I'll wait for the grownups to get a read on the A4.
  • Reply 25 of 198
    frykefryke Posts: 217member
    Wow, that's really ignorant, azzurri. YES, people want to continue to listen to music that might _not_ come from "iPod" while reading/writing mail, notes, Pages documents. And YES, a chat client wouldn't take up _that_ much RAM in the background, so the notification-route seems like an unnecessary roundabout. It doesn't mean people want those applications in the _front_ at the same time, just have them running in the background instead of quitting and restarting.
  • Reply 26 of 198
    Quote:

    The A4 has 4 core, could it be more obvious ?



    I thought it was because "A4" is (roughly) the size of the paper that the iPad "replaces".
  • Reply 27 of 198
    povilaspovilas Posts: 473member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by azzurri View Post


    What exactly do you need to multitask? People keep saying that but take a moment and think about it in a practical sense. Are you going to play a game while listening to music... editing a document and watching porn.... all on a 9.3" touch screen. From what I've watched... I see all the Apps open instantly on tap. Within a micro second you are doing whatever you want to. If you need to multitask in the true sense you use a laptop or a desktop. I'd rather have 10 hours of battery life than multitasking on the iPad. I'm sure eventually true multi-tasking will arrive on such a mobile device but defiantly not to sacrifice battery and performance.



    Crazy people.
  • Reply 28 of 198
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Zandros View Post


    Fact check please? Just because BSN didn't bother to be precise doesn't mean you should. Nvidia's Tegra uses ARM11 cores (however, Tegra 2 uses dual Cortex A9s) and the Snapdragon isn't powered by A9 either.



    Furthermore, A9 doesn't necessarily have to implemented in multicore configurations. Surely Apple would have mentioned that the iPad was multicore in its tech specs?



    Just wanted to clarify your comment. Snapdragon is powered by a Cortex family device so is absolutely ARM based, and is closer in performance to an A9 than an A8. The same as is likely of this custom chip from Apple.
  • Reply 29 of 198
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by circuslife View Post


    Yes. It's a multi-core ARM Cortex-A9 CPU similar to that of NVIDIA Tegra 2



    That's quoting THIS site.



    I'm very skeptical. Why would they waste silicon and power on a second core when the OS doesn't support multi-tasking?



    And you don't even need multiple cores for multi-tasking.
  • Reply 30 of 198
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by troehl View Post


    The big question I have is whether or not the A4 (or a variant) will also be able to be used in a future iPhone and/or iPod Touch...



    A combined CPU/GPU chip could lead to even more powerful and energy efficient devices that will make it even harder for competitive devices to keep up....



    This has been in all major designs since OMAP2. iPhone 2G, 3G and 3Gs have SoC like this, just not as powerful properly
  • Reply 31 of 198
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by azzurri View Post


    What exactly do you need to multitask? People keep saying that but take a moment and think about it in a practical sense. Are you going to play a game while listening to music... editing a document and watching porn.... all on a 9.3" touch screen. From what I've watched... I see all the Apps open instantly on tap. Within a micro second you are doing whatever you want to. If you need to multitask in the true sense you use a laptop or a desktop. I'd rather have 10 hours of battery life than multitasking on the iPad. I'm sure eventually true multi-tasking will arrive on such a mobile device but defiantly not to sacrifice battery and performance.



    Have you guys ever made a presentation or something like that?

    There is no way to make that without multitasking. You need keynote running, safar, for images, and informations, a messenger to communicate with your colleague, a dictionary, e-book reader to quote from books, and so on...

    The ones telling, that multitasking is not needed at all, probably have no idea of productivity!
  • Reply 32 of 198
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by azzurri View Post


    What exactly do you need to multitask? People keep saying that but take a moment and think about it in a practical sense. Are you going to play a game while listening to music... editing a document and watching porn.... all on a 9.3" touch screen. From what I've watched... I see all the Apps open instantly on tap. Within a micro second you are doing whatever you want to. If you need to multitask in the true sense you use a laptop or a desktop. I'd rather have 10 hours of battery life than multitasking on the iPad. I'm sure eventually true multi-tasking will arrive on such a mobile device but defiantly not to sacrifice battery and performance.



    Yes, agree completely. "You mean I can't listening to music while playing video games?! It takes a fraction of a second to push the current thing I'm doing aside and launch another task! But I have to be able to play Mobsters online, while I wait for a girl to maybe message me on Facebook!"



    It's nice to see that Apple resisted the temptation to market this device towards teenagers (the most prolific, but least savvy tech demographic). The lack of a video camera means this device will flourish in IT, where cameras are not typically welcome. The other problem is that if you put one on the face, you can't point it and click the screen to take the picture with any ease. Putting a camera on the back, means all the people wanting to video conference can't use it. So the only answer is to add 2 cameras, which of course brought up the question "why do we even need a camera on this?" It would seem to Apple that the vanity of whiny, entitled teens is not a compelling technical need. Maybe they'll make an iMirror to meet demand for all those that can't go five minutes without looking at themselves.



    Most people (brats) here don't need cameras or multi-tasking, they need the iCry then the [email protected] apps. You think they'd just be stoked to have an upgrade to the iPod Touch that makes masturbation a better experience with the larger screen? Guess they'll just have to use their existing device to take pictures of themselves doing "it".
  • Reply 33 of 198
    patspats Posts: 112member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by drivendriver View Post


    I'm very skeptical. Why would they waste silicon and power on a second core when the OS doesn't support multi-tasking?



