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Intel Businesses Cellphones Handhelds Apple

Opinion: Apple Should Have Gone With Intel Instead of TSMC 229

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the smaller-better-way-more-expensive dept.
itwbennett writes "Apple is planning to have its ARM processors manufactured by TSMC — a move that blogger Andy Patrizio thinks is a colossal mistake. Not only is TSMC already over-extended and having trouble making deadlines. But Intel was clearly the better choice: 'Intel may be struggling in mobility with the Atom processors, but Intel does yields and manufacturing process migration better than anyone,' says Patrizio. 'While TSMC wrestles with 28nm and looking to 20nm, Intel is at 22nm now and moving to 14nm for next year. This is important; the smaller the fabrication design, the less power used.'"
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Opinion: Apple Should Have Gone With Intel Instead of TSMC

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  • Ultrabook II? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by symbolset (646467) *
    Remember when Intel took the MacBook air design and turned it into the Ultrabook reference design for its Wintel PC OEMs? Why would Apple not want that to happen again, only faster?
    • Re:Ultrabook II? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by gl4ss (559668) on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @01:29PM (#44178879) Homepage Journal

      Remember when Intel took the MacBook air design and turned it into the Ultrabook reference design for its Wintel PC OEMs? Why would Apple not want that to happen again, only faster?

      hmmrhh. that's not the reason. apple is still happy buying the latest and greatest from intel.
      the reason intel isn't fabbing arms is that they get better money out of fabbing haswell with their production capability.

      Apple nor anyone else wants to pay Intel enough to go back to fabbing arm cpu's. they made some top of the line arm's back in the day, but the real money in arm wasn't top end but the bottom end and they got better things to do with their fabs.

      • by symbolset (646467) *
        Intel execs have been saying they would go back to the future for the right partner. Apple is that partner. Somebody is going to fab Apple's chips and use the profits to invest in newer bigger fabs. Taking that food off their competitor's plate would be a win. With the PC downturn Intel has excess capacity and cutting edge silicon fabs depreciate rather quickly. But as I put above, giving your competitors too early a look blunts first mover advantage. That is why Apple is looking at TSMC in the first
        • Unless someone has the price that Intel quoted to Apple, all of this speculation is worthless. One would assume that Apple is smart enough to understand the advantages of 20nm over 28nm, and the technical superiority of Intel's fabs.

          One might reasonably assume that either Intel's terms, pricing, or both were the problem, not Apple understanding less about architectures than 'blogger Andy Patrizio'.

      • Re:Ultrabook II? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @02:00PM (#44179355)

        Apple nor anyone else wants to pay Intel enough to go back to fabbing arm cpu's. they made some top of the line arm's back in the day, but the real money in arm wasn't top end but the bottom end and they got better things to do with their fabs.

        Do you seriously think Apple is not fronting the cash for TSMC's upgraded fabs? Paying cash up front to suppliers so that it can get first access to the newest parts is one of Apple's key strategies and it's the reason Tim Cook got to be the CEO.

        If you ask me, Apple either knows something we don't about TSMC, or it wants to build TSMC up as a strategic move to counter Samsung, Qualcomm, Intel, and other companies.

    • Re:Ultrabook II? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by alen (225700) on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @01:32PM (#44178923)

      Ultrabooks have been around since the 90's. only thing that changed is that intel is now making decent ultra low voltage CPU's and they use flash memory instead of HDD. otherwise Sony used to make some PHB happy laptops in 2000 and 2001 that were thin. PHB's loved them for travel

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @01:37PM (#44178989)

      Remember when Intel took the MacBook air design and turned it into the Ultrabook reference design for its Wintel PC OEMs? Why would Apple not want that to happen again, only faster?

      What'd Intel do? Use rounded corners?

    • Re:Ultrabook II? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by asliarun (636603) on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @01:39PM (#44179035)

      Remember when Intel took the MacBook air design and turned it into the Ultrabook reference design for its Wintel PC OEMs? Why would Apple not want that to happen again, only faster?

      I disagree. Copying a form factor is not really copying design. That's a bit like saying that every hatchback car today is a copy of the original Japanese hatchbacks or whoever first produced the design. While it is true at one level, it is too simplistic a statement to make.

