Apple a Chip Company? Maybe...

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
Okay I understand that there are many G5 threads here. But I opened a new one to take a different approach to the situation. That is approach is this: Is Apple becoming a chip company?





Here is where I am coming from on this. A little while back Motorola abruptly changed it's roadmap for the G5. The G5 changed to 8500. Now Mot releases a revised roadmap and the G5 contains no Alti-Vec core. What is going on here?



Here is what's going on here: My guess is that Apple frustrated with the past performance history of Mot's G4's did not want to take a hit with fab issues on the G5 and get stuck with G5's at one speed for a year. So as we have heard in many rumors Apple has taken on a more involved role in developing the G5. Mot's stock has been in the tank as well as their business so I am sure that Mot has either sold or licensed the "core" of the PowerPC G5 to Apple, my guess being licensed. Apple has taken that core and developed further on it along with the big boy's help...IBM. Together Apple & IBM have designed the G5 that will ge used in desktops. Motorola is clearly targeting their G5 for the embedded market only through their recent roadmap. There is no reason to keep AltiVec off of the G5 roadmap, unless there isn't any reason for it to be there. Now Apple moves to G4's along the consumer line which keeps Motorola happy but that means no more G3's....well with IBM's involvement in the G5 that keeps IBM happy.



So let's take a look at the situation at hand. On one hand we have Motorola execs saying that the Apollo is set to ship first Quarter 2002. Well that cannot be good for the G5 hopes. It's a smokescreen of sorts. What Motorola is saying is indeed the truth, the G5 is being developed by Apple & IBM not Mot so my guess is the Apollo G4 will make it's way into the consumer machines. And if any of you remember a story on MOSR a while back saying that the low power and low heat of the Apollo G4 is intended for the consumer machines and the Powerbook, not pro desktops.



My predictions?



iMac G4

Powermac G5

@ MWSF.



Any thoghts? Lets discuss.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 43
    marcukmarcuk Posts: 4,442member
    I think you have some valid plausible points. Although I think if apple designed G5 insted of moto we might be waiting a bit longer for it than necessary,



    I also remember that someone has said that newer generation moto chips may inherit features from previous generations that don't necessarily appear on the roadmap once they're standard issue.



    BTW, what might apple do with the G5 if moto suddenly announced a breakthrough technology for their chips that Apple couldn't match. What a waste of Apple money if that happened. And I think moto are in reality likely to develop technology more than Apple.



    I also believe that there is no reason why Apollo can't be used in desktops, if G5 is not available, after all Apollo = G4+SOI+256bit bus more or less, so the performance increase would be +/- linear to the increase in clockspeed, which we believe is about 1.33ghz, or about 30% better than 867.





    Of course, everything you have said is quite a possibility
  • Reply 2 of 43
    bodhibodhi Posts: 1,424member
    Of course the Apollo could be used in desktops, but I do not think that is Apple's intention. I really believe that if the Apollo is in desktops at MWSF Jobs did not want them there but it was a last resort.



    As far as technological concerns, IBM has it all over Motorola. The G3 Sahara is only a 5 stage Pipeline processor but runs at up to 1 GHz. Mot had to increase the G4 to 7 stages to get it above 533MHz.



    From IBM.com:

    [quote]IBM was the first to introduce copper chip technology in 1997, first to introduce silicon-on-insulator (SOI) technology -- another IBM materials breakthrough -- in 1998 and first to integrate both copper and SOI into its products in 2000. In 2000, IBM also introduced a new method to insulate chip wiring - low-k dielectric - which can deliver up to a 30 percent boost in computing speed and performance. Now, in 2001, IBM is demonstrating the capability to combine all of these technological breakthroughs into a single high-performance process, as illustrated on the 750FX.<hr></blockquote>
  • Reply 3 of 43
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 17,077member
    This is quite plausible. We seems to have forgotten about Big Blue.
  • Reply 4 of 43
    daverdaver Posts: 496member
    Interesting theory, Bodhi. It certainly would explain the lack of news from Moto on the (desktop) G5 front.



