Tag: pa semi

Apple launches the iPhone 4

Cupertino company Apple duly went ahead and introduced its iPhone 4 today, with CEO Steve Jobs hailing it as a breakthrough.

It’s a thinner phone than previous phones and its battery is better, said Apple.

But there was a bit of a nightmare because one of Jobs’ demoes failed. He said there was a bit of a problem but managed to fix the dilithium crystals and carry on with his presentation.

People who have bought previous models of the iPhone are probably feeling a little miffed, although carefully calculated leaks have told the world and its dog most of what they need to know about the iPhone 4.

Jobs praised his own company for producing such revolutionary devices and so that’s OK then. Part of the iPhone’s success has been Apple’s App Store, emulated by many other vendors eager to catch Steve’s coat tails.

He’s also very pleased with himself about the iFad – Apple has sold a couple of million of those things since it was launched.

The Next Box didn’t sell that well, but Jobs has shown himself to be a real survivor, and has to be given fair credit for that.

Earlier today Apple was sued for allegedly breaching patents on its microprocessors by Microunity.

Apple buys Intrinsity for relative pittance

Apple has confirmed to the New York Times that it has bought out Intrinsity, a small company thought by some analysts to be behind the chip technology in the iPad.

Intrinsity is known by those who need to know as a company which specialises in speedy mobile device chips. It specialises particularly in A4 chips and mysteriously its engineers have managed to clock a speed figure of 1 GHz on its chips, which is the same speed as the A4 inside the iPad. Samsung, which officially provided the ARM-based chips and A4s for Apple, had rumblings with the 1GHz Intrinsity “Hummingbird” technology.

The ghost of Jim Morrison, or more likely a product manager at Chipworks who’s heard them all before, told The Wall Street Journal that it’s likely the Apple A4 was developed by Intrinsity.

The acquisition of Intrinsity was closed in March. Official figures for the buy-out aren’t available at this time, and may never be, but Tom R. Halfhill, Microprocessor Report analyst, told The New York Times that Intrinsity probably got flogged for $121 million, half of what Jobs’ Mob forked out for chip company PA Semi in 2008. It seems Apple is happy to throw what is a relatively very small portion of its cash about if it means the company will eventually blag the upper hand in certain markets.

Google buys hardware firm Agnilux

Search behemoth Google has apparently bought Agnilux, a company founded in the aftermath of Apple’s PA Semi takeover. Google has so far only confirmed it had shelled out an undisclosed sum of money. Apart from that, there are no precise details concerning the privately-held firm.

Blog PEhub, which broke the news, says Agnilux was in talks with Cisco, Microsoft and Texas Instruments in order to receive strategic financing. Agnilux seems to have offered so much many it decided to go down the takeover route instead.

Agnilux is supposed to be developing a server of unknown qualities, which could explain why Google would be interested in chasing it down and chaining it up. Any tech that would make servers more efficient would be a godsend for any web-based company – especially if it is as huge as Google.

Agnilux was founded by Amarjeet Gill, Mark Hayter and Puneet Kumar, who apparently used their own money to finance the start up.

Employees and founders seem to previously have worked for PA Semi and decided not to join Apple, after it bought PA Semi two years ago to develop the application processor used in the iPad.

According to the New York Times a source said Agnilux has some sort of agreement with Cisco. However, COO Mark Hayter never revealed anything to the newspaper, despite being asked several times.

Apple uses Oscars to advertise iPad

Cupertino evangelist Apple used the Oscars ceremony yesterday to place an advert for its up-and-coming iPad.

The iPad, the first version of which will be released in the USA on April 3rd, is a 9.7-inch touchscreen gizmo using a PA Semi designed microprocessor.

The advert is a quick runthrough of the capabilities Apple thinks the iPad will offer, including the ability to read newspapers and books, and swivel the screen.

The advert relies on visual cues rather than words, as you can see in the brief advert, below.

Apple could become an iFabless company

It’s pretty clear that Apple’s A4, using technology from PA Semi that it owns, signals a sign that the company is serious about using its energy and resources to design chips.

But MacNews.com, a new magazine, speculates that there could be much more than just dabbling with the idea.