      Anyway - I think the biggest challenge for Intel is not its process technology (process shrinks are going to get a lot harder in every iteration, but that holds true for everyone - including Intel and probably more so for TSMC, Samsung, and others). It is actually not even an x86 vs ARM architecture thing - ARM architecture superiority has pretty much been debunked since Medfield's release.

      The biggest challenge for Intel, IMHO, is that it is simply not used to (and not geared for) SOCs. Intel has always designed and manufactured discrete chips whereas the entire mobile industry prefers, nay wants, highly integrated SOCs. This is the one aspect where Qualcomm kicks everyone's butt. To put it another way, Intel's fight is not with ARM or TSMC or AMD. Intel's fight today is with Qualcomm. Intel *needs* to get the same level of integration in its SOCs as Qualcomm - otherwise no one will want a bunch of discrete chips from Intel even if Intel shouts itself hoarse about how much better its chips are. And this goes for Apple as well. If Intel can give Apple an SOC that integrates the CPU, GPU, modems and other chips (I'm actually not an expert here but I would say things like DAC, GPS, etc. - anything that is not MEMS), I have a feeling that Apple will find it very hard to say "no".

      I don't mean to sound grand but I honestly feel that the future of semiconductors will be highly integrated one-chip SOC based solutions that are "cheap as chips".

      • Fascinating post, thanks.
      • I think that is probably why AMD is taking the direction they are... though on the lower end, their APU designs are pretty interesting, and I'm very interested to see if they come up with a platform beyond what the XBone and PS4 are getting.
  • Poor premise (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lunix Nutcase (1092239) on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @01:18PM (#44178689)

    Sounds like a silly premise. Who says Intel would even want to do it? Why would Intel want to go back into ARM fabrication when they are trying to beat ARM chips with Atom?

    • Re:Poor premise (Score:4, Insightful)

      by tnk1 (899206) on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @01:20PM (#44178729)

      Yeah sounds silly.

      On the other hand, why would Samsung want to make chips for Apple when Apple is suing them?

      The answer to all of these questions is money. Lots and lots of money.

      • Doubtful. Intel makes way more margins on their chips than third party fabs do when making chips for others. They'd only end up making less money.

      • Re:Poor premise (Score:5, Insightful)

        by iamhassi (659463) on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @01:38PM (#44179019) Journal
        The blogger's entire article is is based on hearsay, rumors and speculation. No quotes from Apple, TSMC, Intel or any other company he mentioned in the article. No facts at all in the article. Maybe Intel turned Apple down? Maybe we should trust the judgement of a billion dollar company like Apple over a silly blogger's opinion? I'm sure there's many great reasons Apple didn't choose Intel.
      • As opposed to altruism, which we enlightened ones understand is what truly drives business and economy.

        One day, Apple will learn. Till then they will have to be content with earning gobs of money and being fairly successful.

    • Re:Poor premise (Score:5, Insightful)

      by BasilBrush (643681) on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @01:29PM (#44178873)

      The silliest premise is that some blogger knows more about the issues with different chip fabs than Apple does. For that blogger to say Apple made a mistake, before we've seen any results from the deal? Stupid. Simply click bait.

      • Re:Poor premise (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Macman408 (1308925) on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @04:44PM (#44181599)

        +1 to this...
        Intel has great foundries and process engineers, and they have been pretty consistently ahead of TSMC and other foundries. There are also a million reasons to NOT use Intel. For one, there is no way Apple will ever be Customer #1 at Intel - Intel will always always ALWAYS be customer #1 at their own fabs. If there's limited capacity, Apple would lose out to Intel. TSMC might not be willing to put Apple on a pedestal over all their other customers, but they at least won't be 2nd place to anybody - in a limited-capacity situation, Apple would get a fair share of some sort, rather than zero.

        There's also an argument to be made for spreading the wealth around; Intel got their leadership position because everybody bought CPUs from them, giving them huge piles of cash to invest in R&D, making it hard for everybody else (eg AMD) to compete because they don't have the process advantage that Intel does.

        Also, TSMC isn't a competitor, but Intel is trying to be with their mobile chips. TSMC sells fab space to whoever wants it, but they don't make any chips or sell any devices. Intel isn't quite a direct competitor with Apple, but there may be some desire to not give them any more profits that could be used to fund R&D of mobile chips/devices that could be used by Apple's competitors. The revenue TSMC earns will go into further process R&D, since that's their only business.

