Apple's future iPhones may leverage ARM's v7 Cortex designs

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  • Reply 21 of 38
    patspats Posts: 112member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by m2002brian View Post


    I'm starting to think with all the clamoring about what the iPhone (software) can and can not do. That maybe it's been a big blinder to the HW side of things. The thing about it is, it could just get faster. You know, like computers, we don't worry about software, we want faster processors, more ram, faster buss speeds, etc. Also, with the iPhone being how old now, 4? I'm sure even battery tech as improved so much that they could boost speed above 800mhz and see no significant loss in battery usage. That would make for some much more powerful apps. You know someday I'll have CAD software for my iPod

    I'm just hoping. Because really the software doesn't matter, there's an app store. I'm sure if apple doesn't release it, some third party will find a way. BTW if we all use the same app store account only one of us would have to buy the apps J/K



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post


    I think Apple's going to have to do just that. It only makes sense that Apple looks at their current lineup and says "We own PA Semi and have licenses for Imagination graphics, ARM architectural license (rumored). Why are we buying Marvel chips for the Airport Extreme and Time Capsule? Why are we using Pentium M and Nvidia graphics for the Apple TV? Etc.



    Many of Apple's current non Macintosh products can be run using their own chip design to help amortize the cost of development and add features.



    I expect an Apple to field a storage device or home server appliance eventually. Today we see NAS powered by Freescale, ARM and Atom chips deliver great performance for the home. I see an Apple designed chip being used here effectively as well.



    I think the desktop/laptop lines will continue the existing Intel/Nvidia relationship, but all the other devices will move to Apple developed silicon. Once you have a good design, the more you make the more you can amortize the R&D against. Once the production line starts, to produce a few million extra chips is small change compared to the amount spent on R&D to get your first design.
  • Reply 22 of 38
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,341member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by pats View Post


    Actually battery technology moves very slow. You can expect about a 4% improvement per year. Compared to a doubling every two years for Silicon ICs. In my mind the key is less the battery and more on the ICs and display that use the battery. My guess is if you compare a Iphone 3G running the current software to the next generation Iphone running the Iphone OS 3.0 software you will have noticeable speed and battery life improvements. It won't be just a few percent. Anyone who has used the 4.0 beta of Safari with the Java Script performance improvements via the Web Kit Squirrel Fish knows that the next version of Safari on the Iphone will be much faster.



    Yes I think the delta you see between product refresh is the effect of slightly better battery life and newer chips that do more functions with less wattage. I read that Apple could have used a more full featured bluetooth chip for 3G iPhone but instead went with the lower power (read safe) option.



    If they are going to truly use the Broadcom Wifi/BT/FM Transmit chip they've probably eliminated 2 seperate chips at least that managed their own power.
  • Reply 23 of 38
    brucepbrucep Posts: 2,823member
    congrads to all here.no fighting .no techstud ,just a great chip read .



    my 2 cents apple will have with PA semi there own chips which makes the others guys un able to copy apple so easy.



    peace



    9 .
  • Reply 24 of 38
    pg4gpg4g Posts: 383member
    Don't say the name - it just attracts him...
  • Reply 25 of 38
    p lp l Posts: 64member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by PG4G View Post


    First post



    Ok, on a serious note...



    As they say to the end of the article - it isn't likely that the new iPhone will have this technology. Still... its feasible, considering the turnover time of the iPod touch, that they may be able to pioneer this technology in that.



    After all, the first iPod Touch was an afterthought after the iPhone's success was it not, with a very short run-up time?



    Also considering the rampup of CPU in the iPod Touch, and Nike + inclusion, perhaps we are seeing a trend where the iPod touch will start as more of a "road - test" of technologies that will make their way into the iPhone, but tested on a simpler platform in the iPod - a platform that specifically lacks other more phone-relevant technologies, like GPS and cellular radios & basebands, and also lacks many of the hardware-specific software complexities of the iPhone.



