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Apple

The Genius In Apple's Vertical Platform 432

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the a-tad-optimistic dept.
Precision found a nice little piece of speculation on the real reason behind Apple's recent efforts to restrict app development to XCode. While the standard given reason is to kill competition from Flash and other stacks, this story speculates that the real reason has to do with the unusually large die size of the A4 processor inside the iPads. Worth a quick read.
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The Genius In Apple's Vertical Platform

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  • FTFA (Score:2, Funny)

    Noah Wyle looks funny with a beard.
    • by recoiledsnake (879048) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @01:41PM (#31860330)

      If this is indeed the case, then iPhone OS 4.0 would bring incredible speed improvements to the iPad, since it would no longer run applications on an ARM processor emulator. Can you imagine if OS 4.0 improved the iPad’s speed by 50% on day 1? Apple would be heralded as a software God. But in order for these speed improvements to be realized, apps would need to be written in objective C—which is exactly what Apple is now telling developers to do.

      The writer doesn't realize that Adobe/MonoTouch were making a cross compiler from ActionScript/C# to Objective-C. So any improvements made to XCode will be available to those Apps too and if regular Apps are speeded up by 50%, so would the CS5 and MonoTouch Apps.

      Posters below have already explained what a bunch of crock the speculation that the processor is actually a Power CPU is. Anyway what can you expect from a blind fanboy who writes stuff like:

      Apple's DNA in this area is untouchable, helping it to innovate at the confluence of software and hardware.

      I find it fascinating that Apple has been so good at diverting attention to the Flash argument, that people don’t see the true genius behind Steve Job’s vision and moves. Apple is setting the stage to become one of the biggest winners in the storied history of vertically integrated companies.

      Huh? Wtf?

      Why is this crap posted on Slashdot anyway?

  • by Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @10:24AM (#31857396) Journal
    Not only does Apple restrict you to compiling your code in c, c++,objective c with the iphone sdk, they prohibit any code that was not originally written in one of those languages. The article would make sense, if the only restriction Apple had in place was that they code be compiled by the iphone sdk. That is not the case, as far as I know.
    • by MrHanky (141717) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @10:34AM (#31857524) Homepage Journal

      No, the article doesn't make sense at all. Why assume the A4 is a dual-core PowerPC when it's built for an OS that restricts the use of multitasking? It's almost like suggesting using four wheel drive on a motorcycle. This writer is just a total and utter wanker, predicting 50% speed increases for reasons founded in pure fantasy. Bullshit story.

      • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

        by Altus (1034)

        Maybe they made the A4 with the knowledge that they were going to enable more multitasking in the next release of the OS (which they are). Sometimes companies actually plan ahead on these kinds of things.

      • Its just the GUI apps that it suspends, all the backend stuff still works fine otherwise as soon as you ssh'd into a jailbroken iphone everything else would hang while ssh ran.

        • ... leaving out only the question how well it does the multitasking. Or in other words: Win95 was also multitasking OS.

          If background task would slow down a video playback, that would be a real problem.

          • by ceoyoyo (59147)

            It always runs Mail and usually Safari and the iPod bits in the background. Have you noticed your video slowing down every five minutes when Mail checks for new messages?

          • by Viol8 (599362) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @11:36AM (#31858482)

            Its essentially OS/X under the hood - ie unix. However apple have deliberately set it up so GUI apps are suspended when minimised (or whatever you want to call it). So its not a case of how well the OS does multitasking , its a case of how well apple have made it look like it can't.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by MikeFM (12491)
        Except Apple is gradually adding multitasking. OS 4 is getting much closer to a final solution. They're just taking the time to do it right. Even if the processor is multicore it's still not a 6 core Xeon so they can't just waste CPU time. Unlike most manufacturers they actually care about not pushing out a crap product with all the bells and whistles that won't actually work well.

        I don't think it makes sense not to allow code translation to Obj-C though. I don't know how they can really enforce that anyway
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Lumpy (12016)

          the iPad has 10-12 hours of on in heavy use time. Everything else is an epic fail in comparison. I'd gladly give up features to get that kind of battery life from a windows tablet or a netbook.

