Apple considering Intel chip for future iPhone

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Apple may eventually abandon its custom-designed Samsung system on chip (SoC) found at the heart of the iPhone for one developed by Intel, according to a new report.



Citing OEM channel sources, DigiTimes claims that Apple has been looking closely at Intel's Moorestown mobile Internet device (MID) platform processor introduced at the Intel Developer Forum last month.



Although not expected until 2009, Moorestown chips will be based on Intel's 45-nanometer manufacturing process and therefore promise to be ten times more power-efficent than today's embedded mobile chips, enabling longer battery life in smaller form factors.



Similar to the Samsung SoC that Apple uses in its existing iPhone design, Moorestown will combine the CPU, graphics, video and memory controller onto a single chip. Based on Intel's "Menlow" MID design due out a year earlier, it will also incorporate wireless technologies such as Wi-Fi, 3G and WiMAX.



Some Taiwanese channel vendors believe if Apple adopts the new Intel platform in its iPhone, it will reposition the MID market place and influence the future designs of not only mobile handsets, but also notebook systems.



For Apple, a move to the Intel architecture and away from the ARM-based Samsung chips would also present the opportunity for the Cupertino-based company to narrow the gap in the software code base of its handheld products -- like the iPhone and iPod touch -- with that of its Mac personal computer line.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 38
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 32,994member
    I hope the doesn't mean that we will have to wait until 2009 sometime to see official support for third party programs on the iPhone.
  • Reply 2 of 38
    bearbear Posts: 27member
    One advantage Apple has with supporting OS X on more than one processor family* is that it will make some bugs more obvious and therefore make for cleaner code.



    On the other hand, going with one processor family has a lower cost for coding and general maintenance. As long as Apple is supporting both Intel and PowerPC for OS X, they are getting the benefit that multiple families provides.



    As for using an Intel chip in the iPhone, it does sound like a good idea with one exception. Writing viruses and such for OS X means targeting one of the processor families. Having everything using the same processor family makes OS X more of a target for the jerks who writes viruses.



    *In this case processor family means processors using the same instruction set. i.e. PowerPC G5/G4/G3/...
  • Reply 3 of 38
    rot'napplerot'napple Posts: 1,839member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    I hope the doesn't mean that we will have to wait until 2009 sometime to see official support for third party programs on the iPhone.



    If Apple's computers can support PowerPC then move to Intel while still supporting PowerPC during and after the transition, I thnk they won't want to leave several million first gen and possibly second gen users in the lurch, if whenever, they come out with an SDK and 3rd party apps.



    They have enough iPhone lawsuits to deal with without incurring more.
  • Reply 4 of 38
    bearbear Posts: 27member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    I hope the doesn't mean that we will have to wait until 2009 sometime to see official support for third party programs on the iPhone.



    I suspect the processor won't be the gating factor. When Apple releases the developer tools, I suspect it will handle code for more than processor type when needed much as the OS X developer tools currently handle both PowerPC and Intel.



    On the other hand, who knows how long before Apple will have the alleged iPhone developer tools ready anyway.
  • Reply 5 of 38
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 32,994member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Bear View Post


    One advantage Apple has with supporting OS X on more than one processor family* is that it will make some bugs more obvious and therefore make for cleaner code.



    On the other hand, going with one processor family has a lower cost for coding and general maintenance. As long as Apple is supporting both Intel and PowerPC for OS X, they are getting the benefit that multiple families provides.



    As for using an Intel chip in the iPhone, it does sound like a good idea with one exception. Writing viruses and such for OS X means targeting one of the processor families. Having everything using the same processor family makes OS X more of a target for the jerks who writes viruses.



    *In this case processor family means processors using the same instruction set. i.e. PowerPC G5/G4/G3/...



    Virii have nothing to do with the processor family. This is humbug. Macs aren't more vulnerable because they now use x86.
  • Reply 6 of 38
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 32,994member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Rot'nApple View Post


    If Apple's computers can support PowerPC then move to Intel while still supporting PowerPC during and after the transition, I thnk they won't want to leave several million first gen and possibly second gen users in the lurch, if whenever, they come out with an SDK and 3rd party apps.



    They have enough iPhone lawsuits to deal with without incurring more.



    This IS Apple yopu're talking about, right?



    The same company that said to buy a new iPhone if your old one is bricked?
  • Reply 7 of 38
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 32,994member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Bear View Post


    I suspect the processor won't be the gating factor. When Apple releases the developer tools, I suspect it will handle code for more than processor type when needed much as the OS X developer tools currently handle both PowerPC and Intel.



    On the other hand, who knows how long before Apple will have the alleged iPhone developer tools ready anyway.



    I was sort of a joke. But, you can never tell.



    I'm still hoping we will see something by the end of the year.
  • Reply 8 of 38
    bearbear Posts: 27member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    Virii have nothing to do with the processor family. This is humbug. Macs aren't more vulnerable because they now use x86.



    I never said x86 made them more vunerable. What I said is that the more x86 processors running OS X, the bigger a target that combination becomes for virus writers.



    Therefore having both Macs and iPhones using x86 will increase the likelyhood that people will [try to] write virsuses for OS X.
  • Reply 9 of 38
    backtomacbacktomac Posts: 4,579member
    Ars has a nice review of this processor platform. I think this is the future engine of the iPhone as well.