    Most of this tech talk is Greek to me! That being said; I always thought the Touch would be the perfect testbed in house for future HW advancements with successful ones implemented into the iPhone and whatever else is coming.
  • Reply 26 of 38
    brucepbrucep Posts: 2,823member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by PG4G View Post


    Don't say the name - it just attracts him...



  • Reply 27 of 38
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by PG4G View Post


    Don't say the name - it just attracts him...



    Is he Beetlejuice?



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by P L View Post


    Most of this tech talk is Greek to me! That being said; I always thought the Touch would be the perfect testbed in house for future HW advancements with successful ones implemented into the iPhone and whatever else is coming.



    it is complex, but you'll pick it up in no time. There are a lot mire technical forums around but I find I learn more here than the others because of the average forum member's knowledge and demeanor.
  • Reply 28 of 38
    mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 7,503member
    http://www.arm.com/products/CPUs/ARM...A9_MPCore.html



    The Multicore is the most logical choice.
  • Reply 29 of 38
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 5,816member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by PG4G View Post


    Don't say the name - it just attracts him...



    I'm keeping my heavy-duty fly-swatter on hand and fully coiled ready to smack.



    Apple's doing some serious investment in the chip design area. IMHO, I think we won't see any fruit from this labor at least until mid-2010. Whether this is for the iPhone or some expanded device like a tablet, Apple skunkworks I'm sure will come up with some interesting devices and options! This is a good R&D investment of that $25b-$29b bank account.
  • Reply 30 of 38
    winterspanwinterspan Posts: 605member
    Some info:
    • "ARMv6" is the instruction set of the ARM11 processor core (current iPhone)

    • "ARMv7" is the instruction set of the new ARM Cortex-series processors, with the single-core Cortex-A8 and multi-core-capable Cortex-A9

    The Cortex-A8 is nearly TWICE as fast as the ARM11 core at the same clock speed, and is usually clocked between 600mhz and 1000mhz. The Cortex-A8 core is used as the primary core in T.I.'s OMAP3xxx series (as used in the Palm Pre) and Qualcomm's Snapdragon platform. There are currently no shipping smartphones using the new Cortex series processors.



    The next iPhone will likely use a chip based on the ARM Cortex-A8 core. Chips based on the multi-core capable (and out-of-order processing) Cortex-A9 will not be ready until next year at the earliest.



    Quote:

    one theory behind Apple's apparent interest in NEON is that the extensions may help facilitate a number of multimedia-intensive operations due to start turning up in the iPhone this year, such as video recording, video processing, and rudimentary video editing.



    This is VERY UNLIKELY. The "NEON" SIMD instructions do indeed speed up the processing of multimedia type applications, but are only used if the chip doesn't include higher-performance hardware components dedicated towards video encode/decode, graphics acceleration, etc.



    All of the mainstream Texas instruments, Qualcomm, etc system-on-a-chips intended for smartphones offload video processing to dedicated video encode/decode logic and/or high performance DSPs and have dedicated GPUs for graphics acceleration. These are far more efficient at their respective tasks than using the SIMD units on the ARM, and this is how the current iPhone works.

    Lower end applications and phones may use solely the ARM core SIMD units to do multimedia tasks.
  • Reply 31 of 38
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Edit: Pipped by Winterspan.
  • Reply 32 of 38
    richlrichl Posts: 2,213member
    IIRC, the first ARM v7 phone has just been released in the UK.
  • Reply 33 of 38
    ghstmarsghstmars Posts: 140member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by RichL View Post


    IIRC, the first ARM v7 phone has just been released in the UK.



    it also has OLED screen i guess this is what the iphone might look like.
  • Reply 34 of 38
    The Cortex-A8 runs at 768 MHz. Slide 21 here



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by winterspan View Post


    Some info:



    The Cortex-A8 is nearly TWICE as fast as the ARM11 core at the same clock speed, and is usually clocked between 600mhz and 1000mhz. .......