          • by Hal_Porter (817932) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @11:34AM (#31858448)

            My Asus 1005HA can manage 9 hours of battery life. The newer, Pineview based 1005PE does even better.

            http://www.engadget.com/2009/12/21/asus-eee-pc-1005pe-review/ [engadget.com]

          • by Carewolf (581105) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @11:53AM (#31858692) Homepage

            Giant 15.4" old-school dual-core Thinkpad: Battery time: infinite..

            Reason: Exchangable batteries ;) No apple product will ever come anywhere close, because they are intentionally cripled.

            PS. With traveling battery: 8hours of heavy use, this is added to the standard 4.5h on the standard battery.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by moosesocks (264553)

              That's not a solution for those of use who don't want to be constantly carrying around, swapping, recharging, and paying for spare batteries.

              It's a shame that nobody even seems to want to compete with Apple in terms of battery life.

              Like the GP mentioned -- it's hard to take any non-Apple laptops seriously these days, given just how superior their hardware is. Even if you can't easily swap the batteries, it doesn't really matter, because they already last more than twice as long as the competition.

              The non-r

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              I used to get the 6ish hours of battery use by carrying around a travel battery. I got a new Macbook. Now, I get the same battery life without an extra battery and I'm sure that I was a minority use case even carrying one spare battery around. I can't imagine many people carry 2 or more spare batteries around.
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by TRRosen (720617)

              You mean all other devices are crippled by an unnecessary replaceable battery. By forgoing removability you double the battery size and lose no functionality. There is no need to remove a battery to enable another to be added. There are plenty of external battery packs available for Mac laptops and iPod/iPhones and they are easier to carry the a spare battery. They don't require you to shut down you laptop and turn it upside down. They can be used with multiple devices and multiple models of laptops. And t

          • by Colonel Korn (1258968) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @12:12PM (#31858972)

            the iPad has 10-12 hours of on in heavy use time. Everything else is an epic fail in comparison. I'd gladly give up features to get that kind of battery life from a windows tablet or a netbook.

            Asus netbooks have 10+ hours of battery life doing the things that are "heavy use" on the iPad (which are very light use on the netbook's scale).

        • by Thud457 (234763) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @10:55AM (#31857860) Homepage Journal
          Dude, the phrase "final solution" in regards to anything related to Jobs makes me very nervous. Please don't do that again.
        • by Albanach (527650) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @11:19AM (#31858248) Homepage

          Even if the processor is multicore it's still not a 6 core Xeon so they can't just waste CPU time.

          Yes, I hated the way I could only run one application at a time on my Pentium 3 desktop.

          Seriously now, we've been multitasking for a very long time with /single core CPUs. It's a pretty poor excuse to say .we're taking out time to do it right'

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by mini me (132455)

            iPhone OS has supported multitasking since day one. The issue is finding a solution that prevents developers from doing stupid things, with respect to battery life, with their new-found multitasking abilities.

      • "WTF" moment (Score:5, Informative)

        by rodrigoandrade (713371) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @10:52AM (#31857810)
        > Why assume the A4 is a dual-core PowerPC when it's built for an OS that restricts the use of multitasking?

        "WTF" quote of the day. What does dual-core have to do with multitasking??????????????? Windows did multitasking long before dual core chips existed.

        On a related note, the iPhone DOES multitasking; it just doesn't let the USER multitask. How do you suppose an incoming call gets through while you´re listening to music?
        • by Scrameustache (459504) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @11:25AM (#31858316) Homepage Journal

          > Why assume the A4 is a dual-core PowerPC when it's built for an OS that restricts the use of multitasking?

          "WTF" quote of the day. What does dual-core have to do with multitasking??????????????? Windows did multitasking long before dual core chips existed.

          On a related note, the iPhone DOES multitasking; it just doesn't let the USER multitask. How do you suppose an incoming call gets through while you´re listening to music?

          And MacOS did multitasking before Windows!

          (Yay, the mid-90s flamewar subjects are back!)

