Apple acquires PA Semi; Press proves lack of understanding.

Discussion in 'PC Industry' started by B3D News, Apr 23, 2008.

  1. B3D News

    B3D News Beyond3D News
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    It's official: the iPhone's future CPU will have a TDP of 25W! Or so mindlessly speculate Forbes and a variety of other websites following Apple's stunning acquisition of P.A. Semi, a manufacturer of power-efficient PowerPC-based CPUs.

    Read the full news item
     
  2. iwod

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    Well if they use PowerVR it would be even better.
     
  3. AlphaWolf

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  4. darkblu

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    interesting how that move suddenly makes the personal computing landscape just a tad more interesting..
     
  5. 2senile

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    Is it still a viable option for Apple to use a CPU from them for desktop/laptop, as an alternative to Intel?
    Some work was done toward that end, with Apple staff actually working within PA Semi', before Apple made the move to Intel.

    .. or has that time passed ?

    Apple game console, perhaps? Do they have the money to get into that game?
     
  6. AlphaWolf

    AlphaWolf Specious Misanthrope
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    I was mostly joking, but their financial report (found here in pdf) listed about $9 billion in cash and cash equivalents with another $11 billion in short term investments. If they were inclined to try something, it seems like they have the money to do almost anything they want.
     
  7. 2senile

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    Very nice; maybe AMD should do an "Apple" & leave the WinTel stage! my turn to joke

    Another question. Does the acquisition make sense for an Apple version of an Eee or is Intel the better/safer choice for such a product?

    In fact, does anybody have thoughts on why Apple made this acquisition?
     
  8. AlphaWolf

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    From the updates.
     
  9. aaronspink

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    Considering all the info points to them killing the PA Semi product line, it appear to be simply a IP and employee based transaction.

    Aaron Spink
    speaking for myself inc.
     
  10. 2senile

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    Oh well, wish it had been more than that. Just to shake things up a bit.

    Same reason Sun bought Montalvo, apparently.

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/04/24/sun_buys_montalvo/

     
  11. tangey

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    With regard to Apple already having done semiconductor R&D "behind closed doors", this would fit in with the PowerVr licence to an "International Electronics Systems Company" back in July last year. This was the first occasion Imagination Technologies was not in a position to explicitedly mention by name the licence taker, and also the first time their IP was not licenced to a semi-conductor company. it is widely assumed to be Apple, a famously secretive company, licensing PowerVr SGX. Apple currently uses PowerVr MBX in the iphone and itouch via Samsung.

    The licence announcement went on to state:-

    "The SoCs to be developed under this license agreement will be produced for this new partner by Imagination’s existing semiconductor partners and/or new chip manufacturing partners"

    Now at the time I assume this most likely referred to Samsung for a next get Soc for next gen iphones, I'm starting to think otherwise as Samsungs latest chips appears to not be using IMG IP.

    Lead time from licence sign to product has been typically 18-24 months for IMG, that points to 1st half of 2009 for product launch if true.
     
  12. Arun

    Arun Unknown.
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    But we don't know if this wasn't signed before; it very well could have been signed as the design for the iPhone 2G ended and only announced later. If that wasn't the case, however, it could indeed refer to the iPhone 3.5G instead... But I'm skeptical. Or, of course, it could refer to something else such as Sony's PSP2 (after all, it's even more accurate to describe Sony in such terms than Apple).
     
  13. tangey

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    In relation to 3G iphone (wandering off topic slightly), is there any impending reason why the current processor can't power the 3G iphone. The new iphone may have GPS and of course has 3G which is more processor intensive, but the graphics test done thus far on the phone would indicate that overall performance is at the very least on a Par with Nokia's N95, and its 3G + GPS etc. Ok the screen on the iphone is signficantly bigger, but it appears to me to be likely that the 3G iphones will have the same processor as the current ones.

    I know you weren't suggesting otherwise but I have until recently thought the new iphone might have a different processor, perhaps they'll just clock it up a bit if necessary.
     
  14. Simon F

    Simon F Tea maker
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    One would imagine that the CPU has little to do (apart from driver support) with the transceiver technology used. According to the register the current iphone has 2 chips dedicated to cellular support. I'd imagine something else would be substituted for 3G... but IANA hardware engineer so take with the usual crystal of NaCl.
     
  15. Arun

    Arun Unknown.
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    I agree with Simon; I've never seen a single piece of evidence that the application processor's performance would matter for the baseband (at least in a non-negligible way). And no matter that, the iPhone 2G's application processor is vastly more powerful than that of many 3G phones anyway.
    Did you mean 'might not have'? Either way, I do believe they could keep the current chip, yes. However, it's a 90nm chip and given the timeframe it would be bizarre bot to switch to 65nm. As for the ARM core itself, it would likely remain an ARM11 either way, just perhaps clocked a bit higher indeed.
     
  16. tangey

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    "3G more processor intensive"....was meant to suggest what happens after the data gets passed from baseband to processor i.e. going from 2.5G to 3G can give a 10x increase in the data stream. So streaming video becomes higher-def and more Frames per second, webpages come in a lot quicker and to stop the rendering being a bottleneck requires quicker page rendering etc.


    I actually meant that I assumed the processor *would* be changed in a 3G iphone, for the above reasons, but given the iphone procesor seems to have good performance (interpolating from the GLbenchmarks) maybe there is no need.
     
  17. knux

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    Well they are a PowerVR licensee, so it's not unlikely that they may integrate a PowerVR IP as part of an SoC
     
  18. tangey

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    Allegedly :!:
     
  19. knux

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    It's almost definite that they are an IMGTEC licensee.
     
  20. tangey

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    IMG just announced a licence to Samsung

    "Imagination Technologies Group plc (LSE:IMG; "Imagination") - a leader in System-on-Chip Intellectual Property ("SoC IP") - reports that it has signed a licence agreement with Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (“Samsung”) with respect to certain POWERVR SGX graphics and VXD video IP cores.

    This licence enables Samsung to manufacture semiconductor devices which integrate these IP cores from Imagination."

    This is the first time IMG have announced a MANUFACTURING ONLY licence. In all other licences its been described as the company licensing use of a particular IP product or products.

    So we have Samsung, who don't have an SGX and VXD licence themselves, being given the permission to manufacture parts that contain those IP cores. Samsung are a known provider of the current iphone processor to Apple. We previously have an "electonics systems" company licensing IMG's SGX and Video cores, the first time IMG did not mention a licencee by name. Apple are notoriously secretive.

    Clearly todays license announcement tells me that Samsung will be producing processors containing IMG's next gen IP, on behalf of and for use by Apple.


    And of relevance to this thread, I suspect at least part of the reason for the purchase of PA semi was to use their knowledge of Low power to design the Soc that Samsung will manufacture.
     
    #20 tangey, Apr 30, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 30, 2008

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