ARM CEO not impressed by Intel's 'Medfield' chips for smartphones, tablets

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014


The chief executive of ARM, which supplies the reference designs for Apple's custom chips found in the iPhone and iPad, has said he doesn't view Intel's newly unveiled smartphone and tablet chips as competitive.



ARM Holdings Chief Executive Warren East said in an interview with Reuters at the Consumer Electronics Show this week that Intel's latest Atom-based mobile chips are "good enough," but don't match up with ARM's reference designs.



"They (Intel) have taken some designs that were never meant for mobile phones and they've literally wrenched those designs and put them in a power-performance space which is roughly good enough for mobile phones," he said.



When it was developing the iPad, Apple originally utilized Intel's low-power Atom processor, but ultimately determined that the Atom wasn't efficient enough to run its touchscreen tablet. Instead, the company developed its own custom silicon in the form of the A4 processor, which is based on ARM's designs.



With most mobile devices now powered by ARM's low-power, low cost chips, Intel is attempting to muscle its way into a market where its presence has been limited, particularly compared to the traditional computing landscape it has dominated for years.



At CES, Intel unveiled its new Atom Z2460 "Medfield" platform designed for smartphones and tablets. Motorola Mobility and Lenovo also announced plans to build devices based on Intel's new Atom mobile processor.











As Intel looks to gain ground in the smartphone and tablet space, ARM is poised to chip away at Intel's control of the traditional computing market. That's because the next major version of Microsoft's operating system, Windows 8, will offer compatibility with machines powered by ARM-based processors.



There was even a rumor last May that Apple had secretly built a prototype MacBook Air powered by the same A5 processor found in the iPad 2 and iPhone 4S. It was said that Apple officials were impressed by the results, as the test machine performed "better than expected."

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 89
    In other news, The CEO of Ford is not impressed with GM's new offerings, Sony's CEO thinks Apple will have difficulties in the TV market, and Bryer's CEO has confirmed that Ben and Jerry's ice cream is not as sweet and wholesome as their own.
  • Reply 2 of 89
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    I have some doubts about their performance per Watt but they certainly have made some huge leaps.
  • Reply 3 of 89
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 1,889member
    The proof will be when we are able to compare contemporaneously shipping products from both companies. Right now there are no shipping products with Intel's new chip and Intel is making performance claims relative to ARM chips that are in currently shipping products. If we compared ARMs future products to Intel's currently shipping products ARM would look a lot better.



    We've seen this dance play out between Intel and AMD for years, and it's always the same -- you don't really know until you've got shipping versions of both products in front of you.
  • Reply 4 of 89
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 1,811member
    I eventually see Apple releasing a low end line of computers using ARM. Not everyone needs compatibility, especially casual users. The OS will be based off Mac OS X and will fall between Apple's current lines. I see a simple interface (a la iOS) where apps take up the entire screen ( a la Lion's full screen mode). There will be three models; a desktop (Mac mini like), an all-in-one, and a an Air like laptop. Each of these will be priced 200-300 cheaper than their Mac counterparts. Apps in the iOS App Store that are compatible with iPad's "retina" display will be able to run on these new computers.
  • Reply 5 of 89
    The problem really is that no-one wants Intel in this space, except Intel. The whole ARM eco-system is carefully balanced, with multiple players offering slightly different designs and options (Qualcomm, nVidia, Apple's own A5 etc), which means choice and variety and ultimately super-low cost chips.



    Intel isn't offering anything new - there really no incentive to switch and every reason to be deeply suspicious. Afterall, Intel have spent more than 10 years trying to get a decent GPU out of the door, and still haven't managed that!
  • Reply 6 of 89
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mjtomlin View Post


    I eventually see Apple releasing a low end line of computers using ARM. Not everyone needs compatibility, especially casual users. The OS will be based off Mac OS X and will fall between Apple's current lines. I see a simple interface (a la iOS) where apps take up the entire screen ( a la Lion's full screen mode). There will be three models; a desktop (Mac mini like), an all-in-one, and a an Air like laptop. Each of these will be priced 200-300 cheaper than their Mac counterparts. Apps in the iOS App Store that are compatible with iPad's "retina" display will be able to run on these new computers.



