Future Apple Products to Use SGX?

Discussion in 'Mobile Industry' started by Lazy8s, Jul 7, 2007.

  1. Lazy8s

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    http://imgtec.com/News/Release/index.asp?ID=676

    iPhones? IPods? Apple TVs? Macs?

    Why would they announce the licensing of SGX when they never announced the license taken for the iPhone MBX?
     
  2. Arun

    Arun Unknown.
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    Where does it say SGX? Where does it say Apple? Why would Apple make its own SoCs? Since when can Apple be described solely as an 'international electronics company'?

    I know you're being influenced by that EE Times article, but this interpretation doesn't make much sense to me...
     
  3. Lazy8s

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    I phrased the title as a question to reflect the uncertainty.

    The PR states that the SoCs will be produced by actual semiconductor companies, so Apple would just be commissioning a custom design as is a standard approach for a big customer like them.
     
  4. Rob Evans

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    Clearly it's for the SGX, as "next generation graphics" is how IMG have consistently referred to it (MBX being the current generation).

    I think it's pretty obvious the licensee is Apple - not even Intel or TI could stop IMG naming them when they licensed IP from them. Only Apple are important enough and secretive enough to keep their identity hidden.

    It seems Apple have decided to license directly, which presumably has the advantage that they won't be tied to one semiconductor manufacturer - for the iPhone they have to buy from Samsung, because it is they that have the MBX license.

    I would guess future iPhones would be the intended products, though as Lazy8s speculated there are other potential product areas.
     
    #4 Rob Evans, Jul 7, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 7, 2007
  5. Arun

    Arun Unknown.
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    Then those companies are the ones that need to have a license. Apple doesn't need a license in that case, and there is no reason for them to have one either.

    I agree it's most likely SGX, as this is indeed how they have referred to it frequently. I had mistakenly assumed it could not be given that no licensing contract in the last year or so refers to it as the 'next-generation' and that it was already confirmed to be in the OMAP3, but upon further consideration, it's probably a SGX derivative anyway... Although it might be an unannounced member of the family.

    As I said, that's far from obvious to me! :eek:

    I don't think the company is the only consideration regarding what can or cannot be reveiled. I think the target product has just as much to do with it. In certain markets, products are preannounced significantly in advance, and the partners are unveiled then - you simply cannot say you're involved in the project until the company has agreed to confirm its existence.

    Apple cares about the quality of their products more than whether they can save an extra $5 by outsourcing less of the work. They have a profit of $300+ per iPhone anyway; why would that extra $5 make sense for them when it *very* significantly increases their risks? It could cause both delays (since they can no longer change supplier when their favoured one fails to deliver) and simply inferior solutions (what makes you think Apple has such amazingly great engineers that their SoCs can be superior to everyone else's?)

    Well, they're probably buying from Samsung because Samsung has a complete SoC with a MBX on it, that it is cost and power-efficient, and that Samsung is willing to bundle it with DRAM and NAND. It seems very unlikely to me that the MBX is a discrete chip manufactured by Samsung.

    While I don't disagree that this might make a little bit of sense for the Apple TV by example, I once again fail to see how this puts Apple at an advantage. It seems to be more of a disadvantage to me, given that they already have high margins, so this would just increase their risks, IMO.

    Also, where are the hardware engineering teams that would have to develop such a SoC? Surely there would be trillions of rumours about how Apple is trying to hire chip designers, no? Or am I missing something? :)
     
  6. Lazy8s

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    A device manufacturer like Apple would take out a license directly from Imgtec to give themselves more ownership and influence over the system they're designing. They are not directly designing the chips; they leave that to the expertise of a semiconductor company yet take advantage of their rights as the IP licensee to have the chip customized to their specific needs to a greater degree. Otherwise, a semiconductor company would naturally go for a more generalized design so that the product would be applicable to more of their potential customers.

    Sega and Sammy built their PowerVR systems this way and used NEC and Renesas as their semiconductor partners.

    The announcement of Samsung's January 2004 MBX license reads as if it covers only the S3C2460. That leaves the licensing terms of the MBX in the iPhone unexplained and also therefore with the potential to be for a full MBX and with a VGP as opposed to the MBX Lite (ARM R-S) of the 2004 deal.

    The timing of this new, mysterious Imgtec announcement, combined with Apple being one of the only companies in its business to be so secretive about its technology suppliers, suggests that Apple is indeed the unidentified partner in question.

    Imgtec would presumably follow the request for secrecy of any of their customers. However, considering that a policy of not disclosing relevant information to the market is generally not conducive to serving business and investors, none of their other licensees likely requested such a long secrecy.
     
    #6 Lazy8s, Jul 8, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 8, 2007
  7. Arun

    Arun Unknown.
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    Maybe, but Img Tech has no obligation to let everyone know about small license upgrades, as far as I can tell, and even more so if the customer explicitly doesn't want to make people focus on it.

    One thing is certain however: if the MBX license in the iPhone is Apple's, then this next-gen license is not from Apple, since this is a "new partner". Either way, I would be very surprised if either is.
     
  8. roninja

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    No the MBX licence in the iphone is most likely to be Samsung's extension of the existing ARM licence done directly with IMG.

    The new licence if proved to by Apple and to most keen observers of IMG say it is, then it is for SGX and video cores. Now the multi-core next-gen/SGX licence culd well be for future iphone, video ipod, and Apple TV, or how about Apple developing a dedicated gaming platform on top of the AppleTV platform?
     
  9. RussSchultz

    RussSchultz Professional Malcontent
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    Apple isn't into making silicon, even with the fabless model, and they don't need a license to the IMGTech IP if they're purchasing SoCs from a vendor.

    And IMGTech isn't required to tell anybody who licenses anything, unless they make up more than 10% of the revenue.
     
  10. Lazy8s

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    #10 Lazy8s, Jul 19, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 19, 2007
  11. Fox5

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    New handheld perhaps?

    That'll be a blow for AMD/ATI. Could also mean nintendo's next console, if it goes conservative power wise again, would be more likely to use a powervr chip.
     
  12. RussSchultz

    RussSchultz Professional Malcontent
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    I'm guessing its the DS replacement.
     
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