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202 comments

It didn't work for microsoft... (1)

NeoSkandranon (515696) | more than 4 years ago | (#27777627)

Not terribly hopeful that it'll work for apple.

Re:It didn't work for microsoft... (3, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#27777661)

The difference is, MS, by nature does not really innovate, they emulate. Apple, while not 100% innovative, usually ends up taking a cutting-edge idea and comes up with a polished product.

Re:It didn't work for microsoft... (4, Insightful)

rm999 (775449) | more than 4 years ago | (#27777905)

So the difference is that neither one of them really innovates? I don't see the difference. Sure, Apple is good at repackaging things to be pretty and easy-to-use, but that doesn't matter when it comes to chips. In this case, they will *have* to innovate to turn their investments into something useful.

I think this move has more to do with Apple's obsession with controlling everything - they'd like to be a vertical company. It's a risky move, because hardware is a costly industry to enter. Will their recent purchases be worth it? Very possibly, it's an interesting gamble.

Re:It didn't work for microsoft... (0, Flamebait)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 4 years ago | (#27778007)

The difference is that Apple builds hardware. Serious hardware, not mice and keyboards.

I could be mistaken, but my impression has been that Apple builds all their own MotherBoards, Logic Cards, and possibly even some of the systems chips to provide the clean experience you see with an Apple laptop.

Microsoft doesn't have that experience, because they don't build systems. They license software to companies like Dell, who in turn obtain their motherboards from a third party, who in turn obtain the chipset from a chipset provider. Apple does everything up to the last step themselves. Now they want to do the last step.

Re:It didn't work for microsoft... (4, Insightful)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 4 years ago | (#27778415)

You are completely mistaken.

Companies like Foxconn and ASUS build Apple's hardware.

Re:It didn't work for microsoft... (4, Insightful)

Hes Nikke (237581) | more than 4 years ago | (#27778493)

Companies like Foxconn and ASUS build Apple's hardware to Apple's specifications.

fixed it for you.

Re:It didn't work for microsoft... (4, Insightful)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 4 years ago | (#27778589)

Let me fix that for you:

Companies like Foxconn and ASUS build Apple's hardware to Apple's specifications, as they do for Dell and just like they used to do for Packard Bell.

Re:It didn't work for microsoft... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27779367)

Companies like Foxconn and ASUS build Apple's hardware to Apple's specifications, just as they build hardware to Intel's reference specifications with tiny tweaks and layout changes for Dell and used to do for Packard Bell.

There. Fixed that for you.

Re:It didn't work for microsoft... (5, Insightful)

gabebear (251933) | more than 4 years ago | (#27779643)

I think the OP's point has been completely lost. Apple, Dell, and HP design/sell "real hardware", and microsoft designs/sells peripherals.

I believe the original point was that microsoft has never attempted any serious hardware development; so comparing microsoft's supposed failure to design "simple hardware" to Apple's attempt to design "real hardware" is stupid.

Generally the hardware is designed well by every company; it's the software where things fall down. I have several Apple and Microsoft Keyboards and Mice.

Of my peripherals that are at least 2yrs old that should still be supported:

1xUSB MS mouse = support officially discontinued(3 out of 5 buttons work with default driver).

1xUSB Apple mouse = supported (but only 1 has button)

2xUSB Apple Keyboards = supported (but new Macs/PCs no longer support the power-button on the keyboard to power on when turned off)

All in all, a pretty pathetic amount of support. Microsoft drops support for their own USB mice(you can still find 3rd party drivers to enable all 5 buttons). Apple didn't officially drop support, but no longer provides the needed circuitry on their motherboards to power-up a computer via a USB keyboard's power button(I'm wondering if this is so they use less power when turned off).

Re:It didn't work for microsoft... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27778705)

And those specifications are just an outline such as:

We need a mobo that does this and that without this

The vendor comes up with some ideas on paper and shows them to Apple. Apple then points out what they do or don't like and pass it back to the vendor. This cycle continues until Apple is satisfied with what the vendor has and then they move on to a prototype and iron out any wrinkles.

So overall, no Apple does not do it totally themselves.

Re:It didn't work for microsoft... (1)

acsinc (741167) | more than 4 years ago | (#27779669)

Last time I disassembled a Mac the motherboard was designed and manufactured by Apple. Granted this was back in the early PPC era, but it goes to show that they have done it before.