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by DrgnDancer (137700)

        Given that iPhone OS 4 was well into development when the iPad was released (since it went into developer beta literally days later), and was almost certainly in the planning stages while the hardware of the iPad was being chosen; and given that iPhone OS 4 support multitasking.... Your argument make no sense at all. Not that I don't agree that the writer is quite likely wrong, but your reasoning is completely flawed.

      • No, the article doesn't make sense at all. Why assume the A4 is a dual-core PowerPC when it's built for an OS that restricts the use of multitasking? It's almost like suggesting using four wheel drive on a motorcycle. This writer is just a total and utter wanker, predicting 50% speed increases for reasons founded in pure fantasy. Bullshit story.

        Multitasking != multithreading.
        And iPhone OS 4.0 is around the corner.
        For the rest of your comments, "glass house" and "stone" and "throwing" come to mind.

      • by bguiz (1627491)

        This writer is just a total and utter wanker

        Mod parent +1 insightful (not sarcastic) - All you have to do is read the comments on his post so far and they tell you that -

        1. That he is rehashing someone else's ideas from a day earlier:
        http://sachin.posterous.com/ie6-caused-the-web-to-mature-slower-than-it-w [posterous.com]

        2. That his central point is moot:
        "They are not telling people to use Xcode, they are telling people they can only publish application 'originally written' in Objective C. This is quite different."

      • by hattig (47930) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @11:32AM (#31858426) Journal

        The article is dreamy bullshit, but not for what you write about multitasking (especially since OS4 will provide for it, and designing hardware to cope with future demands is sensible).

        The performance analysis shows the product's CPU power matches a 1GHz Cortex A8, compared with scaling up from the 600MHz A8 in the 3GS.

        The article links to the Chipworks A4 die dissection, and the product code which is just a higher version of the 3GS product code. That certainly doesn't fit in with putting in a PowerPC core instead of the ARM core in the previous product, never mind fitting the PowerPC core to the ARM-specific internal bus and peripherals. The code name would be completely different. If there's anything that can be guaranteed, it is that the A4 utilised an ARM core.

        The Apple A4 is a 45nm version of the 3GS Samsung CPU, rebranded by Apple (because they bought Intrinsity, who developed/enhanced/tweaked the Samsung product originally). The extra transistors are accounted for by having a wider memory bus, probably more L2 cache, and maybe higher performance graphics.

        Also the guy assumed perfect transistor scaling, which doesn't happen.

    • by marcansoft (727665) <hector@marcanso f t . c om> on Thursday April 15, 2010 @10:54AM (#31857848) Homepage

      The guy who wrote the article is clueless.

      These ridiculous claims remind me of that "tapionvslink" guy who swears that the Wii has a GPGPU with programmable shaders and twice the RAM and all sorts of things that the homebrew community knows are bullshit, just because he did some broken math on die sizes. He still maintains that we're all ignorant and just haven't figured out what real Wii games are doing with the GPU. Riiight.

      Seriously, if the iPad were PowerPC, don't you think we'd know by now, considering it's been jailbroken? Chipworks also tore down the chip and found nothing unusual; it's just another mobile ARM. Also, no one in their right mind would ever use a CPU emulator on a mobile platform OS. It's one of the best ways to completely nuke your battery life, not to mention performance. It's a cute theory, but it's so thoroughly impossible it's not even funny.

      • by mzs (595629) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @11:19AM (#31858254)

        I agree the article writer is a moron. I thought you might appreciate this though. I have a newer HP calculator. Since HP years ago laid-off all of the calculator division, no one was left when they made the HP50. An outside group put that one together. It has an ARM and uses an emulator to run much of the old Saturn software from the HP48. It seems to run just as long on a set of batteries as my 48S and 48G did, and it is incredibly faster running the old stuff.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Steve Max (1235710)

          However, the performance difference between the old Saturn chips and the current ARMs is tremendous. The Saturn was outdated when I bought a 48G, 12 years ago. Emulating that Saturn on a current ARM is as hard as emulating a Z80; it puts almost no strain on the system.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Yenya (12004)

        no one in their right mind would ever use a CPU emulator on a mobile platform OS. It's one of the best ways to completely nuke your battery life, not to mention performance.

