Apple lining up A6 CPU suppliers for 2012 iPad, iPhone

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Apple is said to be already meeting with chip suppliers as it looks toward production of its next-generation "A6" mobile processor in 2012.



The iPhone maker is said to have recently visited packaging and testing firm Siliconware Precision Industries, or SPIL, according to DigiTimes. After viewing the company's assembly line, officials from Apple reportedly discussed "opportunities for cooperation," sources allegedly said.



The report indicated that SPIL is now "likely to snatch outsourcing orders" for the A6 processor, expected to debut next year.



"SPIL stands a chance of becoming the first packaging and testing service provider designated by Apple, cutting into the supply chain of the vendor's processor line, the sources said. SPIL has responded by denying the speculation."



Friday's report said the upcoming A6 is likely to be a quad-core design. Previous reports have indicated the chip will incorporate TSMC's 28-nanometer process and 3D stacking technology.



Just a few weeks ago, Apple was said to have begun trial production of its next-generation A6 processor. The ARM-based CPU is expected to go into mass production in the second quarter of 2012, likely for use in a third-generation iPad.







Trial production of the A6 is allegedly being handled by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company. Numerous reports have indicated that Apple is looking to move away from its rival Samsung, which has handled orders for the A4 processor found in the iPhone 4, and the A5 CPU used in the iPad 2.



Though Samsung was originally the exclusive provider of custom ARM-based chips to Apple, the company is now believed to be utilizing foundry services from TSMC. Samsung remains a major supplier of components to Apple, but the two companies are engaged in a bitter legal dispute where each has accused the other of patent infringement.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 54
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    You think we'll get 4 cores for both the CPU and GPU?
  • Reply 2 of 54
    hattighattig Posts: 858member
    Could you possibly use a larger photo of the previous generation chip to the one talked about in the story next time. I couldn't quite make out each individual atom in the one you posted.
  • Reply 3 of 54
    Quad-core CPU and perhaps a PowerVR SGX 6 series GPU to power a 2048x1536 Retina Display adequately.



    Oh and maybe some LTE love as well.



    The iPad 3. One tablet to rule them all.
  • Reply 4 of 54
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,251member
    This is getting very exciting. Imagine what Apple will be doing with chips in a few years... I can see Intel and AMD getting out of 'the unprofitable consumer market' soon and joining HP and IBM, specializing in only enterprise systems ...
  • Reply 5 of 54
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,251member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Hattig View Post


    Could you possibly use a larger photo of the previous generation chip to the one talked about in the story next time. I couldn't quite make out each individual atom in the one you posted.



    I just had deja vu ... didn't we have this exact comment last time they ran this pic?
  • Reply 6 of 54
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post


    This is getting very exciting. Imagine what Apple will be doing with chips in a few years... I can see Intel and AMD getting out of 'the unprofitable consumer market' soon and joining HP and IBM, specializing in only enterprise systems ...



    This is no laughing matter for Intel, much less AMD. Intel clearly missed the boat on the mobile revolution by not having chips that matched the power requirements of Apple when the iPhone debuted in 2007. The PC market continues to be a little to no growth business while mobile is exploding (Every iOS, Android, Win7Phone, & RIM device is an ARM licensee). Apple used to be a much smaller company than Intel, even when Apple changed to Intel chips for the Mac in early 2006. Now it's 2011 and it's Apple that is dictating terms to suppliers.



    When an Intel exec said they took seriously that threat that Apple might move some of its mobile Mac business to ARM processors, they weren't kidding. If Apple's custom ARM efforts come within earshot of Core i3/5/7 speeds at better power consumption and prices, I could see Apple making another processor move. They already have done in twice earlier in the life of the Mac. (68000->PPC & PPC->Intel).
  • Reply 7 of 54
    xsuxsu Posts: 401member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dagamer34 View Post


    Quad-core CPU and perhaps a PowerVR SGX 6 series GPU to power a 2048x1536 Retina Display adequately.



    Oh and maybe some LTE love as well.



    The iPad 3. One tablet to rule them all.





    Nah. iPad 4 would be the one to wait for.
  • Reply 8 of 54
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Sevenfeet View Post


    This is no laughing matter for Intel, much less AMD. Intel clearly missed the boat on the mobile revolution by not having chips that matched the power requirements of Apple when the iPhone debuted in 2007. The PC market continues to be a little to no growth business while mobile is exploding (Every iOS, Android, Win7Phone, & RIM device is an ARM licensee). Apple used to be a much smaller company than Intel, even when Apple changed to Intel chips for the Mac in early 2006. Now it's 2011 and it's Apple that is dictating terms to suppliers.



    When an Intel exec said they took seriously that threat that Apple might move some of its mobile Mac business to ARM processors, they weren't kidding. If Apple's custom ARM efforts come within earshot of Core i3/5/7 speeds at better power consumption and prices, I could see Apple making another processor move. They already have done in twice earlier in the life of the Mac. (68000->PPC & PPC->Intel).



    And now we have Intel taking a risky move that could hurt their standing with Apple. By that I mean those unibody chassis reference designs Intel is making for other vendors to endure their Core chips are in the future of notebooks, not ARM or AMD. Overall I think it's a smrt move but it's nt without some risks.
  • Reply 9 of 54
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post


    This is getting very exciting. Imagine what Apple will be doing with chips in a few years... I can see Intel and AMD getting out of 'the unprofitable consumer market' soon and joining HP and IBM, specializing in only enterprise systems ...