    And you don't even need multiple cores for multi-tasking.



    The OS does support multi-tasking. The only programs which can use multi-tasking are built by Apple. All other programs must quit. If you ever get a notification when you are playing a game guess what that is multi-tasking. The reason for using multi cores, is to reduce power consumption. When a core is unused you can shut it off and then if a process needs a core you turn it back on. The number of transistor for a given area continues to shrink with Moore's Law and you need to do something with all the extra transistors. With Apple designing their own chips they can use the transistor for what they think is important rather then what Intel or Samsung build.
  • Reply 34 of 198
    bartfatbartfat Posts: 432member
    I would've thought A4 was referring to a sheet of paper, and Apple meant it for the iPad, so it fits perfectly. But I could be wrong...
  • Reply 35 of 198
    jmmxjmmx Posts: 341member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by esummers View Post


    Steve Jobs also said that their software guys worked with the chip designers. Maybe GCD (Grand Central Dispatch) related hardware features or special support for parts of OS X that the software guys discovered to be slow in profiling their code. There are lots of interesting things they could be doing with custom extensions to the ARM instruction set that a normal CPU vendor wouldn't be able to do. GCD is part of Apple's power efficiency strategy, so special scheduling support in the CPU might be interesting.



    Insightful point!
  • Reply 36 of 198
    cmf2cmf2 Posts: 1,427member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by drivendriver View Post


    I'm very skeptical. Why would they waste silicon and power on a second core when the OS doesn't support multi-tasking?



    And you don't even need multiple cores for multi-tasking.



    What comes out in June? New iPhones. What does that mean? iPhone OS 4.0. What do we know about iPhone OS 4.0. Nothing. Could it include multitasking? Most definitely. Will Apple still be selling this tablet when iPhone OS 4.0 comes out? Yes would be a good guess.



    iPhone OS 3.2 is the launch OS, but I suspect we might get a preview of iPhone OS 4.0 before this tablet actually starts selling (history indicates they will have a preview in March). I'm hoping for lots of goodies in 4.0 for both my iPhone and the iPad that I will almost inevitably buy.



    PS: Individual programs can be and are multi-threaded, so you don't even need to multi-task to make use of multiple cores.



    I guess the only real question is why I replied to a first poster who is most likely trolling.
  • Reply 37 of 198
    jmmxjmmx Posts: 341member
    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?



    I agree with your general point here - particularly for phones. But I think the game changes when your "portable device" is the iPad which is closer to a laptop in most respects. Once you start creating content instead of just viewing it, read Pages, Keynote here, then you enter territory where your "multitasking isn't needed" breaks down.



    Perhaps this is one reason that SDK 3.2 is iPad only?
  • Reply 38 of 198
    ijoynerijoyner Posts: 135member
    No it's named after the Burroughs A4 ;-) from its A Series, the later version of the original B5000. The link is very close - Robert (Bob) Barton designed the B5000 and later taught students such as Alan Kay at Uni of Utah. Kay of course started all this Mac and iPad stuff at Xerox and later worked at Apple. His original thinking came up with the Dynabook:



    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dynabook



    Maybe Barton was the original different thinker of the industry - design hardware and software together, radical for early 1960s. They also wrote all system software exclusively in a high-level language ALGOL long before Unix was done in that pale rip-off C (the scourge of computer security). Burroughs machines had true mutlitasking, multiprocessing and virtual memory before the others and championed stack-based architectures that are now in virtual machines:



    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_(Bob)_Barton



    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burroughs_large_systems



    Thus Burroughs was influential in all the good things we have now and it would be nice to think the A4 as a subtle tribute to that!
  • Reply 39 of 198
    .. 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.
  • Reply 40 of 198
    ijoynerijoyner Posts: 135member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by habesz85 View Post


    Have you guys ever made a presentation or something like that?

    The ones telling, that multitasking is not needed at all, probably have no idea of productivity!



    You don't need *general* multitasking. How does Mac, Windows, iPhone, and now iPad work? The user interacts with one application at a time - Cocoa routes events to that application until it is swapped. On Mac applications are kept in main memory for fast swapping, but there is no need to do this - the real need is to save task state. This the iPhone does in a different way, but it does it.



    The only need for MT is that messages can come from elsewhere - incoming calls and messages, and listening to music. This can be provided by daemons in the background which can post a notification to the user when an event that they want to be notified about occurs. The general user interface (Cocoa Touch part) can be terminated.



    Thus I think Apple has taken a good design approach - rather than just loading the device down with general software technologies, they have asked the question "well what do we really want to do?"



    As for productivity, the user must have good response time - nothing can kill this more effectively than if memory fills up and you get into a thrashing situation. Thus one user app at a time seems a good restriction and have small daemons in the background to handle notifications.



    Perhaps a bigger omission - at least for developers - is lack of garbage collection. You have to put so much non-functional bookkeeping code in Objective-C to handle GC that it warps your code and is error prone. That may be another good reason to terminate an app - it ensures memory is cleaned out. Mind you I'm not advocating sloppy programming, but having just got GC in Obj-C 2.0 it's a shame to go backwards, but I can understand the tradeoffs.
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