        Like, er, Transmeta?

    • by dc29A (636871) * on Thursday April 15, 2010 @10:55AM (#31857854)

      Why does everyone think this has anything to do with technical issues? This is all about lock in, 100% pure business move.

      Apple doesn't want cross compilers because that makes the iPhone just another smartphone because everyone and their dogs will be writing code for smartphones, not iPhones exclusively. Apple has to maintain the image of the iPhone to be unique, not just the 'PC' of smartphones. If cross compiling is allowed, and a person is fed up with the iPhone, nothing stops him/her/it to switch to a WM7, RIM or Android phone. Why? Because the software is probably available on those systems. Now, if some developers will stay iPhone exclusive because of the hassle of maintaining two codebases (One CS5 cross compilable and one Apple approved), people will have harder time to migrate to other platforms because their precious software only runs on iPhone OS. Why don't people switch to Linux en masse? MS Office + DirectX. Apple wants the exact same platform lock in for smarphones as the one Microsoft has achieved for PCs.

      Führer Jobs is shit scared of Android, that's why the new draconian developer restrictions (and HTC patent suits), not because some [insert technical excuse here]. Fortunately or unfortunately (depending on your point of view) Adobe is going to be collateral damage unless Flash on Android/ChromeOS takes off heavily. Jobs wants to stop the Android momentum at all cost, because if he doesn't, iPhone will be the 'Mac' and Android will be the 'PC'.

      Disclosure: I have an iPhone 3GS.

      • by MikeURL (890801) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @11:02AM (#31858012) Journal
        If it were a change in policy I'd find it interesting. But Apple has been a closed platform pretty much since the very beginning. Along the way they have alternately paid a huge price for their insistence onthis policy and they have also been greatly rewarded. However, what they have not done is bend one inch from the basic philosophy that Apple controls the user experience on its products.

        This aspect of Apple really, really, should not be news anymore.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Nerdfest (867930)
          Well, now they're insisting on controlling the developer experience as well.
      • by Mr Bubble (14652) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @02:12PM (#31860758)

        I just blew coffee out of my nose when you said Jobs is shit-scared of Android. First of all, I don't think Jobs is shit-scared of anything. Secondly, Android will never have more than 30% of the market, it's just going to be too fragmented of an offering with too many different hardware specs and too much control ceded to the carriers over os updates and app stores.

        But the main point is that Apple does not want to fill their platform up with mediocre apps written to support the lowest common denominator feature set and UI conventions. Apple users have put up with shit software for years from the likes of Adobe and other vendors who wished the Mac would just go away while they concentrated on Windows. Jobs is demanding excellent software for an excellent device - one that is programmed and compiled in a way that utilizes the OS frameworks to their fullest.

        And, more importantly, while the author's facts are wrong, the idea of the post is correct. If jobs allows another company to control the development trajectories of, say, even 10% of the apps on the store, Apple can no longer plan their product change and enhancement cycles around their own timeline - they will have to wait until companies like Adobe are ready to change their tools - and, history has proven that it can be a very long wait.

        • just blew coffee out of my nose when you said Jobs is shit-scared of Android.

          Up until the "porn store" comment I would have agreed that Jobs is not that scared of Android but when he goes out of his way to bash it in an unrelated keynote in such a childish manner, that's fear talking.

          But the main point is that Apple does not want to fill their platform up with mediocre apps written to support the lowest common denominator feature set

          But dr. Evil, that has already happened.

          Apple effectively prohibits

    • Apple cannot make money by first deploying the A4 processor then switching away after another chip beats it, they'd lose that massive investment in chip development.

      Apple might've noticed different constraints for the iPad and iPhone, deploying their own chip for the iPad while using other ARM chips for iPhones. Yes, maybe that's true, but agility doesn't matter there, correct forecasting matters.

      Apple's most likely benefits from the A4 are :
      (1) processor related intellectual property gives them an advanta

    • by mini me (132455)

      Not exactly. The SDK agreement places no restrictions on the language or processes used to generate libraries for your application. The core of your application, the one that links against documented APIs, must conform to those terms, but there is no reason why that core cannot make calls out to those libraries written in Flash, for example.

