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Apple Hardware

A5: All Apple, Part Mystery 124

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the chips-and-dips dept.
PabloSandoval48 submitted a fairly lengthy story running on the EE Times about the A5 processor that powers the iPad 2. The story talks a bit about the A4 and A5, the IP issues surrounding the chip, and more. The real question now is what comes next.
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A5: All Apple, Part Mystery

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    The A6?

  • by MarcQuadra (129430) on Wednesday April 13, 2011 @11:53AM (#35808792)

    The real question now is what comes next.

    Here's a hint: It will be faster, and it will probably be called 'A6'. Just a guess.

  • by wiredog (43288) on Wednesday April 13, 2011 @11:56AM (#35808818) Journal

    The A6 Quattro?

  • Awful article (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 13, 2011 @11:58AM (#35808838)
    The authors of the article and the editor who approved it should be ashamed of themselves. Five pages saying exactly nothing.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      If I had mod points I'd vote you up in a second. That was one of the worst written things I've ever tried to read.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Ah, ah, ah. Not five pages saying exactly nothing. Five pages of saying exactly nothing about Apple. This makes it far more important and trendy than all the other pages of nothing in the world.

    • by oldhack (1037484)

      Mod the parent up - I ran out of mod points.

      That was five minutes of my life I'll never get back.

    • by thsths (31372)

      > Five pages saying exactly nothing.

      True. But if I also block CmdrTaco, there will not be anything left to read on Slashdot...

      And to be fair, usually his stories are at least worth looking at.

      • by BitZtream (692029)

        And to be fair, usually his stories are at least worth looking at.

        That was true a few years ago, now ... not so much.

    • by cfriedt (1189527)
      that's exactly what I thought.
    • Not really. The article says that the extra blocks in the A5 will probably be for video acceleration

    • Exactly. I was expecting to see a comparison between the A5 and the ARM A9. That would be an worthwhile comparison.
      • by hitmark (640295)

        The thing about ARM based chips is that unless we are talking Qualcomm or Marvell there is effectively zero difference. That is, as long as one is only looking at the cpu. The difference happens in that they are more often then not SoCs, and so have not just the cpu, but also the gpu and the chipset on the same physical chip. The differences between the products will be in the gpu and chipset features, and how they are interconnected (driving Torvalds up the wall in the process).

    • The authors of the article and the editor who approved it should be ashamed of themselves. Five pages saying exactly nothing.

      They did very little work and generated lots of ad views. They should be pumping their fists in the air with the Final Fantasy victory tune playing.

  • And after that? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Lunaritian (2018246) on Wednesday April 13, 2011 @12:02PM (#35808900)
    "The A[3+n] processor will be included in Apple iPad [n], which will be released in [2009+n]."

    I just saved you the trouble of thinking
  • Knowing apple.... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Lumpy (12016) on Wednesday April 13, 2011 @12:11PM (#35809040) Homepage

    In about 2 years a new line of Desktops and laptops will be announced that used the new A10 processor, this processor will be used to get rid of all those ooky older intel based devices by having the new OS not compatible with it. Thus purging the world of the old product forcibly. Just like how those disgusting old G5 quad core towers still linger about now...

    Using old hardware makes Jobs angry.... you wont like him when he's angry....

    • by grub (11606)

      Apple would be cutting its own throat to move the Mac line to non-Intel chips.

      They could include a simulator/emulator much like how Xcode already has. Or embed an A-whatever chip on the boards as a secondary processor for that type of thing.
    • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Wednesday April 13, 2011 @01:11PM (#35809778)
      The move to Intel was more for logistical reasons as opposed to a dick move to screw people. At the time both Motorola and IBM had problems supplying Apple with enough CPUs. Despite being a big name customer, Apple was really a small customer (in terms of volume) ordering a custom part for both companies. No one wants to carry excess inventory so when Apple kept ordering more chips the two companies had trouble keeping up. By switching to Intel, the supply of chips would be more reliable because the part was now a stock part. If Apple upped their forecasts and didn't end up buying chips, Intel could sell to one of their other customers.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        I thought it had to do with the fact that IBM etal couldn't build a low power version of the G5 that wouldn't melt a laptop. Leaving the Powerbook woefully underpowered compared to competing windows machines.

        • That and that they wanted Apple to take on more and more of the cost of developing new chips which were already lagging behind the x86 ones.Not enough parts. Not enough quality in the parts they were getting. Increasing costs with diminishing returns. They all added up to switching to the same chips that everybody else was using and went from a small customer using custom chips to the largest customer they had in a large market.
          • by mjwx (966435)

            That and that they wanted Apple to take on more and more of the cost of developing new chips which were already lagging behind the x86 ones.Not enough parts. Not enough quality in the parts they were getting. Increasing costs with diminishing returns.

            In other words. No money in it for IBM.

            Meanwhile, IBM had secured the contracts to build the processors for the Wii, Xbox360 and PS3. Apple became a very small fish.