        So there are all kinds of reasons to not use Intel for fab, even assuming that they would offer it to Apple.

    • by Rockoon (1252108)

      Sounds like a silly premise. Who says Intel would even want to do it?

      ..or would use one of their 22nm FABS for it?

      Seems to me that Intel charges a high premium for all 22nm-based chips, so they wouldnt use a 22nm fab without getting big bucks in return.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Guspaz (556486)

      There's a lot of misinformation in these comments...

      1) Intel does have a foundry business. They will make chips for third parties. They call this "Intel Custom Foundry", and they've already got clients using ARM chips (Netronome for example).

      2) Apple is a huge potential customer, to the extent that Intel doesn't currently have enough foundry capacity to make both their own chips and Apple's chips (Apple sells almost as many iOS devices as Intel does chips). Getting the contract to make Apple's SoCs would be

      • You can bet that Intel would rather that THEY were manufacturing Apple's ARM chips than TSMC.

        Me too. I would love to see more merchant fab in the US. I'm tired of it going overseas, and Intel is consistently ahead of everyone else in fab tech.

        This also proves what a crock comparative advantage is (with the possible exception of things like agriculture). Since the US has some of the highest labor costs in the world, we should have a comparative advantage in capital intensive industries with high value added per worker. There are few things that's more true of than fabs, but more and more fab capacit

      • by dgatwood (11270)

        You can bet that Intel would rather that THEY were manufacturing Apple's ARM chips than TSMC.

        I wouldn't be so sure. You're missing two things:

        • Volume. Intel has a foundry business. However, from what I've read, most of its customers are small, fabless chipmakers that deal in fairly low volume. Apple is not a small, fabless chipmaker. In fact, without doing the math, I rather suspect it to be one of the world's largest fabless chipmakers. Apple sold something on the order of 300 million iOS devices las
    • by Sir_Sri (199544)

      That's pretty much it. It's not in Intels long term strategic interest to have ARM chips fabbed on the best possible process, that would make them look more competitive with Intel processors. If they had massive surplus capacity in an older process then sure, I suppose they could sell that to someone, but why not just sell the equipment and move the people on to better things?

    • by Shoten (260439)

      Sounds like a silly premise. Who says Intel would even want to do it? Why would Intel want to go back into ARM fabrication when they are trying to beat ARM chips with Atom?

      Good point...and there's another thing the blogger doesn't seem to really understand: that far and above, the heaviest source of power consumption in a tablet or smartphone isn't the processor, but the screen. By a very large margin, at that. Sure, you can save power by going with a tinier fab scale, but it's getting near the point of diminishing returns, and logic that throttles usage in different ways has been giving better returns anyways when it comes to processing.

      As for TSMC being overextended, that a

    • by Andy Dodd (701)

      Yeah... Altera is the first company that Intel has sold excess manufacturing capacity to in years (if ever?), and in that case, Altera's primary products are in a market that does not compete with Intel's at all, and if anything, complements Intel's products in some cases.

      Intel selling manufacturing for a competing CPU design is highly unlikely.

      It appears that Intel primarily scales their fabs to meet only their own demand - there is only extra if one of their product lines experiences significantly less d

  • by Kenja (541830)
    People are buying the platform, and it only comes from one vendor. It's not like with Android where you can compare different hardware specs. Apple will produce a single product at a given price point with a given set of hardware specs, and that's what people will buy. Not saying this is a good or bad thing, just that it's a thing.
    • by DaHat (247651)

      Apple is the most keen to come out and say "this is our greatest _____ we've ever built" while touting the longer battery life, faster CPU speed, etc (yes many companies say similar, however Apple is the most explicit I've ever seen).

      Apple also has a history of pushing limits and going for the best components they can... so the choice of TSMC over Intel does seem odd.

      Note the above is being said by a PC only person.

      • Hit submit too soon... replace "greatest" with "best"... I forgot my Apple lingo for a moment.

      • by gl4ss (559668)

        but apple will say it about anything. regardless of what it actually is.

        but look at it this way, have you seen intel doing massive discounts on their cpu's lately? do they seem like they have plenty of excess capacity? would apple pay the same for a manufactured soc as they are paying for a haswell? no.

