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Intel To Build Next Gen Processor For iOS Devices 255

BogenDorpher writes "It looks like Apple will be using Intel as a main processor manufacturer to power the iPad, iPod touch, and the iPhone. Apple, who currently uses Samsung, will focus on making a switch to Intel within a year."
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Intel To Build Next Gen Processor For iOS Devices

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  • Retribution (Score:4, Informative)

    by Hardhead_7 ( 987030 ) on Tuesday May 03, 2011 @10:32AM (#36010592)
    Apple hasn't been happy with Samsung launching android phones, and this is how they're showing their displeasure.
    • by jo42 ( 227475 )

      April 1st was last month.

    • by smash ( 1351 )

      or, you know... could just be that they want to support a single architecture to make debugging and porting code between OS X and IOS a whole shitload easier.

      Could be interesting if they have a cut down x86/x64 based console coming out - cross platform IOS/OS X apple games anyone?

      • by imgod2u ( 812837 )

        I don't think they're switching to x86. Rather, Intel will be fabbing ARM chips again.

    • by Locutus ( 9039 )
      I'd been wondering about that too but this is lunacy if that is why they are moving from ARM to Intel x86. What could Intel possibly show them to make the move( can't RTFA since it's /.'ed )? So far, Intel gets close to ARM on power usage but every time it is by using their most advanced/smallest processing methods and that means most expensive. Now I guess Apple and shave off some profits to pay Intel more for their chips and we know Apple has the numbers to play there so maybe that's the deal. Customers
      • by Locutus ( 9039 )
        I still can't read the article but read other posts explaining it's not x86 for Apple it's about Intel process usage and foundries. This could be a very big win for Apple and Intel. Intel is down to 22nm now and must know that it's getting tougher and tougher to make significant process shrinks and eventually the number of cores will be the game.

  • by motang ( 1266566 ) on Tuesday May 03, 2011 @10:32AM (#36010594)
    I wonder if they has anything to do with the Samsung and Apply suing each other
    • Captain Obvious says yes.
  • Compatible? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mwvdlee ( 775178 ) on Tuesday May 03, 2011 @10:35AM (#36010622) Homepage

    I thought Intel only did x86/64 and Samsung didn't do either. Is this another PowerPC->Intel type move from Apple or am I missing something (quite likely)?

    • by xswl0931 ( 562013 ) on Tuesday May 03, 2011 @10:49AM (#36010868)

      This is about using Intel as a fab producing Apple's A5 chips, not Apple switching to an Intel based chip

    • Re:Compatible? (Score:4, Informative)

      by larry bagina ( 561269 ) on Tuesday May 03, 2011 @10:50AM (#36010882) Journal
      Intel used to do ARM (the StrongARM, which was sold to Marvell). Samsung manufactures the A4 and A5 chips, which Apple designed. The EE times article claimed intel was interested in manufacturing the A4/A5/An+1 chips for Apple, not that Apple is switching to x86.
      • by x1n933k ( 966581 )
        Thank you parent for clearing up that nonsense so I didn't have to RTFA. However, by switching to Intel won't that also drive the cost up considerably?
    • FTFA:

      ''Based on a number of inputs, we believe Intel is also vying for Apple's foundry business,'' said Gus Richard, an analyst with Piper Jaffray & Co., in a new report.

      Intel may not be necessarily designing the chips. Apple could have gone with any other foundry such as TSMC, GlobalFoundries, etc.

      • process (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Gary W. Longsine ( 124661 ) on Tuesday May 03, 2011 @11:02AM (#36011020) Homepage Journal
        It appears from casual googling, that Intel could make the A5 using a smaller process size than the current ARM manufacturers are able to produce.
        • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Tuesday May 03, 2011 @04:14PM (#36015612)

          Intel spends massive amounts on fab R&D and as a result are usually a node (generation) ahead of everyone else. Intel has had 32nm online and working for quite some time now. All Sandy Bridge chips are 32nm, many gen 1 Core i series laptops are 32nm, and so on.

          Other fabs are catching up, GF will probably have 32nm chips coming out fairly soon for AMD, but Intel has been doing it for a long time, has scaled things up and has it working well. Also they are already building their 22nm fabs.

          Only time Intel got outdone to an extent was with some companies doing a 40nm half-node. TSMC scaled down the 45nm process to 40nm and it is what all the GPU makers use now. Fine but it was fraught with problems and took a long time to get it working right and producing in volume. By that time Intel had 32nm parts on the market.