  • by capt.Hij (318203) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @10:25AM (#31857412) Homepage Journal
    It is a well written, well reasoned article. It even makes sense. It is also pure speculation. Basically it comes down to "die too big" == "epic win" This is tech, and we can do better than this.
    • by carlhaagen (1021273) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @10:32AM (#31857504)
      What is not speculation is the debate over whether or not the A4 is an ARM core: it *is* an ARM core. Just disassembling the output shows it at once. It also takes an idiot to believe Apple would spend even more time writing an ARM emulator core for PowerPC just to make sure their iPad runs software compiled with the iPhone SDK. This isn't another case of PowerPC->Intel switch. Geez.
    • by ircmaxell (1117387) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @10:38AM (#31857596) Homepage
      It would make sense... If it wasn't filled with nonsense. The larger die? It's because the system RAM is built into the chip. Not because it's running some new dual core design. Apple banned writing in another language. Not compiling using anything but XCode. Some of the converters out there will covert down to Objective-C and then compile them with XCode. With his speculation in the article, that should be fine (because it's compiling with their compiler, and should be the exact same as if written in O-C in the first place), but it's banned. I do agree that it is well written. But well reasoned? It starts with a pair of flawed premises, and then makes some pretty good reasoning based on them. But all of that reasoning is inherently flawed due to the flawed premise.

      What bothers me, is that people who don't know any better will read this article and think "Woah, cool! They are doing something smart!" when it's all really unjustified based on his reasoning (I'm not going to comment on if it really is smart or not)...
    • by Nadaka (224565)

      right, "die too big" could also mean they used a cheaper older fab technology with lower resolution.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 15, 2010 @10:25AM (#31857414)

    I don't care if Apple has reasons for this or not. I don't like Apple, so that means they're a monopoly just like Microsoft, and should be required to do whatever any other company wants cause it's in the constitution.

    Also, there's a company in Germany that's gonna make a competing product that will blow the iPad out of the water cause it'll be open and run Flash and OpenOffice and has higher ghz on the processor and more memory and it's the hardware specs that make the difference, and I know everything, and the market should decide everything and Apple doesn't have the right to do anything to try to protect their investment in the iPhone OS as a platform cause I say so.

    Did I mention they're an evil monopoly? And that Steve Jobs is worse than Hitler, cause he's got a reality distortion field and makes people pay the Apple tax?

  • First post! (Score:5, Informative)

    by cpotoso (606303) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @10:27AM (#31857432) Journal
    He! He!

    I think the article is absolute nonsense. The A4 has been "disassembled" and it is consistent with an ARM single core.

    • by TheKidWho (705796)

      Yes, well it also mentions that they might possibly do an architecture switch in the near future. This could be to a 32nm Atom based chip next year or who knows what. By forcing these requirements, they make the process of changing architectures seamless to the users and easy for the developers.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Virak (897071)

        The article mainly hinges on the possibility that the iPad isn't using ARM to be wild speculation instead of merely completely insane speculation. The fact that this is already known to be false is a pretty major blow to it. And the fact that this policy affects things that produce code in approved languages and even things that produce Xcode projects to go with it pretty much completely destroys the argument that it's some wise and enlightened choice they have made for the good of developers and not just a

      • by Lumpy (12016)

        that would be a step backwards. I'm betting a dual core of the current A4 design.... why? to keep the near magical battery life they have.

        Honestly that is the single thing that will bit the butt of every other tablet that comes out. I dont care if it has X,Y and Z.. if I cant leave it on, screen on full bright, and using all the processor to decode a video for 10 hours straight... then it's a piece of junk. Atom right now drinks power... it needs a ton of refining to get it to sip that power a whole

    • by simoncpu was here (1601629) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @10:44AM (#31857706)
      Clearly, an ARM single core is too slow to keep up with real-time speeds required to successfully execute a first post.
  • by 0100010001010011 (652467) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @10:29AM (#31857448)

    Not the vertical integration, but the simple "Ok you're Applications are compatible now"

    Apple has moved from 68k to PPC to OS X to Intel to ARM to (proposed) POWER) for both 32/64 bit and all it took in those last steps was flag in the compiler.