    According to this presentation (slide 16), the NEON instructions help in media processing and editing.



    Strangely, the 3rd slide from here says that ARM received money from Apple early on..... Interesting, I didnt know that



    If someone is bored enough and wants to read about the entire ARM achitecture across their processors (including ARM8 from slides 58-60).................



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by winterspan View Post


    This is VERY UNLIKELY. The "NEON" SIMD instructions do indeed speed up the processing of multimedia type applications, but are only used if the chip doesn't include higher-performance hardware components dedicated towards video encode/decode, graphics acceleration, etc.



  • Reply 35 of 38
    pg4gpg4g Posts: 383member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    Is [Teckstud] Beetlejuice?



    Yes... I'm starting to think so...
  • Reply 36 of 38
    pg4gpg4g Posts: 383member
    Personally I think that we think of the iPhone and iPod touch much too much like iPods - something that will change often visually depending on the trends that are set by society.



    The iPod has evolved throughout the years from a brick to the clean, sophisticated look it now sports - but didn't it always seem clean and sophisticated? Stylistic trends change, and that seems to drive iPod development and changes far more than it does to Macs and other PC's.



    Take for example the MacBook Pro. In the time it took them to make 6 major generations of the iPod (forgetting the photo and 5.5g video), 4 of the iPod nano, 2 of the mini, 2 of the shuffle and two of the touch, the MacBook Pro moved from the PowerBook to the MacBook line, but has looked almost identical, until the Unibody event late last year. That was years where the Mac barely changed, but a stylistic accessory - perhaps due to its non-computer nature - changed dramatically.



    I've heard many people cry "but the iPhone isn't a computer" - perhaps from a development perspective we should be looking at the iPhone as a computer. Maybe it doesn't have user-configurable RAM, but it sports a computer OS, with computer level restraints. In the last 2 years, we've seen extremely little difference in the 4 iterations of Touch devices (2 iPhones, 2 iPod Touches), and if anything the lines between the two are becoming thinner from a looks perspective, and a features perspective (with bluetooth, speaker, side volume switches etc).



    So when we theorize about where the next lot of devices are going, perhaps we should look at what is important from a computer perspective, and not from a "wow thats different" looks perspective. That may include CPU and GPU bumps, RAM increases, and screen tech.



    BTW, I'm glad to see the focus of this thread has remained on the iPhone's internal specs, and hope that this is a sign of things to come.
  • Reply 37 of 38
    'Strangely, the 3rd slide from here says that ARM received money from Apple early on..... Interesting, I didnt know that'



    Yes that is correct Arm became 'Advanced RISC Machines' when Apple financed it late 80s so that it could become an independent company. Prior to that it had been 'Acorn RISC Machines' effectively the research labs of Acorn (of BBC computer fame) a prime British personal computer maker of the 80s which developed the technology partly from work carried out at Manchester University. Apple wanted it primarily for use in the Newton. In fact it was not that many years ago that Apple sold its remaining shares in the company.
  • Reply 38 of 38
    brlawyerbrlawyer Posts: 828member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post


    I think that's the million dollar question.



    Custom design is nice but the expense of chip design pretty much means a custom design has got to be significantly better than "off the shelf"



    Is Apple going to be able to add value features that no one else can ape (albeit at lower quality) with turnkey SoC?



    I know not enough about design nor can I even postulate on what unique features Apple could add. I guess that's what is going to make the mobile market for Apple exciting again. We're back to that "anything can happen" with Apple products.



    Let the speculation begin!



    I think the answer is pretty easy...just think of Amiga's custom chips. They added a lot of value and performance to those computers without impairing the use of standard MOBO's or chipsets. Apple is gonna adopt the same strategy for Macs, which will ensure: 1)higher performance; 2)specific features; and 3)protection against unauthorized use of OS X.
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