          Same thing may happen again, a number of companies like TSMC are looking at skipping 32nm and going for a 28nm half node, based on 32nm scaled down. If they get that producing this year as they think they can, then they'll temporarily be ahead of Intel until Intel brings 22nm online.

          However over all, Intel is always ahead on this shit. They spend a lot of money to stay that way.

      • by LWATCDR ( 28044 )

        I tried to read the article but got a blank page. I can see this conversation going like this.
        Intel: Your happy with the X86 on the desktop so how about using it in your mobile products.
        Apple: No.
        Intel: How about we us our fabs to make your chips smaller, faster, and more power efficient then?
        Apple: Maybe, you may kiss the Holy ring of Steve and leave now.
        Just kidding about the last part. Actually Intel is probably really regretting selling off the StrongARM line. In many ways Intel is not in a great posit

    • Re:Compatible? (Score:5, Informative)

      by 0100010001010011 ( 652467 ) on Tuesday May 03, 2011 @10:59AM (#36010996)

      Intel does what ever you pay them to make. The have a ton of fab shops. I'm sure if you had enough leverage and handed them a chip spec, you could get them to build PPC RISC processors too.

      Apple comes in, says "We're going to want X millon of these A5s, and BTW I'm sure AMD would be more than glad to supply us with these chips AND the chips for our next laptops & desktops, your call."

      • by Kjella ( 173770 )

        Apple comes in, says "We're going to want X millon of these A5s, and BTW I'm sure AMD would be more than glad to supply us with these chips AND the chips for our next laptops & desktops, your call."

        Intel says "lol go ahead". AMD need Bulldozer to come out soon, Intel stumbled in the Sandy Bridge release but they've been shipping again a while now and AMDs lineup is now the weakest in years. Right now the aging Phenom II doesn't even compete well against Intel's 200$ processors, the X6 is really the only high-end chip worth buying today. That is AMD's high end, Intel's high end is way out of AMDs range, but then your wallet will bleed to because Intel right now essentially has a monopoly on that segmen

      • by dbc ( 135354 )

        "Intel does what ever you pay them to make." -- Well, no, yes, and no. Intel does have a ton of fab. But Intel tends to be fab limited most of the time, running them all flat out. Intel runs whatever parts yield highest gross margin per wafer. Beginning and end of story. Projects from inside Intel that fall below a certain threshold are forced to use outside fab. Gross margin per wafer is king. Atom is cheap, but a tiny part, which is the only way it works in the Intel world model. And Intel doesn't

      • I'm not sure GloFo (AMD) wanted the business, though.

        I have friends at Freescale and all were VERY happy when Apple went to Intel. Apple bargains with their suppliers like Wal-Mart does. Short-term contracts,cut the price to the bone. Freescale decided it was no longer worth developing and manufacturing CPUs for Apple with minimal returns. I imagine the situation with Samsung is the same.

        Intel is probably currently the only mfr that can supply at a price Apple wants to pay and still make a high enough A

    • Re:Compatible? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Pinky's Brain ( 1158667 ) on Tuesday May 03, 2011 @11:03AM (#36011034)

      Intel has roughly 2 years head start on the rest of the industry, process wise. Especially with computational lithography they are light years ahead of everyone else, and this is a critical technology to keep scaling immersion lithography ... which is necessary because EUV is very late. Because of patents they will probably not lose this lead up till EUV breaks through.

      It would be foolish not to convert that lead into foundry business if they have spare capacity, or given just how fucking late EUV is they might even build extra fabs and take everyone's lunch. Not healthy for the industry ...

    • We will see when the iphone 5 is out. Intel has promised super low power x86 for a while but didnt really deliver so far.
      They might also just make some ARM cpus based on Apple's specs.

      That said the x86 way would be of course more interesting. Especially if it's actually more efficient than arm somehow. Magic. ;-)

  • Intel makes more than one kind of CPU. The site appears slashdotted, but I very seriously doubt is will be based upon the x86 series of processors. Plus it could be that Apple is going to use Intel fabrication facilities to make the A6 chip (or whatever it's called). They eat too many amp-hours.
  • Maybe the i* will get Intel's on chip graphic card included in the deal. That could be a killer feature.
  • Its likely Intel would be a contract manufacturer in this case, just manufacturing Apple's custom designed processor. Not something Intel would usually embrace, but with their current impotence in the mobile market, it may be the best they can hope for. They keep Apple close and get back in the ARM game (indirectly). Apple gets world class fabs from someone who isn't directly competing with them at retail.