We already know that Apple has two ex-ATI chief technology officers working on something or other in Cupertino. They won’t be twiddling their fingers, that’s for sure.

The author of the piece in Macnews.com speculates that in five years time Mac OS X will run on nothing but Apple designed microprocessors, and suggests that Apple doesn’t want to have all its eggs in the Intel basket.

Even AMD has become a fabless design company, despite its founder Jerry Sanders III proclaiming on every possible occasion that only real men have fabs.

Apple won’t be building $2 billion fabs, that’s for sure. Macnews.com is here.

Glofo to pick up Samsung's Apple tab?

There’s been much speculation about the core of Apple’s new wunder gadget, the iPad, especially when it comes down to the pips or, rather, the chips.

What we do know is that Apple wasn’t giving Intel any love, having the utter impudence to snub the chip behemoth in favour of a rather lower powered, zippier system on a chip (SoC) dubbed the “A4” processor.

The A4, designed by Apple’s very own insiders – including  a couple of high profile former AMD/ATI GPGPU gurus and ex PA Semiconductor boffins – is apparently based on a 1 GHz ARM Cortex A9 processor with an Imagination Technologies SGX 535 graphics core.

It’s also been heavily implied that the chip was fabbed by Samsung, something which has been backed up by an undercover TechEye source.

Of course, Samsung has been a key Apple manufacturing partner for some time already, with both the inner guts of the Ipod and Iphone being churned out by the Korean firm.

Samsung also happens to be a partner in the IBM alliance for process technology, which means the firm has access to leading edge-technology, even though it’s not strictly speaking a “foundry” company. Indeed, Samsung’s business model here seems to be more along the lines of selling off as much of its excess capacity as possible.

While this may well come cheap(er) for Apple than a proper fab, sources tell us other fabs may have plans to try to poach the fruity firm next time around. Firms like GlobalFoundries, for instance, which now has a pure-play leading-edge foundry using similar process tech recipes to Samsung’s own.

Rumour has it that Apple is using Samsung’s 45nm bulk process for its chips, though, so if Glofo wants a taste of the Apple pie, it may have to start thinking of moving over from its current batch of 45nm SOI. 

Watch this space.

iPad display is a bastard screen size

We know that Apple is using its own PA Semi processor in the iPad that drowned out all other news yesterday, but now we’re beginning to see the other elements involved in the Apple pie.

We don’t know which semiconductor company is fabbing out the PA Semi in Mr Jobs’ machine, but it’s probably, probably TSMC. Maybe Paddy Power should open a book on which fab is making the chip. We wonder what the yields are like. We note that two ex-CTOs of ATI – one of them pictured here, works for Apple now but when we took the snap worked for “someone else“. Wonder what the yields are like? Raj ain’t gonna say.

They’d have some clue what’s going on, but Apple has inserted a device next to their heart that would fibrillate like hell if they opened their mouths or even tried a bit of semaphore, never mind talk to their old chums. So feel safe Apple, feel safe.

Now DisplaySearch, the market research firm that knows about these things, has come up with its ideas on the display used in St. Jobs’ glory and wonder.

It has a 9.7-inch 1024×768 LED backlit in plane switching (IPS) TFT LCD display. Apple chose it because it uses IPS and has a wide viewing angle.

Apple has also claimed, says DisplaySearch, that it has the largest capacitive multitouch displays with thousands of sensors.

But the display is not a wide aspect ratio screen – it’s unique in having an aspect ratio of 4:3. Ninety nine percent of notebook PCs use wide displays and it’s hard to find an LCD TV with anything other than a 16:9 display.

DisplaySearch believes that Apple chose a middle ground between the need for books, magazines, newspapers, video and gaming.

In old fashioned British printing terms, it is a “bastard size”.

Oh, it’s arsenic and mercury free – one of the benefits of LED backlights. Wonder who is fabbing out the screen for Apple.

Doubtless, iSuppli will sooner or later get its mitts on one of the posh e-readers Apple is flogging and rip it to bits – revealing the component cost isn’t very much at all. The DisplaySearch bog is here.