They even had the designer's signatures on finished boards. Always a nice touch I thought.

Re:It didn't work for microsoft... (4, Interesting)

rAiNsT0rm (877553) | more than 4 years ago | (#27778633)

Nope, not even close. Apple *designs* or works with manufacturers to create custom *designed* boards and hardware but they build nothing. They are the same chips and chipsets as Dell, which actually does the same thing and custom *designs* their gear just like Apple.

Take off the rose colored glasses please.

Re:It didn't work for microsoft... (5, Informative)

ThrowAwaySociety (1351793) | more than 4 years ago | (#27779269)

Before the Intel switch, Apple absolutely designed its own chipsets and boards. Apple was responsible, for example, for the first marrying of the PPC 970 and HyperTransport.

Apple has never owned a fab, but then, neither do many dedicated chip "manufacturers."

Re:It didn't work for microsoft... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27778949)

Does this mean we can't blame Microsoft for the high failure rate of the Xbox 360, or that it is not "serious" hardware?

Re:It didn't work for microsoft... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27779567)

How did this get modded up to Score 5: Interesting?

Re:It didn't work for microsoft... (2, Informative)

Burkin (1534829) | more than 4 years ago | (#27779741)

Microsoft doesn't have that experience, because they don't build systems.

So the Xbox, Xbox 360 and Zune are what now?

innovation, custom chips == !hackintosh (5, Insightful)

JonTurner (178845) | more than 4 years ago | (#27778061)

Steve Jobs said it well: "Real artists ship."

It's a very entrepreneurial idea -- quit all the talking and hand-waving and actually ship something! There's not much value in developing great ideas that never get out of the lab.
As for the claim that neither innovates? Hogwash. Taking an idea and integrating it into a viable product IS innovation by definition -- it is something that has not been done before that point. Both MS and Apple innovate, to different degrees, which we can squabble about, ad infinitum. :) I would say MSFT is far better at marketing their ideas and capturing market share, while Apple is better at inventing. Others will have a different view.

But back to the original subject, I suspect Apple's desire for custom chips comes not from a desire to save power (there are already many viable low-power CPUs and chipsets available) but rather a desire to fight off Hackintosh clones (OSX running on non-apple hardware, such as the Dell mini 9 or generic desktop PCs). Technologically, there's no reason why this can't happen but one must consider that Apple's hardware sales are quite profitable and that share is worth protecting.

Re:innovation, custom chips == !hackintosh (4, Insightful)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 4 years ago | (#27778263)

I think also for their iPods/iPhones, Apple probably wants more customization than they have right now. They have to accept whatever chip that they are buying balancing processing power/power consumption/functionality. Incidentally this may have been driven by the iPhone. While the iPod is fine with an underpowered chip as its functionality is limited, the iPod touch/iPhone require more computing power. There are rumors that Apple was not happy with the original chip on the iPhone. The problem is the chip was exactly what they specced out. Apple may have lost the chip expertise that they had with the original Macs.

Re:innovation, custom chips == !hackintosh (1)

Frequency Domain (601421) | more than 4 years ago | (#27778297)

But back to the original subject, I suspect Apple's desire for custom chips comes not from a desire to save power (there are already many viable low-power CPUs and chipsets available) but rather a desire to fight off Hackintosh clones (OSX running on non-apple hardware, such as the Dell mini 9 or generic desktop PCs).

This doesn't make sense to me for their desktop machines. If that's their plan, they have to either 1) have all of the standard chipset for a commodity PC plus their proprietary chips and duplicate functionality, or 2) lose Windows compatibility because some subset of the operations are being pushed onto proprietary chips, and Windows doesn't speak their instruction set. Option 1 would increase the complexity on their motherboards and increase power usage, and I'd bet pretty strongly that they're not going to go with option 2.

Re:innovation, custom chips == !hackintosh (4, Funny)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 4 years ago | (#27778565)

I can see it now:

Apple Strategic Planning Meeting

Steve Jobs: "So, from this point on, we'll build our own iProcessors, "

Edward Applebee: "But sir, then our macs won't be able to run windows!"

Steve Jobs: "Hey... you next to Edward, I want you to go over and hit that fucker in the face, really fucking hard!"