    Sounds like what you are describing is pretty much what the iPad is made for. If you're going to make a laptop that is not compatible with any of the apps available to traditional laptops, it needs to be something like the Transformer Prime or such. But seeing as how Apple is all about minimizing/eliminating complexity, I doubt we'd ever see something like that from them, especially with how well the iPad is selling.
  • Reply 7 of 89
    al_bundyal_bundy Posts: 1,525member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mjtomlin View Post


    I eventually see Apple releasing a low end line of computers using ARM. Not everyone needs compatibility, especially casual users. The OS will be based off Mac OS X and will fall between Apple's current lines. I see a simple interface (a la iOS) where apps take up the entire screen ( a la Lion's full screen mode). There will be three models; a desktop (Mac mini like), an all-in-one, and a an Air like laptop. Each of these will be priced 200-300 cheaper than their Mac counterparts. Apps in the iOS App Store that are compatible with iPad's "retina" display will be able to run on these new computers.



    this



    apple is going to go into the low cost computer market soon and it's going to be ARM and some sort of super iOS



    500,000 apps in the app store and a lot of them can be changed to run on a regular computer



    my guess is the next 3-5 years since ARM isn't there yet in terms of power. but soon apple will be able to make a laptop and still take home 30% margins at a $500 price level
  • Reply 8 of 89
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mjtomlin View Post


    I eventually see Apple releasing a low end line of computers using ARM. Not everyone needs compatibility, especially casual users. The OS will be based off Mac OS X and will fall between Apple's current lines. I see a simple interface (a la iOS) where apps take up the entire screen ( a la Lion's full screen mode). There will be three models; a desktop (Mac mini like), an all-in-one, and a an Air like laptop. Each of these will be priced 200-300 cheaper than their Mac counterparts. Apps in the iOS App Store that are compatible with iPad's "retina" display will be able to run on these new computers.



    seriously??? apple will never do something like that and u know why? because they already have the iPad that runs the IOS apps and it is almost the same size as the 11 inch AIR. and why would they add at least 10 new products to their MAC lineup to just run iPad apps?

    think more before u write.
  • Reply 9 of 89
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mjtomlin View Post


    I eventually see Apple releasing a low end line of computers using ARM. Not everyone needs compatibility, especially casual users. The OS will be based off Mac OS X and will fall between Apple's current lines. I see a simple interface (a la iOS) where apps take up the entire screen ( a la Lion's full screen mode). There will be three models; a desktop (Mac mini like), an all-in-one, and a an Air like laptop. Each of these will be priced 200-300 cheaper than their Mac counterparts. Apps in the iOS App Store that are compatible with iPad's "retina" display will be able to run on these new computers.



    Not a chance on the dumb down Mac with a simplified iOS UI. The ARM processors are evolving in the embedded world. Intel has a lot to concern itself about on two fronts: ARM and AMD. Apple is in a position to plug n' play both, along with Intel.
  • Reply 10 of 89
    z3r0z3r0 Posts: 229member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jmkaza View Post


    In other news, The CEO of Ford is not impressed with GM's new offerings, Sony's CEO thinks Apple will have difficulties in the TV market, and Bryer's CEO has confirmed that Ben and Jerry's ice cream is not as sweet and wholesome as their own.



    Wait! Wait! Lets not leave out the CEO/Chairman of Asus! I can't wait to hear his latest predictions on the computing market!



    Plus his keynote performances are quite impressive!



    Introducing the PadPhone!
  • Reply 11 of 89
    As others have pointed out, Intel's new chip is only competitive with last year's ARM chips. There is really no compelling reason for smartphone makers to switch. All Intel has achieved is to finally make a chip that's actually plausible to put in a smartphone.



    Now you know where I can see interesting possibilities for this chip? The MacBook Air. If the rumours of Apple testing an ARM Macbook Air are true, they're looking for a lower power/lower performance option. This chip (or its descendants) would be perfect since it avoids the whole MacOS X ARM App compatibility issue.
  • Reply 12 of 89
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Alireza View Post


    ?why would they add at least 10 new products to their MAC lineup to just run iPad apps?



    The implication is that OS X proper will move to ARM, not that any Mac will ever run any iOS apps.



    Quote:

    think more before u write.



    Perhaps think more before YOU write.
  • Reply 13 of 89
    r00fusr00fus Posts: 245member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Zoolook View Post


    The problem really is that no-one wants Intel in this space, except Intel. The whole ARM eco-system is carefully balanced, with multiple players offering slightly different designs and options (Qualcomm, nVidia, Apple's own A5 etc), which means choice and variety and ultimately super-low cost chips.



