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 calls a few strikes against hyperbole and supposition found in articles written about the Apple iPad A4 processor. Here now is a more likely accounting of what Apple’s chip design mergers and acquisitions really bought for the iPad development team.
Following further articles published on the Apple iPad cpu, new reports are surfacing the custom CPU Apple created called the A4 may be an ARM Cortex A8 single core cpu with integrated graphics GPU and controller logic.
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.
“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.”