    I don't see Apple's ARM designs becoming industry leaders any time soon, if ever. ARM is widely licensed and well-understood. Apple licenses ARM not to be king of the hill, but in order to spec out a SoC that is tuned to run a given software stack well and within certain thermal constraints, at an acceptable cost over time. It's not greatly different from their strategy of paying-it-forward and making bulk purchases for other key components, but it does give them an ability to fine-tune what they are getting.
  • Reply 10 of 54
    If it's quad core presumably they are sticking with ARM Cortex A9. A quad core ARM Cortex A15 would be a monster.
  • Reply 11 of 54
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ltcommander.data View Post


    If it's quad core presumably they are sticking with ARM Cortex A9. A quad core ARM Cortex A15 would be a monster.



    Are the Cortez-A15s going to be ready for early 2012?
  • Reply 12 of 54
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post


    I just had deja vu ... didn't we have this exact comment last time they ran this pic?



    Yep.



    Not sure if it's the same person but that comment shows up at least once every time they use the graphic. Personally, I don't get it. We see similar sized pictures of the iPhone all day every day. If we then see a picture of the processor once every few months or so I don't get what the big deal is myself.



    I'm sure if you had one of these chips in your hand the first thing you would do it put it right up to your eyeball to see the details.
  • Reply 13 of 54
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    And now we have Intel taking a risky move that could hurt their standing with Apple. By that I mean those unibody chassis reference designs Intel is making for other vendors to endure their Core chips are in the future of notebooks, not ARM or AMD. Overall I think it's a smrt move but it's nt without some risks.



    I don't see the unibody reference designs as a threat. They aren't costed out correctly and the manufacturers aren't using them as is. Besides, a spec is just a spec.
  • Reply 14 of 54
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    And now we have Intel taking a risky move that could hurt their standing with Apple. By that I mean those unibody chassis reference designs Intel is making for other vendors to endure their Core chips are in the future of notebooks, not ARM or AMD. Overall I think it's a smrt move but it's nt without some risks.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    Are the Cortez-A15s going to be ready for early 2012?





    Ah... we wuve you Lion...
  • Reply 15 of 54
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 2,353member
    If the A6 is really quad core, then that must mean that Apple thinks they can make productive use of four cores. They wouldn't make it quad core just for marketing purposes.



    So if it really does end up being quad core I'll be very interested to see how Apple ends up making use of all those cores. There's no doubt that iMovie could make use of them. But beyond iMovie, what else would really use quad cores? Would it be useful for a lower power way to play back video? (that is, use all four cores to play back video, but run them at a much lower clock speed?)



    Of course, that's assuming we're talking about an iPad. How would four cores end up making sense in a phone? Or maybe Apple would split the line?



    Frankly it would not surprise me at all if Apple decides to keep the A6 dual core but with the ability to hit higher clock speeds.
  • Reply 16 of 54
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post


    I don't see the unibody reference designs as a threat. They aren't costed out correctly and the manufacturers aren't using them as is. Besides, a spec is just a spec.



    When your supplier is trying to give a leg up to your competitors by mimicking a design your competitos can't individually compete with there is a strong opportunity to burn some bridges.





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post


    Ah... we wuve you Lion...



    IPad autocorrect, actually. \
  • Reply 17 of 54
    bdkennedy1bdkennedy1 Posts: 1,459member
    Bye bye Intel.
  • Reply 18 of 54
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Blastdoor View Post


    If the A6 is really quad core, then that must mean that Apple thinks they can make productive use of four cores. They wouldn't make it quad core just for marketing purposes.



    So if it really does end up being quad core I'll be very interested to see how Apple ends up making use of all those cores. There's no doubt that iMovie could make use of them. But beyond iMovie, what else would really use quad cores? Would it be useful for a lower power way to play back video? (that is, use all four cores to play back video, but run them at a much lower clock speed?)



    Of course, that's assuming we're talking about an iPad. How would four cores end up making sense in a phone? Or maybe Apple would split the line?



    Frankly it would not surprise me at all if Apple decides to keep the A6 dual core but with the ability to hit higher clock speeds.



    Things I would hope to see:

    -- improved mirroring of video between the iPad and other iPads, iMacs and AppleTV

    -- use of the iPad as Personal TV, receiving streamed content from AppleTV or other CableCo STB (multiple concurrent streamed channels to multiple iPads)

    -- improved touch resolution/granularity supporting a stylus, the iPad as a graphic/cad tablet

    -- if not standalone FCPX, an FCPX client app to use the iPad as a multitouch control surface/display for FCPX running on a Mac
  • Reply 19 of 54
    SOT -- Somewhat Off Topic



    AAPL Market cap is higher than XOM.



    Wouldn't it be sweet if the day that Apple moved ahead, for good -- was Tim Cook's second day on the job...



    C'mon Tim -- what's taking you so long?
  • Reply 20 of 54
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 2,353member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post


    Things I would hope to see:

    -- improved mirroring of video between the iPad and other iPads, iMacs and AppleTV

    -- use of the iPad as Personal TV, receiving streamed content from AppleTV or other CableCo STB (multiple concurrent streamed channels to multiple iPads)

    -- improved touch resolution/granularity supporting a stylus, the iPad as a graphic/cad tablet

    -- if not standalone FCPX, an FCPX client app to use the iPad as a multitouch control surface/display for FCPX running on a Mac



    seems like none of those things require a quad core CPU (better GPU perhaps, but not a quad core CPU).



    One other thought occurred to me after my OP -- if Apple were to add high quality and pervasive voice recognition, that could certainly keep another core or two busy.
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