    Intel isn't offering anything new - there really no incentive to switch and every reason to be deeply suspicious. Afterall, Intel have spent more than 10 years trying to get a decent GPU out of the door, and still haven't managed that!



    You forget the software players, notably, Microsoft - who's quite comfortable with Intel. Of course, Microsoft has also spent 10+ years trying to get into the mobile space.



    This of course, dovetails very tightly with Windows 8 tablets and fending off Apple's recent incursion into the PC space with the iPad.
  • Reply 14 of 89
    al_bundyal_bundy Posts: 1,525member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Alireza View Post


    seriously??? apple will never do something like that and u know why? because they already have the iPad that runs the IOS apps and it is almost the same size as the 11 inch AIR. and why would they add at least 10 new products to their MAC lineup to just run iPad apps?

    think more before u write.





    at some point in the near future the supply of people willing to pay $2000 for a 15" laptop will run out and ARM CPU's are branching out. the A15 will be a desktop class CPU



    if you look at what 90% or more people do with a computer an A15 ARM based on will be more than enough. for the other 10% that code, do photoshop and play out their serial killer fantasies in games there will be intel
  • Reply 15 of 89
    tbelltbell Posts: 3,146member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bluefish86 View Post


    As others have pointed out, Intel's new chip is only competitive with last year's ARM chips. There is really no compelling reason for smartphone makers to switch.



    Sure there is. Cost. Intel will try to buy its way in by undercutting ARM in terms of cost. Intel hopes this will by it time to come up with a real contender (this is the approach Intel took when AMD was eating its lunch in terms of performance).
  • Reply 16 of 89
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member
    These would be of most use to Microsoft, as Windows 8 on the tablet could run all past Windows apps.
  • Reply 17 of 89
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    The implication is that OS X proper will move to ARM, not that any Mac will ever run any iOS apps.



    Yes, that would be a more likely scenario.



    The original release of Mac OS X was delayed substantially until its release in early 2001. There have been persistent rumors (never confirmed) that much of the delay was caused by Apple insisting that the code run on x86 architecture on secret Intel-based prototypes. When Apple announced their switch from PowerPC to x86 architecture in the middle of the last decade, they were able to make a relatively smooth transition to the Intel processors.



    Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard was described by Apple as a total under-the-hood rewrite of the operating system. It is possible that ARM support was included in a parallel source tree and that each major revision of the code much run on secret ARM-based Mac prototypes.



    Of course, we will never know for sure based on Apple's penchant for secrecy, but if Apple ever does release a Mac with an ARM processor, it will likely run OS X. At that point, it is likely that Apple will give developers to generate Universal binaries (Intel and ARM code combined) or to generate thin binaries that only support one architecture. With a few tweaks to the Mac App Store, it would probably be rather simple to deliver the correct thin binary to the target machine.
  • Reply 18 of 89
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bluefish86 View Post


    As others have pointed out, Intel's new chip is only competitive with last year's ARM chips. There is really no compelling reason for smartphone makers to switch. All Intel has achieved is to finally make a chip that's actually plausible to put in a smartphone.



    Now you know where I can see interesting possibilities for this chip? The MacBook Air. If the rumours of Apple testing an ARM Macbook Air are true, they're looking for a lower power/lower performance option. This chip (or its descendants) would be perfect since it avoids the whole MacOS X ARM App compatibility issue.



    Except the 2010 Air was low performance with medium battery life. People weren't complaining for more battery life in those laptops as much as more power in the Core i5/i7 line of chips. It's a nice idea, but to get the same performance in a much lower power envelope, I think it's going to be several years at least. And while it makes for a nice prototype, it's horrible business sense as I doubt think there's enough power in an ARM chip to go down the Rosetta path and emulate x86 on ARM. Microsoft didn't do that for a reason, the performance would be horrible.
  • Reply 19 of 89
    Intel is "the Microsoft of hardware": They kinda suck (especially on integrated graphics), but stay afloat because everyone and their mother is locked in.



    A bit of an overstatement, I admit, but you can see the analogy...
  • Reply 20 of 89
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by TBell View Post


    Sure there is. Cost. Intel will try to buy its way in by undercutting ARM in terms of cost. Intel hopes this will by it time to come up with a real contender (this is the approach Intel took when AMD was eating its lunch in terms of performance).



    Apple's cost to ARM is already absorbed. Samsung, TSMC and other giant fabs are far more advanced than Intel in this space. Their cost margins will not be knee capped by Intel. Intel doesn't have the capital to lose to attempt such a suicide mission.
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