    • by icebike (68054)

      Yes the CPU matters.

      Especially switching from something like ARM to something like Atom. That is a big switch. Its not as simple as just recompiling the Operating System. There are all sorts of hardware differences to deal with.

      Stepping from one ARM CPU to the next ARM CPU is a much smaller step.

      That is why Apple won't switch to an Intel design at this time. It would set them back over a year. (I wouldn't be surprised to find Apple hard at work with Intel chips in their skunk works).

      While you are correct

      • While you are correct that there are some people who will buy it regardless of what it built with, those days are fading, as many people are fed up with the slow pace of change in the Apple phone arena, and Apple wouldn't want to incur the delay penalty of a switch, when they can accomplish the same goals with their current hardware.

        Many pundits are fed up with the "slow" pace of change in the Apple phone arena, because they need new clickbait twice a day. I have yet to hear from anyone who actually owns an iPhone that they're anything of the kind. Most people buy a new phone every 2 years or less frequently. The current iPhone is a significant improvement over the 2-year-old iPhone I have now.

        Or are you trying to say that "many people" know or care about things like NFC, fingerprint scanners, or other check-boxable features that most

        • by the_B0fh (208483)

          Are you trying to use common sense and logic? On the Internet? Here at Slashdot? What did I tell you about doing that again??!

      • The CPU alone does not matter at all. It might be the infrastructure around it.
        Since 5 or more decades the "CPU problem" is tackled by the compiler. Yes, compiling C or C++ for one CPU or the other is as simple as switching the compiler. Seems you missed that innovation.

        • That only means the source can be the same (or at least have a few differences, dealt with by #ifdefs). But the fact that the executable binaries are incompatible does make for all sorts of things that matter. Fat binaries. Incompatibilities. Emulators. Using byte-code systems rather than native. All sorts of things. It's doable - Apple's done it twice on the Mac. But its certainly not without issues. It certainly does matter.

          Android manages to exist on multiple CPUs. But then it's also one of the most frag

          • by tlhIngan (30335)

            Android manages to exist on multiple CPUs. But then it's also one of the most fragmented systems there is, with developers deciding not to develop for it as a result. So that's no advert.

            Android supports 3 architectures - ARM, x86, and MIPS.

            Of the three, ARM is most prevalent on practically all smartphones out there. x86 is pushed heavily by Intel, but exists on a tiny miniscule amount of phones (one from Motorola for Asia, and a couple of other bit players), and Intel has to bundle in an ARM emulator to at

      • by alen (225700)

        i have an iphone 5 and a Galaxy S3 that i use both daily. there isn't one thing my iphone doesn't do that i do with my Galaxy that is paid for by my employer

        there is no slow pace of change with apple since the other guys aren't doing anything spectacular either.

    • by Shoten (260439)

      People are buying the platform, and it only comes from one vendor. It's not like with Android where you can compare different hardware specs. Apple will produce a single product at a given price point with a given set of hardware specs, and that's what people will buy. Not saying this is a good or bad thing, just that it's a thing.

      This is only true because of continual improvement by Apple, however. Reputation does have a certain momentum (or, if it's a bad reputation, inertia) but it's not a perpetual motion machine. Produce a platform that performs badly, and people will notice; there aren't enough fanbois out there to keep Apple in the green if they produce a substandard product. And to be honest, I don't think that people know how to compare standards anymore between competing platforms in the same product space anyways. It

    • Yeah, but if they can't meet production and stores are sold out people will look for alternatives. Or if they have issues and a bunch of devices come DOA they're going to have bad press and people will look for alternatives. You seem to be under the impression that the market is for iDevices, which is certainly true for some of their customers, but many others will jump ship if they think the alternatives might be better.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @01:21PM (#44178737)

    Intel supplies most of Apple's CPUs, yes?

    To give one supplier most or all of your business gives them a HUGE advantage over you.

    Just look at what happened to everyone who tied their business to Microsoft or IBM.

    This is a business strategy issue - not a tech one.

    Personally, I think Apple should take their cash and make their own processors, allowing for their OS to have a firmware component and thereby boosting performance and security.