    68k emulation in PPC was decent. Classic mode worked for most applications and Rosetta was as seamless as it gets. I understand that Microsoft has a ton of backwards compatibility they need to maintain, but if a company the fraction of your size can do it, why can't you?

    Yes "FAT" Binaries are larger, but given how cheap HD space is, it's not too much of a concern of mine. (I gained more space deleting other languages). But to have a single, double clickable .app that runs on 4 platforms (PPC, Intel / 32, 64bit), naively.

    Side note, and legitimate question, does Linux do fat binaries? Can I compile something that runs on my AMD64 and ARM machines and put it on a thumb drive?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      No, but it's doable: http://icculus.org/fatelf/ [icculus.org]
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Webz (210489)

      They can't /because/ they're big. Sure they can do a lot of things from a resource perspective. But inertia is holding them back. Organizational constraints. More people have to want change and agree to change than a small, agile company.

      It's all about inertia.

    • by cynyr (703126)
      yes and no, afaik, all a fat binary is a double packed bin. a simple folder with both in it would work just as well. you would of course also have to staticly link on linux. even then it gets harder than that.
    • by Altus (1034)

      yep, binaries (fat or not) take up very little space; Its the resource files that make applications large for the most part.

    • 68k emulation in PPC was decent. Classic mode worked for most applications and Rosetta was as seamless as it gets. I understand that Microsoft has a ton of backwards compatibility they need to maintain, but if a company the fraction of your size can do it, why can't you?

      er... so these periodic compatibility updates I see for Windows aren't related to backwards compatibility? Including the Windows 7 one back in February that fixed Warcraft 3's video playback (that's the only fix I noticed for stuff I had)?

      Y

      • by JonJ (907502)

        Of course, since Snow Leopard doesn't even include Rosetta to run PPC programs from 5 years ago, expecting Windows from 2009 to run 1993 applications is a stretch.

        Actually, Snow Leopard does include Rosetta, but does not install it by default.

    • by tepples (727027)

      Yes "FAT" Binaries are larger, but given how cheap HD space is

      Mobile bandwidth (3G) and rural bandwidth (satellite) are still expensive, as is SSD space.

    • by diegocg (1680514)

      "Fat binaries" are just a tar-like file with binaries of several architectures. It's not rocket science. Apple needs such things because of the way they make their machines, but Linux has supported multiple architectures for a long time, and has fixed it in the package manager.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by bickerdyke (670000)

      I understand that Microsoft has a ton of backwards compatibility they need to maintain, but if a company the fraction of your size can do it, why can't you?

      Because they only have a fraction of the software?

      Because Apple always has been in the position to NOT care about hardware compatibility issues?

  • The article is missing a big point: it IS ARM. Just debugging the code shows it is ARM, not PPC. "No one really knows." Geez. Step into the "reverse engineering" of 1980 already.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The article is saying the ipad is running an emulator for ARM and that at some time in the future, apps (requiring xcode) will be compiled for PowerPC rather than ARM, skipping the emulator and running at higher performance. Wouldn't one expect debugging under this scenario to give ARM code?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by plover (150551) *

      The article is missing a big point: it IS ARM. Just debugging the code shows it is ARM, not PPC.

      I think you missed the point entirely. His speculation is that because the chip is so big, he thinks the extra space on the chip might actually be a native Power processor, and that the CPU is currently running the code in an hardware-based ARM emulator, rather than executing on-die ARM instructions.

      Then, when OS XI comes out for the iPad, it'll be written in native Power instructions and the chip will execute new apps twice as fast.

      • by plover (150551) *

        Caveat: I don't believe this crazy conspiracy crap either. My understanding is that people who've analyzed the chip say the extra real estate is occupied by more primary cache, not by more ALU circuitry.

      • Sorry, but I rather doubt that an embedded power pc chip is really much faster than
        a cortex A9.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The die size is due to putting memory chips on die for lower latency.
    It doesn't contain magical other processors.

    But this guy has a pet theory about Apple and damned if he's gonna let facts get in the way of his idea!