    They predict x86 will take over the embedded space.
  • Reply 10 of 38
    EDIT: Nevermind, I get what he's saying now...
  • Reply 11 of 38
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,949member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Bear View Post


    I never said x86 made them more vunerable. What I said is that the more x86 processors running OS X, the bigger a target that combination becomes for virus writers.



    Therefore having both Macs and iPhones using x86 will increase the likelyhood that people will [try to] write virsuses for OS X.



    Maybe, but there are significant hinderances. Both OSs do things very differently. Even virus writers have to make a lot of system calls, and I bet that most of their code is system calls. All that code would have to change. They don't even use the same bootloader, so bootloader attacks would need to change a lot. The most plausible line is that the virus writer doesn't have to know assembly for a new arch, but I don't think any writers used assembly for any of the attacks in the last 5 years. The architecture is just one piece of the puzzle, I think it is a pretty minor one.
  • Reply 12 of 38
    rot'napplerot'napple Posts: 1,839member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    This IS Apple yopu're talking about, right?



    YEP, I'm talking 'bout Apple.





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    The same company that said to buy a new iPhone if your old one is bricked?



    YEP, the very same company that also said the iPhone is exclusive to AT&T, the same company that also said the iPhone is 599 then two months later that same iPhone is 399., the same company that also said an SDK is not available for 3rd party apps for now until security and operability cohesiveness are not a worry, the same company that also said publicly we're not against 3rd party apps, the same company that also said before you install firmware 1.1.1 beware...



    Yep, Apple, that very same company, that has been saying a lot of things recently. Is that where that expression "talk is cheap" came from?.
  • Reply 13 of 38
    taskisstaskiss Posts: 1,212member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Rot'nApple View Post


    YEP, I'm talking 'bout Apple.









    YEP, the very same company that also said the iPhone is exclusive to AT&T, the same company that also said the iPhone is 599 then two months later that same iPhone is 399., the same company that also said an SDK is not available for 3rd party apps for now until security and operability cohesiveness are not a worry, the same company that also said publicly we're not against 3rd party apps, the same company that also said before you install firmware 1.1.1 beware...



    Yep, Apple, that very same company, that has been saying a lot of things recently. Is that where that expression "talk is cheap" came from?.



    "Talk is cheap" is a phrase that means there is doubt that what is said will come to pass, and proof will be necessary.



    What in those items you listed do you feel won't come to pass?
  • Reply 14 of 38
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 32,994member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Bear View Post


    I never said x86 made them more vunerable. What I said is that the more x86 processors running OS X, the bigger a target that combination becomes for virus writers.



    Therefore having both Macs and iPhones using x86 will increase the likelyhood that people will [try to] write virsuses for OS X.



    I know what you said. It won't be more of a target, because of what I said. These guys know that as well, that's why we haven't see any problems.



    At some point, some problems will be seen, but it's not because of Intel, but rather because of the greater number of machines out there in the positions of money moving through them that these guys target.
  • Reply 15 of 38
    hattighattig Posts: 858member
    Bunch of crap speculation, unless Apple want to release a brick with a 30 minute battery life - and that's taking into account the 10x reduction in power.



    There's a world of difference between a compact, tiny ARM SoC as used in the iPhone (you've seen the disassembly photos, the motherboard is tiny), and Intel's new platform, whilst a significant improvement on what they have now, is still far bigger, and consumes far more power.



    However Microsoft might base their ZunePhone on this platform, as they like brick-like mobile electronics.



    Maybe in 2012 on 32nm with even more integration ... but it's not like ARM is standing still.
  • Reply 16 of 38
    zunxzunx Posts: 620member
    Apple, please bring it in ASAP. But only as a full --and I mean full-- Mac OS X on our hands!
  • Reply 17 of 38
    mactelmactel Posts: 1,275member
    I would believe this SoC offering from Intel would be incorporated into a larger form factor iPhone-like device, but not in the iPhone itself.
  • Reply 18 of 38
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Based on Intel's "Menlow" MID design due out a year earlier, it will also incorporate wireless technologies such as Wi-Fi, 3G and WiMAX



    Am I the the only one excited about the inclusion of HSDPA and WiMAX?
  • Reply 19 of 38
    mactelmactel Posts: 1,275member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    Am I the the only one excited about the inclusion of HSDPA and WiMAX?



    No, I saw that too but Steve Jobs and others have said that 3G sucks the juice so I'd believe this chip would not necessarily go on an iPhone-sized device. Ultra-portable sure.



    I hope I'm wrong and this is why Jobs and Co. haven't gone the 3G route yet; they were waiting for their buddies at Intel.
  • Reply 20 of 38
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MacTel View Post


    No, I saw that too but Steve Jobs and others have said that 3G sucks the juice so I'd believe this chip would not necessarily go on an iPhone-sized device. Ultra-portable sure.



    I hope I'm wrong and this is why Jobs and Co. haven't gone the 3G route yet; they were waiting for their buddies at Intel.



    Steve Jobs says a lot of things. If he's waiting until 2009 for 3G he's nuts? it means postponing the Asian launch until then, and no upgrade for the European market.
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