    • by jythie (914043)
      There is that possibility too. Never underestimate the value of having a business relationship already in place with an alternative to your biggest vendor.
    • by Chas (5144) on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @01:53PM (#44179259) Homepage Journal

      Personally, I think Apple should take their cash and make their own processors, allowing for their OS to have a firmware component and thereby boosting performance and security.

      No. Even Apple isn't THAT stupid.

      There are well established players in the fab market. Why the hell would Apple spend years and BILLIONS, breaking into, then playing "catch up", getting an "also ran" up and going?

      The company's FAR more agile this way.
      One major issue on a prospective fab line (that they own themselves) could set them back years and uncountable quantities of money.
      If that happens with a fab partner, they just go and shop their business around to another fab.

      Then there's the fact that Apple just flat out DOES NOT WANT that kind of low-level engineering business. They a boutique "gadget" supplier. And they really don't want to be anything else.

    • by Guy Harris (3803)

      Intel supplies most of Apple's CPUs, yes?

      Intel supplies all of the CPUs used in Apple's desktop and laptop computers, yes.

      Personally, I think Apple should take their cash and make their own processors

      Is that "Apple should take their cash and build their own foundries" or "Apple should take their cash and buy an existing foundry"? In either case, it's "Apple should continue to invest in foundries to update to new processes", and, in either case, I'm not sure how easy that would be.

      Or is that "Apple should do their own chip designs"? Anandtech suspects they're already doing that. [anandtech.com]

      allowing for their OS to have a firmware component

      If by "firmware component" you mean on-chip

  • by mozumder (178398) on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @01:22PM (#44178753)

    They make their own chips, and you buy what they make.

    Apple isn't going to be able to get Intel to fab their custom chips for them. That isn't Intel's business model.

    Intel sells their own CPUs. They don't sell your CPUs.

    They just happen to have the best fabs.

    • by alen (225700)

      last year there were stories floating around that Intel wants to go into the foundry business. only because their manufacturing is so efficient that especially with the new processes being able to turn out so many CPU's per wafer they will have spare space in their fabs not producing revenue

    • by Guspaz (556486) on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @01:38PM (#44179013) Homepage

      Intel *is* a foundry. They make chips for third parties. They have a whole "Intel Custom Foundry" division dedicated to this. They make chips for Cisco, Netronome, Altera, etc. Some of those chips even have ARM processors.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Yes, Intel is a foundry. And yes, they have customers (I believe it's up to 5 right now). But, ask yourself this question: How many of those customers have successfully taped out working designs?

        The answer: one (I won't say who but you can probably find out). And they aren't selling their parts yet.

        There is a reason that Apple chose TSMC... Intel's level of support for their foundry business is poor right now. It turns out that their fancy process is a bitch to design for. Which makes sense since
      • Intel *is* a foundry. They make chips for third parties. They have a whole "Intel Custom Foundry" division dedicated to this. They make chips for Cisco, Netronome, Altera, etc. Some of those chips even have ARM processors.

        Intel is inching into the foundry business. [electronicsweekly.com]
        They are *not* making chips for Altera. They have a deal with Altera to make chips at 14nm but Intel doesn't even have a production 14nm process yet. The Cisco deal was only signed in January. No word on when they expect to ship. Their shipping customers (Achronix, Tabula, Netronome) are all startups with limited volumes. Apple needs huge volume. I don't think Intel is ready for that yet.

    • by optikos (1187213)
      If Intel has ceased be a foundry to 3rd-parties' custom silicon, then someone had better tell Intel's first foundry customer: Achronix [achronix.com] FPGAs, currently the first 20nm FPGAs on the planet and on track to perhaps be the first 14nm FPGAs on the planet.
  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @01:25PM (#44178801)

    Intel's high end fabs are tasked to capacity with their own chips near as I know. They are probably not interested in taking on outside orders for ARM chips.

    Now I suppose Apple could switch over to x86, but I doubt they'd be willing to do that given that they own a big stake in ARM. Also at this point Intel doesn't have x86 processors suitable for phones. They may make such a thing in the future but they do not now.

