IBM Teams Up With ARM for 14-nm Processing

Intel and IBM and TSMC and Samsung have all competed against one another in the area of shrinking the size of the design rules that govern their production lines for processors. Each new successively smaller generation has to be tested, piloted and put into production with big amounts of failed product along the way. And even as the point of diminishing returns comes with each new process shrink, the drive is on to continue the march to progress, smaller chips, and new partners along the way.

AppleInsider | Custom Apple A4 iPad chip estimated to be $1 billion investment

What’s the point of licensing computer chip designs from another company if it costs about the 1/3 the price of building it yourself? That seems like a rhetorical question, but I always assumed that people who licensed technology from ARM holdings were aiming to save tons of money compared to fabricating the chips themselves. So how does the Apple iPad A4 cpu figure into this? Well it’s a custom CPU, but according to NYTimes creating a new cpu is serious business.

Apple A4 SOC unveiled – It’s an ARM CPU and the GPU! – Bright Side Of News*

“iPad is powered by our own custom silicon. We have an incredible group that does custom silicon at Apple,” company co-founder Steve Jobs said during Wednesday’s keynote. “We have a chip called A4, which is our most advanced chip we’ve ever done that powers the iPad. It’s got the processor, the graphics, the I/O, the memory controller — everything in this one chip, and it screams.”