    [ 12-06-2001: Message edited by: Daver ]</p>
  • Reply 5 of 43
    blablablabla Posts: 185member
    Not a fair comparison. IBM was not able to clock the old G3 higher than 600 Mhz. Not much more than 533 Mhz or so for the old (Motorola) G4 design.



    Non-SOI 0.18 740cx: 600Mhz/4 stages = 150 Mhz/stage

    Non-SOI 0.18 7450 : 866/7 stages = 123 Mhz /stage



    SOI, low-K 0.13 740fx: 1 Ghz.. 200 Mhz/stage

    Im sure Motorola would be able to clock a G4 up to 1.3 Ghz using the same tricks. ( SOI, 0.13micron, Low-K Dielectric )



    And btw.. The G3 ship is now over 4 years old. About time it disappeared from the desktop. Im sorry to tell you: But the G3 is old news.



    IBM is no better than Motorola.
  • Reply 6 of 43
    In June there was some coverage at The Register to the effect that Apple had an option to buy rights to the Motorola chip manufacturing for $500 Million.



    Some interesting quotes from the article:

    [quote]Apple is set to wrest control of the PowerPC platform away from long-time partner Motorola through a clause in its agreement with the chip maker that allows it to buy Motorola's PowerPC assets for $500 million next year.

    Accelerating PowerPC up to 1GHz is the job of Apollo, which the email confirms as the PowerPC 7460. Interestingly, the Apple source suggests this will be the chip that brings G4 technology to the iMac and iBook rather than Apple's pro boxes.

    The source claims the 7460 will be released alongside the G4's successor, the G5, codenamed Goldfish, the chip that will take the Power Mac family above 1GHz. Of the G5, the source claims it will tape out this coming autumn and go into production ramping through Q4 2001 in time for "systems [to be] ready for release at the January Macworld show".<hr></blockquote>



    The Link:

    <a href="http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/archive/20038.html"; target="_blank">http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/archive/20038.html</a>;
  • Reply 7 of 43
    emaneman Posts: 7,204member
    I've never really thought about that, Bodhi. You made some good and interesting points.
  • Reply 8 of 43
    matsumatsu Posts: 6,558member
    If Apple really does have the option to buy Mot's PPC business for 500 million, I think they ought to. It's clear that mot's interests in PPC are primarily for markets other than PC's.



    On the other hand, if Apple gained control of the PPC, that'd probably be the final nail in the coffin of the Mac upgraders.



    Anyone care to dredge up old PPC alliance news to see if there was any mention of this buy out clause way back when?
  • Reply 9 of 43
    bogiebogie Posts: 407member
    It is my understanding that according to the AIM pact Apple has the right to buy out Motorola's ownership in PowerPC come midnight, January 1st, 2002, for $100 million dollars, a fixed price.



    If they did this it would be a whole new ball game.
  • Reply 10 of 43
    [quote]Originally posted by Bogie:

    <strong>It is my understanding that according to the AIM pact Apple has the right to buy out Motorola's ownership in PowerPC come midnight, January 1st, 2002, for $100 million dollars, a fixed price. </strong><hr></blockquote>



    Bogie, can you give any insight as to how you came to this understanding? Post a link? I do agree that it would be a new ballgame.



    Game, Set, Match
  • Reply 11 of 43
    slackerslacker Posts: 127member
    Well I can't believe it would only be $100 million, but if that's it then Apple would be foolish not to buy.
  • Reply 12 of 43
    fuel to the fire



    <a href="http://www.eweek.com/article/0,3658,s%3D700%26a%3D19537,00.asp&quot; target="_blank">E-week article</a>



    very interesting comments on the changes within the G4 line as compared to the p2 and p3 lines.
  • Reply 13 of 43
    amorphamorph Posts: 7,112member
    I don't know why Apple would be so keen to do this. Motorola is very good at designing both elegant, low-power chips and DSPs. The more Apple moves toward portable and compact multimedia computers, the more important Motorola's processor design skills become. That's apart from its long familiarity with the design: The PowerPC was based in no small part on Motorola's 68K line of processors. As for Mot's fabrication tech, they appear to be doing well again, and now they're outsourcing what they can't do well to other foundries.