    So ya, Intel would be the best option... if they were an option. They have fabs above and beyond anyone else, they spend billions in R&D on it and as such are nearly always a node ahead and have good yields. However, their fabs are for them. Their 22nm fabs are busily cranking out Haswell and Ivy Bridge chips. They are not for rent for cranking out ARM chips, unless something has changed since last I looked.

    • IF the Atom processor is the wrong processor for Apple, regardless of the market Intel curently demands, Intel will correct any problems. They're big, but not too big to listen to their biggest customers.
      • I would guess the main problem for Atom is that the power consumption is higher than ARM. Intel is working on this but after many years they still are not quite as power efficient as ARM. Maybe in the future it will be comparable. But not now.
    • by HardYakka (265884)

      Of course it is an option.

      Intel's profits have been sagging for a few years due to the drop in PC sales, which is their core business. They have been unsuccessful for the most part in cracking the mobile device marker despite a lot of effort.

      Investors have been pushing management to take some of their world class factories and make money fabbing chips for other companies, something that would have a big impact on their bottom line since their manufacturing technology is a generation ahead of everyone else

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Intel's high end fabs are tasked to capacity with their own chips near as I know. They are probably not interested in taking on outside orders for ARM chips.

      No, what they are interested in is taking on outside technology. They'd want the right to make their own chips based on Apple's technology, whether they licensed or created it being irrelevant. Intel has never been able to make an ARM chip worth beans. XScale was fast, but it was power-hungry; it scaled up but not down. They won't be interested in fabbing for Apple alone, they'll want to be actively involved in production of a chip which they will then fab for Apple. That might actually be necessary to util

  • Going with Intel would have been too expensive and would have been a terrible conflict of interest. Intel would gain early access to all their designs and could use it against them with their atom designs. They were avoiding the same situation they were previously in with Samsung. At first Samsung didn't really compete with Apple but things radically changed and using them as a foundry gave Samsung early access to Apple designs. Intel might not really compete with Apple now in mobile but that is surely
  • Is that apple is saving money per chip by going with TSMC. I don't know that its true, but companies always have a strong motivation to attack the bottom line rather than go for quality. Steve Jobs was exceptional because he wanted quality in his products even if they ended up costing more. The exceptional part being that he was good at resisting the lure of cheaper components.
  • From the article: "While TSMC wrestles with 28nm and looking to 20nm, Intel is at 22nm now and moving to 14nm for next year. "
    TSMC's 28nm process is, in fact, widely considered a big success. Although it didn't ramp up initially, quite as a fast as their customers wanted, that only lasted a few months at start of 2012. Look a bit closer you see changing nodes has problems for all manufactures (even Intel).
    20nm is in fact ahead of schedule. The likes of Altera are going to have to wait 2 years before they st

    • I think that 28 nm is actually a reason why Apple went with TSMC instead of Intel. Samsun is expected to have their 28 nm line up soon so Apple will have two suppliers for their chips. If Apple went with Intel they are at the mercy of one supplier. As far as I know Intel is using their 22 nm lines on Ivy Bridge and Haswell not ARM. They do make ARM chips but use other (older) lines.
      • by 0123456 (636235)

        I think that 28 nm is actually a reason why Apple went with TSMC instead of Intel. Samsun is expected to have their 28 nm line up soon so Apple will have two suppliers for their chips.

        That's like suggesting Apple go with AMD for their desktops and laptops because they'd have Intel as a second supplier if AMD screwed them around, while Intel were so far ahead of AMD in the CPU market that if they picked Intel they'd have no other choice.

  • Apple could buy or merge with Intel, and then announce "x86, end of life, ten years. Merry Christmas, AMD." That would be the end of Microsoft, since nobody ever wanted Windows on anything other than x86.

    Meanwhile, if Apple used Intel's fab for all of their processors, they could reduce their power consumption at a much faster pace than they're already doing. I'd love to get 20 hours of operation per charge from an iPad.

    -jcr

  • "Apple is planning to have its ARM processors manufactured by TSMC — a move that blogger Andy Patrizio thinks is a colossal mistake.

    Why would Intel want to manufacture ARM processors? They might make some money in the short term but the real profits are in owning the intellectual property behind the design. Intel would basically be subsidizing their biggest competitor. It would be akin to asking Microsoft to start their own linux distro or like Apple switching to Android. It makes their product undifferentiated and kills their margins.