Re:innovation, custom chips == !hackintosh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27778911)

Either way it doesn't surprise me. Apple is a control freak just like the government. I don't care how good the products are, if they have a hidden agenda to control what I do and how I do it only on their machines then they can ef-off in every fashionable way. If the arrogant idiot had let those clones continue they Apple would have a much larger piece of the pie right now making much more than they currently do. They could have laid out some strict guidelines for the clones to keep them in order.

Re:innovation, custom chips == !hackintosh (2, Interesting)

Firehed (942385) | more than 4 years ago | (#27778731)

I doubt that the hackintoshes are a serious concern to Apple. The fact they exists demonstrates that a certain market exists, but not one that's likely too profitable right now. It's something relatively few people are willing to do, or even have the knowledge (or at least patience) to pull off. Not much of a problem among the Slashdot crowd, but certainly among the general public. More importantly, in order to fight that off, Apple would have to transition back off of the x86 architecture - not a feat of engineering that they probably want to do again after the PPC switch.

More likely, it's for specialized chips in upcoming devices. Something along the lines of the custom-designed Intel chip that went into the Macbook Air. It's the whole argument of DRM* - you can either spend your time trying to come up with technological measures to stop people doing something, or you can innovate and make products that people want to buy by addressing an existing market (or often in Apple's case, creating an entirely new one). While Apple is certainly a very closed vendor on the whole, I think they're better off putting their resources towards innovation rather than protection.

*Yes, I'm aware of the DRM in OS X, particularly with regard to BIOS/EFI. I'd call it quite unobtrusive compared to the phone-home activation in Windows, but that's overall quite irrelevant to this discussion.

Re:It didn't work for microsoft... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27779231)

I think this move has more to do with Apple's obsession with controlling everything - they'd like to be a vertical company.

BS. Crack open any Mac and the boards are full of non-Apple chips and always will be. Apple is not going to waste money developing their own chips just for bragging rights. I imagine that they won't be simply replacing the current chips, such as codec chips, with their own versions, but they'll be adding bits of their OS to it, so it may well make more sense for them to make their own chips at some point.

Re:It didn't work for microsoft... (2, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | more than 4 years ago | (#27779677)

Apple is not going to waste money developing their own chips just for bragging rights.

That's right, they won't do it just for bragging rights. They'll do it for a compelling performance, power consumption, and/or cost advantage. Right now, they pay Intel, Nvidia, and AMD a hell of a lot of money for CPUs and GPUs, and I'm sure they'll do their homework before making the next build or buy decision.

-jcr

Re:It didn't work for microsoft... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27779467)

The difference is thus: If they build everything in house, they don't have to deal with 'leaks' from other companies publishing stuff or giving too much infor before apple believes its time. Apple lives and dies by its appearance and when it brings stuff out and how.

Re:It didn't work for microsoft... (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 4 years ago | (#27779701)

If they build everything in house, they don't have to deal with 'leaks' from other companies

That would be a major factor, but not as big as whatever advantages they could realize from having parts made entirely to their specs. Another major factor would be that if their products are built around their own parts, cloning becomes infeasible.

-jcr

Re:It didn't work for microsoft... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27778103)

So did you like sucking job's dick last nite?

Re:It didn't work for microsoft... (5, Informative)

Gary W. Longsine (124661) | more than 4 years ago | (#27777707)

Apple participated in the design of the PowerPC. That worked out pretty well. I've had two people tell me within the past week that they went back and used a PowerPC Mac Mini (both upgraded to 1GB of RAM) and how zippy it was under Leopard. They were surprised, since the systems were something like 5 years old, and max out at 1GB of RAM.

Apple also participated in the design of the initial ARM processors. That seems to be going pretty well. (Direct descendants of the design are in iPhone).

Apple is also a participant in LLVM, which is going to help Apple shorten the design-to-deployment cycle for new silicon.

It's going to work out just fine.

Re:It didn't work for microsoft... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27778035)

Mini was zippy? My friend, in a Mac world the correct term is "snappy". Amateur!

Re:It didn't work for microsoft... (1)

kdogg73 (771674) | more than 4 years ago | (#27778673)

Snappy(TM)

And I have to wait 11 seconds to post this.

Re:It didn't work for microsoft... (2, Funny)

DCstewieG (824956) | more than 4 years ago | (#27778715)

Maybe he hadn't updated Safari yet...