    Besides, Apple does not want to rely solely on IBM. IBM still has an agenda (and a corporate culture) which (to understate) does not dovetail well with Apple's, and it's big enough to ignore Apple altogether. It's the most expensive chip foundry in the world, and it only sells manufacturing capacity left over after it has served its largest customer: IBM.
  • Reply 14 of 43
    bodhibodhi Posts: 1,424member
    [quote]Originally posted by blabla:

    <strong>Not a fair comparison. IBM was not able to clock the old G3 higher than 600 Mhz. Not much more than 533 Mhz or so for the old (Motorola) G4 design.



    Non-SOI 0.18 740cx: 600Mhz/4 stages = 150 Mhz/stage

    Non-SOI 0.18 7450 : 866/7 stages = 123 Mhz /stage



    SOI, low-K 0.13 740fx: 1 Ghz.. 200 Mhz/stage

    Im sure Motorola would be able to clock a G4 up to 1.3 Ghz using the same tricks. ( SOI, 0.13micron, Low-K Dielectric )



    And btw.. The G3 ship is now over 4 years old. About time it disappeared from the desktop. Im sorry to tell you: But the G3 is old news.



    IBM is no better than Motorola.</strong><hr></blockquote>



    The IBM G3 has scaled much better than the G4's. The Sahara runs at up to 1 GHz with a 5 stage pipeline.



    Apple has a lot to gain from getting more involved in the development. Sure they are licensing the core (supposedly) from Mot but they are developing a lot of themselves with IBM which means they gain a larger profit margin on the chip which lowers the cost of the chips.



    Mot is a great company but when it comes to technological advancements IBM is far superior. The Apollo is still on a 0.18 process.
  • Reply 15 of 43
    bodhibodhi Posts: 1,424member
    [quote]Originally posted by Amorph:

    <strong>I don't know why Apple would be so keen to do this. Motorola is very good at designing both elegant, low-power chips and DSPs. The more Apple moves toward portable and compact multimedia computers, the more important Motorola's processor design skills become. That's apart from its long familiarity with the design: The PowerPC was based in no small part on Motorola's 68K line of processors. As for Mot's fabrication tech, they appear to be doing well again, and now they're outsourcing what they can't do well to other foundries.



    Besides, Apple does not want to rely solely on IBM. IBM still has an agenda (and a corporate culture) which (to understate) does not dovetail well with Apple's, and it's big enough to ignore Apple altogether. It's the most expensive chip foundry in the world, and it only sells manufacturing capacity left over after it has served its largest customer: IBM.</strong><hr></blockquote>





    You have to realize Apple's and it's customers frustrations with Motorola. Apple even had to lay blame on Mot during an earnings call. In other earnings call's they even had to mention that they may not be able to hit the targets if their microprocessor suppliers could not increase speed as needed. Apple may have the MHz myth all played out well and all but they are a computer company and as sad as it may seem MHz still matters. I am sure Apple is really sick of this. Plus Motorola is bleeding money right now and by taking on this technology and development Apple is protecting itself from having such a close tie with one manufacturer of processors. That was the problem with the 500MHz debacle. Too reliant on one company can hurt you. You get more hands in the pot you cover your ass better. Who knows where Mot's chip business will be two years from now. Analysts are screaming for them to sell it off and after a while with enough shareholder and wall street pressure companies will cave and do it. Apple does not want to be caught with it's ass in the wind. If this is indeed happening or something like it then kudo's to Jobs, honestly. This may be just the thing that puts Apple in the most secure postion for the future than they have been in a LONG time.



    [ 12-06-2001: Message edited by: Bodhi ]</p>
  • Reply 16 of 43
    kidredkidred Posts: 2,402member
    [quote]Originally posted by Mike D:

    <strong>fuel to the fire



    <a href="http://www.eweek.com/article/0,3658,s%3D700%26a%3D19537,00.asp&quot; target="_blank">E-week article</a>



    very interesting comments on the changes within the G4 line as compared to the p2 and p3 lines.</strong><hr></blockquote>





    WOW, very interesting indeed. So now it's really starting to look good as this info is coming from someone other than the "mole".



