After its disastrous Exynos 5 Octa, Samsung may have lost Apple's A7 contract to TSMC



  • Reply 61 of 391
    Not that I need to know any of this technical stuff, but it actually is fun to read about it, the way DED writes it. Apart from admiring D's deep knowledge and analytical skills, it makes me respect and admire Apple even more. It seems design is more than chamfered edges and pretty icons.
  • Reply 62 of 391

    Originally Posted by tundraboy View Post



    Of course it's Cook, the most underrated CEO in the world.  Cook is no Jobs, nobody is, but after working side by side with Cook for several years, you think Jobs would have picked him to takeover as Apple CEO if he were anything but top class?

    Jobs repeatedly compared Apple to the Beatles, its value is greater than the sum of its parts. I personally don't think Cook has the technical expertise for the technology, but I think he's wise enough to get out of Mansfield's way. Apple has a great pool of talented VPs, I think Cook recognizes that

  • Reply 63 of 391
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    galbi wrote: »
    64 Bit with only 1-2GB of RAM?

    That is like blowing a 10 gallon air compressor through a straw!
    Apple what the heck do you think you are doing?

    That is nothing more than marketing ploy to get people reinterested in the smartphone as we are already seeing saturation in the market place.

    No, it's not. There are significant advantages to a 64 bit processor, even if it only has 1-2 GB of RAM. Read up on one of the technical articles on the subject.
  • Reply 64 of 391
    Absolutely superb piece of investigative journalism. Mr. Dilger, you continue to set the bar high.
  • Reply 65 of 391

    Originally Posted by UrbanVoyeur View Post

    This article is full of useful information and good reporting BUT you badly need and editor.


    Pot, meet Kettle.


    Brilliant.  Just brilliant.

  • Reply 66 of 391

    Originally Posted by tundraboy View Post



    Amazing piece of misdirection by Apple.  Fooled not only the whole banalyst community but their own first tier component suppliers.


    I could not agree more.  And, like any wily member of the community practicing proper spycraft, Apple will now know the exact source of any leaks. Bravo on Apple for keeping this ploy under wraps and not trumpeting brazenly in the press.  Apple is combating industrial espionage, and doing a damn fine job at that.

  • Reply 67 of 391
    Samsung copying ARM's bigLittle reference design isn't innovation. Apple engineered not only the micro-architecture of their new A7, but created the new M7 which probably contains its own processor. Not to mention the all the other coprocessors.

    Funny thing is, is that Apple is a cofounder of ARM...
  • Reply 68 of 391
    lstream wrote: »
    Samsung was simply blindsided by the 64-bit A7. How it could be so left in the dark while spending months gearing up manufacturing of Apple's A7 is an opaque mystery unless Samsung wasn't ever involved in building it in the first place.

    Isn't there an alternative explanation? That Samsung could not reveal that they knew about the 64 bit processor in advance? They likely promise Apple a firewall between components manufacturing and the rest of the business. So if they indeed knew, they had three choices:

    1. Mention 64 bit before Apple announced. That announcement coming out of the blue with no context would make no sense. It would put a big red flag in front of Apple and tell the rest of its customers that the firewall is a sham. There is a difference between suspecting a sham, and knowing it. The only reason to say anything pre-5S launch would be to tell the world it knew what processor was coming in the 5S. Bad idea with no upside.

    2. As played. Make their 64 bit lame announcement once the A7 was revealed. Sure it makes them look flat footed, but alternative 1 would do the same, with the added downside of adding to their unethical image. So now they are not content to copy and ship. They must pre-announce their intent to copy as part of their road map strategy.

    3. Shut up until they can ship. This one doesn't seem to be in the vocabulary of the grand copier.

    So regarding this one data point, is it not just as plausible that they knew about the A7 because they were building it, but were forced to keep quiet? After all, this is not the most sophisticated company in the world when it comes to the media.

    Interesting question...

    I hope it is true that someone other than Sammy makes the A7 -- and that Apple was able to pull this off under Sammy's nose -- kind of a poetic justice.

    I do not know how much Sammy, as the foundry, needs to know about the Apple An chip internals -- whether it is necessary for setup, manufacturing, testing and QA...

    But, it appears that internals of the A6 [when the iPhone 5 was released] were a surprise -- especially the 3 GPUs.

    Is it possible that Apple deceived Sammy that the A6s that Sammy is building were a newer/faster incremental A6 upgrade that would serve both the the 5S (6AX) and 5C (6A) [underclocked and otherwise crippled *] -- While, at the same time, secretly taking the "big iron" A7 to TSMC??? After all, the 5S was supposed to be an iterative update...