        • Mobile chip performance was another reason but the underlying cause was the same. IBM could have competed with Intel on mobile if they were willing to put on time, effort, and money. The main reason they didn't was all of that R&D would be for one customer and a custom part. It wasn't as if IBM could have used that technology for many other customers.
        • by Relayman (1068986)
          Not couldn't but wouldn't.
      • by nobodie (1555367)

        MMM, the IBM part is a little off as I heard it: IBM made the P6, it rocked. But they had a number of customers for it, Sony, Nintendo, even MS as well as Apple. The talks with Apple broke down over how much IBM had to change it so that they could "sell" the whole chip to apple (including the IP) and then still sell the "P6" chip to other companies as well. Apple just wanted to own the whole thing, they didn't want to pay for the complete development of course. The final decision involved accepting the Inte

    • by Dan East (318230)

      In about 2 years a new line of Desktops and laptops will be announced that used the new A10 processor, this processor will be used to get rid of all those ooky older intel based devices by having the new OS not compatible with it.

      Using old hardware makes Jobs angry.... you wont like him when he's angry....

      I don't think it's very likely that Jobs will be around in 2 years, which regardless if you love him or hate him, will result in the tech industry being a little less interesting.

    • by ceoyoyo (59147)

      Yeah, Windows 7 won't run on my 486 either. Wah.

  • by teh31337one (1590023) on Wednesday April 13, 2011 @12:13PM (#35809058)

    There was however one recent article suggesting Apple implemented hardware video accelerators in the A4.

    The comment seemed almost too easy in light of the above discussion. If this is in fact true one might question whether this is somehow associated with Apple's stance on Flash for its iOS devices. However, such an accelerator would have been one of the digital blocks. Does this imply it was also present on the S5PC110?

    Yes, Samsung do have hardware video accelerators in their hummingbird processor. It supports mpeg4, H.264, H.263, Sorenson codec, DivX HD/ XviD, VC-1 and the video formats 3GP (MPEG-4), WMV (Advanced Systems Format), AVI (divx), MKV and FLV.

    • Well, of course you need HW video accelerators in both CPUs and GPUs. Thanks for pointing out the obvious.

      What people might not realize however is that this is the only way to Fast Forward video in digital format. VHS and Beta were easier since it was a mechanical process. The HW acceleration concept has yet to prove how they manage rewind. If I think back to my physics classes a negative HW accelerator would work but this would prove difficult to implement and doesn't sound like a value added feature peopl

  • Bored (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Tigger's Pet (130655) on Wednesday April 13, 2011 @12:35PM (#35809328) Homepage

    I've been a /. reader for over 8 years now and have noticed the change in the type of story discussed here. I keep seeing people saying things like "Why are we talking about FB - this is suppsed to be a techie site and we should discuss techie things". I tend to find myself agreeing with them most of the time.
    Then a story like this comes along - which should be "manna from heaven" for Nerds and Geeks and I try to read TFA - only to find myself yawning and giving up coz it's dry, tedious and badly written.
    I can't even win in an argument with myself anymore - must be a sign that I'm getting old.

  • Apple opens up a new plant in Brazil. Production could start as early as November. Perhaps then, we could see the new IPad 3.

    Source:
    Report: Apple Part Maker Foxconn to Open Brazil Plant [pcmag.com]

    • Apple opens up a new plant in Brazil. Production could start as early as November. Perhaps then, we could see the new IPad 3.

      Your reading ability seems rather low. The report that you quote says "Apple Part Maker Foxconn to Open Brazil Plant". Foxconn, not Apple. On the other hand, if that is indeed the title of the report, then that is clueless as well. Foxconn doesn't make parts for Apple. Foxconn assembles complete devices.

      • by BitZtream (692029)

        Foxconn doesn't make parts for Apple.

        No, Foxconn makes parts for A LOT of technology companies, not just Apple, and they also do some assembly of devices as well.

        I doubt you'll find a motherboard made that doesn't have Foxconn components on it like the back panel ports for instance are almost certainly Foxconn components regardless of who assembled your computer, yourself or Dell.

    • I don't see Apple releasing an iPad 3 just 8 months after releasing the iPad 2. They might release an iPad 2 with more storage in time for the holidays as this would require changing one chip on the board, but not a whole new product. At the moment Apple and their suppliers seem to have enough problems manufacturing enough iPad 2s much less starting a whole new line.
  • Since Apple's products seem to be merging somewhat... OS X Lion will incorporate some of the features from the iPad and iPhone... how fast do they think these "A chips" will get? Will they eventually replace Intel chips in whatever passes for an iMac one day? Will we see the day when Apple makes most of the parts that goes into their products themselves, rather than subbing out major systems? Will the PowerPC fanboys that so loudly cried foul! when Apple "sold out" and went to Intel rejoice? Is an ARM-based

  • Between A5 and its creator, Steve Jobs, who had to audacity to impress his own memory engrams on the new chip. Due to his ongoing "personal issues" the chip became unstable and slaughtered its opponents Motorola, Samsung, and RIMM. Jobs will remind A5 of how great they both are before playing dead and waiting for HP to join the fray...

    Jobs also made a point of sending his regards to Captain Dunsel. AKA Steve Ballmer.

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