  • Apple Fanbois (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nhtshot (198470) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @10:30AM (#31857470) Homepage

    Disclosure: I'm writing this from a Mac. I like my Macs. I like Apple. I'm not delusional like this guy.

    If you didn't RTFA, there's no need. It's just some Apple fanboi trying to find genius and conspiracy where there isn't any.

    Are you serious? Constricting developers because you're going to change the platform? Really? I wonder if the article author even believes this crap.

    Emulating a cpu you could just as easily install for real? Never mind going back to an architecture (POWER) that you've already EOL and that is wholly unsuited for the platform (high power consumption, high heat output).

    He's right that Apple is a story in vertical integration. They're doing it the same way Rockefeller did. They want to control the entire platform.

    • by Wovel (964431)

      I agree with most of your comments, but Power CPU architecture is still widely used in a wide range of shipping products.

    • by fermion (181285)
      Agreed. But the reality is that at some point Apple will change base hardware. Apple has never has any long term allegiance to a hardware platform. It will move to whatever hardware will let it run the software on pretty kit.

      On the embedded device, however, I can see that certain further restriction might be necessary to allow the software to be more or less independent of hardware. To go back the commonly presumed impetus for this discussion, Flash does not seem to be hardware independent by any stre

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ceoyoyo (59147)

      "Constricting developers because you're going to change the platform? Really?"

      That's actually not such a bad speculation. Apple HAS switched platforms before, and a key to that capability is having the apps written in XCode. It's not unlikely at all that they want to maintain the ability to switch the processor in the iPhone/iPad line, and they won't have to bother writing emulators if they can just tell all the app developers to recompile.

      Where the article goes off the rails is when he starts speculating

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 15, 2010 @10:35AM (#31857560)

    The article is interesting, but incorrect.

    Converting from to objective-C is fine for the purposes he's talking about (allowing the compiler to build to 'native', where 'native' can change over time.) If you have a language that is 1:1 with C/ObjC and easily translated (there are many), then this argument is entirely moot.

    (Further, its not just Flash we're talkin gabout.. BASIC, assembler, python, etc, are all impacted and outlawed (again.)) Heck, numerous games use ARM asm, which is now outlawed .. the ASM is to provide superior performance, as Xcode (gcc) is decent compiler, but no match for hand tooled assembly in 'just the right places'. (Don't argue this; compiles are great, but talk to emulation authors for ARM devices about dropping in a few lines of ASM :)

    So no, its not really about native compilation speed. Its about blocking non-Apple tools, with the pretend reason that Apple makes the best tools.

  • You can't be an end-all-be-all company and expect to be around long-term. Seems to me for a tech company to succeed in the long run, they need to focus on doing one thing *extremely* well. People expect Apple to trump their previous creations. Once the "oooo poniez!!" mentality wears off, and the kool-aid begins to taste like warm piss, people will want more-and-better. You can't keep doing that because technology does not evolve at the pace people want new gadgets. So, people get disillusioned, you push
    • No kidding: Apple -are- focusing on doing one thing extremely well: vertical integration. Look at the iPhone: the design, the hardware, the OS, the interface, the app store, the tie-in with mobile operators, connections to other services: none of it really stands out as truly innovative. And not all of it is of particularly high quality in itself, in fact some components are decidedly sucky. But it all comes together extremely well. Call it vertical integration, or controlling the platform as another /.
    • by ben_white (639603)

      You can't keep doing that because technology does not evolve at the pace people want new gadgets. So, people get disillusioned, you push out new products in hopes of quelling the whining and your products can't live up to their reputation. Maybe jobs is just planning on being relevant for 10 years, dunno.

      This reminds me of the joke of the two campers who are surprised at night by a bear. The first camper calmly begins putting on his shoes while the second one freaks out and begins to run screaming "those shoes won't help you outrun the bear." The first camper answers "I don't have to outrun the bear."