    If this is what happened, props to TC and TSMC... And, I wouldn't want to sit at a poker table facing Tim Cook

    * when I was involved in semiconductor chip manufacturing, years ago (1963) -- they would target manufacturing at a latest-tech, high-priced product. Often, many chips would fail to meet specs when tested -- leading to low yields and high-prices. But, the chips that failed tests weren't discarded -- they were retested at a lower spec. Often, many chips would pass these tests -- resulting in acceptable, lower-tech chips at a lower price and higher yield. In the Apple world this would be:
    1. Targeting a build for A7X chips for the iPad, AppleTV, etc.
    2. Testing against the A7X spec
    3. Retesting rejects against the lower A7 spec.
  • Reply 69 of 391
    Originally Posted by Jack Zahran View Post

    Funny thing is, is that Apple is a cofounder of ARM...

    They've also been on the Blu-ray board since its creation.

  • Reply 70 of 391
    asciiascii Posts: 5,936member

    The best thing about the A7 from my perspective is that is shows Apple is still trying to push technology forward. They say SJ used to ask the impossible, but TC is also forcing his staff to go right to the limits of what can be done. Take the best that scientists and engineers can do and make real products out of it. The New Mac Pro and iPhone 5S are great examples of this.

  • Reply 71 of 391
    dasanman69 wrote: »
    janbanan wrote: »
    Take note, tech "journalists". This is how you do tech journalism! The info is out there (google is your friend) once you are able to see behind the bullshit. It seems Daniel is one of the few people out there with the intellectual capacity and the guts to add the pieces of the puzzle, draw the logical conclusions and spell it out for the rest of us. Another brilliant analysis and piece of investigative journalism - bravo! I'm surprised nobody else commented on the poorly worded panicked statement from Samsung re 64-bit processors and rather jumped on the "phones don't need to address more than 4 GB memory" bandwagon (possibly a result of some quick-thinking Samsung PR people in the first place).

    Apple has done it again - a 32 to 64-bit transition literally overnight - seemingly effortless for developers and consumers alike. Forcing the whole industry forward when the rest were trotting down a blind alley at their own pace - this is true innovation!

    It's not really overnight because there are very few apps that will take advantage of the processor. It's a move that future proofs the 5s so it'll will be relevant in 2 years time when all the iPhones that Apple sells will have a 64 bit processor, and that's the genius part of it.

    "very few apps that will take advantage of the processor"

    The apps that count will!

    And let's not forget the A7X variants for the next iPads and next AppleTV. In one move, Apple can:
    • differentiate itself from the competition in tablets
    • become a major player in the console game market with AppleTV
    • become the leader in a 4K capable AppleTV
    • create a new market in "personal TV" -- The AppleTV concurrently streams the same (or different) live or recorded videos to multiple iPads *

    * Imagine the possibilities:  in the home;  in the meeting room;  in the board room;  in the classroom;  in the operating room;  on set (movie and broadcast/cable TV)
  • Reply 72 of 391
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

    Check out Google Trend's mapping of interest in ARMv8 (below). It's been talked about over the last year, but typically in the context of servers, not mobile devices.

    What server OS runs on ARM? Just curious.

  • Reply 73 of 391
    This needs to have "[Editorial]" before the headline.
  • Reply 74 of 391
    mstone wrote: »
    Check out Google Trend's mapping of interest in ARMv8 (below). It's been talked about over the last year, but typically in the context of servers, not mobile devices.
    What server OS runs on ARM? Just curious.

    OS X.
  • Reply 75 of 391
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,385member

    Originally Posted by bottleworks View Post

    This needs to have "[Editorial]" before the headline.


    The blue EDITORIAL badge before the headline didn't tip you off?


    The pathetic thing is that investors, the media, etc can't see past their own shadow, and don't appreciate the implications of all these large chess pieces that Apple is moving, confidently and methodically, to prepare themselves for the future. 

  • Reply 76 of 391
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

    Originally Posted by mstone View Post

    What server OS runs on ARM? Just curious.

    OS X.


    LOL, probably, but I just did some Googling and it turns out that in June 2013 at Red Hat convention in Boston, Fedora demoed the first full Linux distribution running on ARMv8. The article did not elaborate if it was SoC but I assume so.


    The concept is still confusing as to updating the software. As we do it now we just copy some files into a directory but with SoC you have to flash the entire image and reboot don't you? Not exactly ideal for servers. I have servers that have been running 24/7 for  years without a reboot while we have upgraded various core server applications such as php, mysql, apache,etc, not the kernel though.

  • Reply 77 of 391
    Originally Posted by ascii View Post


    Another thing that allowed Apple to surprise everyone with 64-bit is OS X. It shares a core codebase with iOS, so they were able to test all their 64-bit code in the wild for years with no-one suspecting anything.


    Very good point.  For sure Apple has been testing 64 bit for years, just like they were testing Intel chips for a decade before switching in the Mac.  It is the little things that make it possible to make a switch from 32 bit to 64 bit.  Often times we castigate Microsoft as being incompetent for its inability to pull of transitions that Apple makes look so easy.  In reality, Microsoft and Samsung aren't as stupid and incompetent as they appear.  They just don't have a culture of vision, planning, and attention to details that Apple has.