  • by boristdog ( 133725 ) on Tuesday May 03, 2011 @10:52AM (#36010908)

    When Apple switched to Intel chips a few years back, I remembered all the venom spewed toward Intel by all my Apple-obsessed friends over the previous 20 years.

    Now they cherish their Intel chips. But they still bash MS. Why, I got an Outlook e-mail from one of my Apple friends just yesterday, sending me a Powerpoint presentation he had made on his Mac, with a funny joke about how lame MS is.

    I had no problem opening it in OpenOffice on my AMD-powered CentOS box.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 03, 2011 @11:17AM (#36011216)

      That's somewhat oversimplified.

      For years there were a lot of advantages to the PowerPC chips. They were fast, energy efficient, had nice extensions like AltiVec and so forth. RISC was seen as inherently better than older instruction sets like x86. Heck, all the computer architecture classes I taught in school taught MIPS, etc. Given backing by IBM et al, the PowerPC line was believed to be able to quickly scale up.

      By the end of the G4 era of PowerMacs and certainly by the G5 era, the writing was on the wall. New processors weren't coming out fast enough. They weren't scaling fast enough. Breakthroughs in x86 chips brought about a renaissance of CISC. It was time to find something else.

      None of that negates the fact that for a lot of the run of PowerPC macs, their processors were highly competitive (at worst, if not better) than x86 chips in many ways.

    • by fermion ( 181285 )
      I don't cherish my intel chips. I don't cherish what Apple has felt they had to do to prevent Mac OS from being used on junk machines, which has been universally bad. I do like the fact that I can run Ubuntu or MS Windows Vista on my mac faster than most machines built for MS Windows.

      I believe Intel became acceptable for two reasons. First, the PC and MS Windows really did not provide a market for high end products, so I think Intel became more willing to expand beyond the WinTel monopoly. Second, t

  • Samsung is a vast conglomerate of many businesses in many sectors. The people who make the phones so not share a cafeteria with the people who make the processors, and more importantly the people who make the phones don't always buy their processors from Samsung.

  • ...Apptel? Inpple?
  • early 2012 Intel is going to release 22nm CPU's. Almost every ARM SoC is 45nm. the power and performance improvements are huge. i bet Intel will just fab the A6 CPU instead of Samsung.

    or maybe there is a secret Atom 22nm CPU coming soon that will be a lot more power efficient

    • by imgod2u ( 812837 )

      2012 is the release schedule for 28nm ARM SoC's. Intel's processes are still way ahead, of course, since they've already moved into several generations of HKMG.

  • They are not switching to Intel processors. They are letting Intel build their processors. Big difference.

    They will just probably use Intel's advanced 22nm technology to build processors based on ARM architecture. Something they might also design themselves.

    Much like GlobalFoundries is not AMD, they just manufacture AMD products.

  • by UnknowingFool ( 672806 ) on Tuesday May 03, 2011 @11:21AM (#36011240)
    Who ever posted the story left out the "?" from the original submitter which changes the entire context of the article. The article itself is a speculation based on what Intel is rumored to want to do. There is not a confirmation that they are going to fab Apple's iOS chips.
  • Maybe they are planning to switch to Windows like Nokia did?
  • for fans of Android! I kid, I kid. Seriously though, did Intel get good at power efficiency while I was gone? I seem to remember the xScale being one heck of a power hog, and ARMS kicking their rears pretty badly...
  • After taking a massive dump onto their supply chain (Samsung), Apple has declared that Intel is their new chip maker of choice.
    Spin. Spin. Spin. Go the revisionist Apple PR people. Spin. Spin. Spin.

  • as a developer; it is going to be a royal pain in the rear to recompile our apps to support another processor architecture; unless of course they go down the emulation route; but using x86 and emulating ARM is going to require a lot of processing power. if intel was to build ARM chips; sure - but typically we associated x86 with intel. apple has experience with this with the transition from PPC to x86 for the mac osx environment; i am sure they'll keep that in mind for iOS developers as well. i would only s

    • by Arlet ( 29997 )

      As long as the programs are written in a high-level language, and the tool chains are compatible, it shouldn't be a lot of work to recompile the apps.

  • What better way is there to learn about a competing processor (i.e., A5) than to make it for them?
  • Er Didn't Apple buy a chip manufacturer so they could design their own chips? Who makes the A4 and A5 chips? I don't think it's Samsung...

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