      Your statement is probably true. But if Apple is successful in vertical integration they can stay ahead of their competition in offering new and compelling devices, even if not quite up to consumer expect

    • by Bruha (412869)

      Do not forget Apple loves to make new hardware incompatible with older hardware. My Mac Pro can not run newer video cards. My only thinking at the time, is that GPU's become too slow over the long term, CPU is just fine still. We'll they prevented me from using the new cards even though they'd run fine in Windows on the same hardware.

      So I went out and built a more powerful machine than my Mac Pro, and I dont have to buy shiny new video cards, I just go SLI with a second one of the type I bought with the

  • TFA just doesn't read right -- if the iPads have dual Power CPUs, why hobble the machine with emulation that is later removed to give the fantastic jump? New products don't succeed that way.

    If the iPads have dual PPCs, then their OS & some key apps would be written for it. Along with an emulator for the [many] iPhone Apps which would probably run noticably slower than on iPhone/iTouch. A dual CPU is _not_ going to cover for ~10x emulation slowdown.

  • 1. Make a core that's too big to fuel speculation
    2. Seed the press with rumors of this from bloggers that get on /.
    3. ????
    4. PROFIT

  • by Telephone Sanitizer (989116) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @11:00AM (#31857978)

    http://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/Apple-A4-Teardown/2204/1 [ifixit.com]

    It's not a "dual core Power Architecture."

    According to the teardown, the chip is "quite similar to the Samsung processor Apple uses in the iPhone."

    iFixit concluded that it was a Cortex A8 in there and I've seen nothing to contradict that.

  • Wow (Score:5, Funny)

    by codeButcher (223668) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @11:02AM (#31858010)
    A4??? That IS really big for a die size. But why oh why not Legal, since Apple is American?
  • While the standard given reason is to kill competition from Flash and other stacks, this story speculates that the real reason has to do with the unusually large die size of the A4 processor inside the iPads.

    This isn't a great summary. To quote the article:

    This week Apple confined developers to a specific set of tools (XCode). A lot of people think this is to kill Adobe Flash. Sure, that is a tactical reason, but there are much broader strategic reasons. By telling developers to move to XCode tools, Apple i

  • by mswhippingboy (754599) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @11:25AM (#31858324)
    FTFA...

    people don’t see the true genius behind Steve Job’s vision and moves.

    Another day, another worship piece for Jobs. Could he be the Maitreya after all? http://www.share-international.org/maitreya/Ma_main.htm [share-international.org]

  • by Archangel Michael (180766) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @11:27AM (#31858358) Journal

    I believe this guy is onto something. However, I don't think he's gone far enough in his projections.

    Here's what I think. Apple realizes that processors are commodities. They have a tool chain that makes nicely optimized compiled code from multiple processors.

    Apple realizes that it cannot compete with WinTel, but even more than that, doesn't even want to. Wintel is strapped to ancient technologies and trying to break free from those techs (x86) has proven to be nearly impossible for all (Intel, Microsoft, AMD). They HAVE to keep backwards compatibility.

    Apple is going further towards abstraction away from the hardware for all things that don't need to depend on hardware, which will allow them to continue to move from platform to platform as one platform stagnates (Power) to one that is improving(x86). Now that x86 is stuck in between 32 and 64bit HELL, Apple is poised to move to a new platform architecture that isn't limited by 30+ years of legacy holding it back.

    In the end, Apple will be able to build or order chips from the people showing the best capabilities, no matter what they are. It is actually something that makes a lot more sense than holding onto 30 year old technology just for the sake of holding onto 30 year old technology.

    This is not a bad thing. This will break the WinTel monopoly. I believe Apple knows the endgame for this is here. Wintel used to be the commodity item, now it is a single vendor solution, and Apple is providing a better product that "Just Works" (tm), one that people are willing to pay a small premium for.

    This is why people like Taco make "lame" comments, because it isn't about Ghz, Giga, Tera or anything else, it is about being useful without being hassled. My wife doesn't care about specs, she cares about doing stuff, and it being easy.

    Would you buy a toaster based on wattage used, types of heater elements, what kind of processor is used for the timing mechanism? Or do you buy a toaster to make toast? Apple is making toasters; sealed appliances. And abstracting the function away from the hardware makes perfect sense, then the hardware matters less than functionality.

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