    Intel always has the option to start making ARM processors in the future but they'd be pretty fooli

    • "Wait, did someone suggest Apple should switch to Android? That's a great idea for a new article!" - John Dvorak Cringley.
  • Intel gets high margins on much the x86 line. What on earth makes this douche assume that Intel would be willing to accept Samsung's margins in order to enable Apple to shift even more of the consumer market away from x86???

  • Oh they don't. Then why would they manufacture for Apple? Intel's real edge is not processor design, it's manufacturing know-how. Watch PBS's Silicon Valley and understand that Intel is less about designing great processors and more about beating the competition with better processor fabrication. Intel is at least 12 months ahead of everyone and so why would they give that lead up for Apple.

  • by GrBear (63712) on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @02:21PM (#44179681)

    I love the summary.. some random dude (blogger) that writes stories on the Internet has an opinion and thinks mega-billion company is making a mistake.. and this is news on Slashdot nowadays.

    How low Slashdot has fallen..

  • Intel *does* make custom chips for outside people, contrary to what some people are saying. They sub out spare capacity, especially in older fabs. They just don't make them on their newest foundry processes (the ones that would be actually useful to a company like Apple) for a variety of reasons, the chief one being the newest processes are generally full to capacity. Even if there were some space available it wouldn't be near enough to satisfy Apple's demand for A-series chips. You have to remember, an A-s

  • the smaller the fabrication design, the less power used

    Ummm, no. The smaller the design the more leakage current you get and the more power is wasted as heat. Who is this idiot that wrote this completely clueless "opinion"? Intel does have a foundry unit, but they don't make lots the size that Apple would need with the fabs that Apple would want to use. The third parties aren't getting lots on 10 million finished parts per quarter at 22nm from Intel. Not unless those third parties are buying Intel branded parts.

  • I want workstation class ARM processors back. 16 core 4 processor behomith Motherboards to give us on the desk the performance we should have had a decade ago.

  • ITW bennett

    Fuck me slashdot's editors are lazy.

  • Yes, I'm sure that the (more or less) biggest company in the world, currently being run by the operations guy who helped them reach record-setting levels of profit in the last decade, did not do their homework when evaluating manufacturing partners. Thanks, random blogger guy, I'm sure they'll straighten all their shit out post-haste!

    Or maybe, just maybe, the guy who runs one of the most successful companies on the planet and earns more in a year than you and your family could earn in ten lifetimes, actuall

  • by organgtool (966989) on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @03:01PM (#44180271)
    The processor industry is full of players who spend billions of dollars trying to make marginal gains in performance. Spending tons of money on R&D for new processors makes sense if you're selling those processors to lots of other mobile electronics manufacturers, but it doesn't make sense when you're simply hoarding them for your own products. It especially doesn't make sense considering nobody is buying iPhones because of their processor specs, let alone the fact that Apple produces their own chips. Apple would be better off using commodity hardware and spending their money on improving other areas of the user experience. But since I have turned against Apple over the past few years, I'm just fine with watching them make costly mistakes. From what I've been reading, quality control at TSMC has been somewhat questionable and Apple is asking a lot from them to make these new chips with cutting-edge fab processes at a high volume and with minimal defects. I have a feeling this decision will cause trouble for Apple in the future and all of this is a result of Apple trying to punish Samsung in their childish feud.
  • by ChrisMaple (607946) on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @04:10PM (#44181141)

    Many people are posting as if Intel would be involved in chip design (for example: "Intel doesn't want to make ARMs."). Intel would be acting only as a foundry: Apple does the design work, sends Intel a set of files specifying mask geometry; Intel makes masks and fabricates the chips.

    The questions thus become, who has good enough technology and who is a reliable supplier? If Apple doesn't need the finest tech that only Intel can provide, then using Intel isn't necessary.

    TSMC having production capacity limits can be a problem, and it's likely to have delayed deliveries in a crunch. But foundry is their only business, not producing is not an option. Intel on the other hand, can decide "we need all foundries for internal use. Make your lifetime orders now; no new business will be accepted." 33 years ago (the only information I have, from a then-Reticon employee) was that this was a substantial risk in dealing with Intel as a fab.

Porsche: there simply is no substitute. -- Risky Business

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