    Plus, applenut said he heard G5's at MWSF and I'm starting to have hope again.
  • Reply 17 of 43
    kidredkidred Posts: 2,402member
    Oh, on topic IBM does already have a chip by the name or model of "G5"- it's a server class chip.



    I thought that was interesting.
  • Reply 18 of 43
    rickagrickag Posts: 1,626member
    Seems like everyone is talking like the Sahara is a shipping product. I didn't think the Sahara chip was shipping and wouldn't be shipping at least until the 1st quarter of next year??



    If by some miracle the G4 MPC 7460 is manufactured using HiP7(0.13µ + SOI) and is shipping the 1st quarter of next year it should run at what, 1.3 -1.4 GHz.



    Maybe it's just an example of IBM more willing/able to announce chips that aren't shipping???? and not worried about pissing off Steve J.???
  • Reply 19 of 43
    amorphamorph Posts: 7,112member
    Bodhi wrote:



    [quote]You have to realize Apple's and it's customers frustrations with Motorola. Apple even had to lay blame on Mot during an earnings call.<hr></blockquote>



    You don't have to remind me of the 500MHz debacle. I remember it just as vividly as anyone else does. And I remember that it came at the worst possible time, too.



    But if you're laying blame, there's <a href="http://www.texnews.com/biz97/mac091297.html"; target="_blank">plenty to go around</a>. The PowerPC was originally meant to be the heart of an open platform, and the AIM alliance was organized around that principle. IBM and Motorola both lost a great deal of incentive to continue the alliance when Jobs killed the clones and mooted CHRP. Yes, it was good for Apple. No, it was not good for AIM.



    All that's neither here nor there at this point. AIM survived Apple's abrupt change of course, and Mot survived the MPC7400. Since the 7410, their chips have been delivered on time, and they've scaled well, and with help from IBM and AMD (and lately, offshore foundries), Mot has been relatively quick to adapt them to better and better process tech.



    [quote]Plus Motorola is bleeding money right now and by taking on this technology and development Apple is protecting itself from having such a close tie with one manufacturer of processors.<hr></blockquote>





    But the solution to the problem of being too closely tied to one processor supplier isn't solved by partnering entirely with one processor supplier (IBM). If anything, Apple should be courting AMD to get one more company in, rather than trying to buy Motorola out.



    [quote]Who knows where Mot's chip business will be two years from now. Analysts are screaming for them to sell it off and after a while with enough shareholder and wall street pressure companies will cave and do it.<hr></blockquote>



    Analysts scream all kinds of silly things. Look at their coverage of AAPL. Mot Semiconductor is on probation right now, but they're also delivering right now, and securing contracts with major clients like Cisco. In the worst case Apple could buy Mot's PPC-related patents and rights, and hire away any PPC designers that didn't defect to AMD or Intel; but that's the worst case. Right now Mot has the designers and some good process tech, IBM has excellent process tech, and Apple has the platform. I don't see anything wrong with that.



    If the rumblings about a G5 shipping at MWSF pan out, I expect the grumbling about Mot to cease abruptly. Time will tell.



    [quote]This may be just the thing that puts Apple in the most secure postion for the future than they have been in a LONG time.<hr></blockquote>



    Possibly. Although I cannot emphasize enough that Apple and IBM are still oil and water. IBM lost its main reason to contribute to the PowerPC when CHRP died, and there's been nothing to replace that yet.



    [ 12-06-2001: Message edited by: Amorph ]</p>
  • Reply 20 of 43
    bogiebogie Posts: 407member
    I would actually love to elaborate on my info source ... but I can't find it, feel free to take it with a great grain of salt since I am talking from memory, the money is most likely way off but I do believe I got the date right and that it is a fixed price. If I do run across it I will post it, otherwise anyone else who has read about this please chime in even if you have a link that says I am way off, at least that way we will know what we are talking about.
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