  • Reply 78 of 391
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

    While Apple has been putting a lot of effort into its new luxury tier products, from the Retina Display MacBook Pros to its new Mac Pro, those products have relatively limited sales volume potential. 



    I never thought of the Mac Pro as a luxury product. It's not a aberration like the TAM. The Mac Pro is for applications that needs lots of cores, like running Cinema 4D ray tracing. For a creative business that needs it, the Mac Pro will pay for itself.


    Luxury is defined by individual need: if you need it, it's essential. If you don't need it, it's a luxury. I contend that the market for the Mac Pro is those professionals who need it. It is therefore not a luxury item for its intended market. Doesn't mean some people won't buy one and let the 12 cores go to waste, just for the privilege of having an "1337" computer.



    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

    Outside of backwards land, the Exynos 5 Octa was such an expensive failure that Samsung couldn't handle eating its own dog food within the most competitive market of Apple's home continent. It's not just big and inefficient, but appears to represent a dead end direction in mobile technology. 

    This reality is particularly clear from two announcements Samsung recently made; the first was just prior to Apple's event, where the Korean giant floated news that it had developed a way to activate all 8 of its Exynos 5 cores at once, broadly interpreted as an attempt to distract from Apple's own announcements.

    Secondly, there was Samsung's immediate reaction to Apple's A7 unveiling, where its co-CEO jumped to assure the media that it too is working on a 64-bit chip and will have one in its next smartphone at some future date, without really explaining why, apart from the obvious reason.

    "Not in the shortest time," Samsung's co-CEO Shin Jong-kyun said, "but yes, our next smartphones will have 64-bit processing functionality."

    Incredibly, this announcement garnered none of the frothy "64-bit is a hoax!" reactions from the media. When Samsung promises vaporware, it's serious stuff. When Apple delivers technology, pay no never mind! It's witchcraft after your soul! Run for the hills and hide in caves. Trust us, we have media credentials and have interviewed an expert.


    These are all good points about the Exynos 5 Octa. It's neither mainstream today, nor the "right bet" on future direction of mobile processors. Activating all 8 cores sounds like the same act of desperation that a company caught cheating on clock speed to win mobile benchmarks would do. Funny how Anandtech and Ars Technica gave Samsung way too much benefit of the doubt on clockgate. They love Samsung.


    Yes, it sounds like Shin is reacting to Apple, rather than stating some plan Samsung had all along for its next product. At least they have a clear target for next-gen mobile processors now: make 64-bit like A7. The Octa is a dead-end, like the Intel Itanium. I expect other ARM licensees to follow Samsung's lead in copying Apple. Steve Ballmer of 2007 would've guffawed at Apple's 64-bit mobile CPU announcement, and spend 3 years catching up to where his company could hold a mock funeral for the A7A10.



    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

    Samsung was simply blindsided by the 64-bit A7. How it could be so left in the dark while spending months gearing up manufacturing of Apple's A7 is an opaque mystery unless Samsung wasn't ever involved in building it in the first place.

    It could very well be that at some point between April and September, Apple rushed its A7 into production at Samsung, and that Apple managed to erect a firewall between its own A7 fabrication at Samsung's System LSI and the rest of Samsung's System LSI and Samsung Electronics' co-CEOs that worked better than the firewall between System LSI and the group that cloned the iPhone 3GS from Apple's blueprints.

    But that doesn't seem very plausible.


    I agree that it's not plausible. Chaebol family ties are stronger than any firewall. And Apple would not be following due diligence if it ignored that.

  • Reply 79 of 391
    One of the things that frustrates me about Dilger's writing is that he clearly spends a huge amount of time writing all-purpose notes about Apple. And then whenever there's a small point to be made, he copies huge SWATHES of these notes and ends up with having an ENORMOUS article. You have to pick through carefully to find the pertinent material. I've long since learned that there's not much to be gained. AI, please make it so I can tell who's written each story, so that I don't have to click these Dilger links.
  • Reply 80 of 391
    Originally Posted by jungmark View Post

    It's all about laying the groundwork for future products.


    I think that has to be right.


    I don't think the A7 story has played out yet: the 64-bit architecture seems unnecessary for a phone (just as 4 cores do), just make the 32-bit cores go faster (as Apple did in A6). The 64-bit architecture brings more than removing the 4GB barrier bur doesn't seem to earn its keep (in a balanced, energy-efficient design). It brings heavy-weight compute that the new image-processing functions in the camera might exploit but surely that's not enough to justify it.


    However, Apple does not do specs for their own sake so there's a reason somewhere. How about the free iWork apps being the consumers of the performance, providing content-creation so iWork online (in Internet Explorer) can compete with MS Office? So perhaps the coming new iPads will be the major beneficiaries of A7's power. That would be exciting.

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