Re:It didn't work for microsoft... (1)

frank_adrian314159 (469671) | more than 4 years ago | (#27778623)

Also, Apple has had several internal projects that were oriented towards building chips in the past. The story has it that once Steve Jobs met Seymour Cray and told him that he was using a Cray-1 to design his next computer. Seymour says, "That's great, Steve. I'm using an Apple to design my next computer."

Re:It didn't work for microsoft... (1)

JBdH (613927) | more than 4 years ago | (#27778831)

Remember the 'woz' machine in the Apple //c, kids?

Re:It didn't work for microsoft... (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 4 years ago | (#27778643)

Apple participated in the design of the PowerPC.

The key word here are surely "participants in design." No capital investment. No long term commitments.

In a deep recession the iPhone can be seen for what it is - a high-tech gadget in a market that is moving towards the low-tech Jitterbug. [jitterbug.com]

The basic cell phone the geek always says he wants but never actually buys.

Re:It didn't work for microsoft... (1)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 4 years ago | (#27779473)

If you had said the Nokia 1100, I might have not said you were insane.

But the Jitterbug? Seriously? For starters, it has a color screen - something that the Slashdot favorite "basic phone" doesn't have at all. And, second, it costs more than some modern smartphones. Yes, I know, it's not on contract... but the prepaid prices are ridiculous, so if you actually use this "basic phone," you're paying OUT THE ASS.

Re:It didn't work for microsoft... (2, Insightful)

Cyner (267154) | more than 4 years ago | (#27778707)

Apple knows how they intend to use the chip, but that is not the same as knowing how the chip gets it done. Participating by writing various specifications and testing is a very long way from designing logic circuity.

That's not to say they can't do it, or wont be good at it. But your making a leap.

Re:It didn't work for microsoft... (4, Interesting)

jcr (53032) | more than 4 years ago | (#27779597)

When Apple moves into a new area, they go and hire the people they need to do it right. They knew nothing about retailing, so they hired Ron Johnson. When they decided to make the iPod, they hired Tony Fadell, who had a lot of experience in portable devices.

Apple now employs Dan Dobberpuhl , who was the lead architect of the DEC Alpha, and the StrongARM. He was the founder of PA Semi. One of their more recent hires was a GPU designer at ATI and AMD, who also happens to have worked on the Pixar Image Computer back before Pixar became a movie studio.

The way I read the writing on the wall is Apple's going to start making their own CPUs, and possibly their own GPUs as well. Whatever they come up with, I expect it to fit in very well with the work they're doing on LLVM and their software OpenGL implementation.

-jcr

Re:It didn't work for microsoft... (3, Informative)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 4 years ago | (#27779407)

Apple also participated in the design of the initial ARM processors. That seems to be going pretty well. (Direct descendants of the design are in iPhone).

Nitpick: Acorn, not Apple, solely did the design of the initial ARM1, ARM2, and ARM3. They then spun the ARM CPU (which originally stood for Acorn RISC Machine) off into another company, Advanced RISC Machines, which was a joint venture between themselves (40%,) VLSI (who did most manufacturing of ARM CPUs and chipsets at that point - 40%,) and Apple (20%,) as Apple had expressed interest in using the chip, but didn't want to use a competitor's chip (Acorn directly competed with Apple in the personal computer market, especially in schools.)

Only the ARM6 (there was no ARM4 or ARM5) and newer had any Apple involvement, and I doubt anything newer than the DEC StrongARM had much of any Apple influence. (The ARM6, ARM7, and StrongARM were all used in the Newton.)

And, the ARM6 and ARM7 are essentially tweaked versions of the ARM3 with 32-bit addressing (as opposed to 26-bit on the previous ARMs,) and more cache and a slightly faster clock in the case of the ARM7. As for the StrongARM, it wasn't even designed by ARM, it was designed by Digital, to meet the ARMv4 ISA.

yawn - another ARM licence (2, Interesting)

jc66 (1179587) | more than 4 years ago | (#27777803)

They'll just hire some taiwanese design team to take and ARM core and hang some extra bits on it like a functions for mp3 decoding, then get TSMC or some other taiwanese Fab to produce it. AFAIK they didn't even design the ipod tech themselves, just decide on the look of the thing and contract all the rest out.

Re:yawn - another ARM licence (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27779661)

Actually, at my university's job tracker, Apple has had VLSI design job postings up for well over a month, with a description very similar to what the articles are suggesting.

Apple Core (1)

tom17 (659054) | more than 4 years ago | (#27777937)

If they can call is something like "Apple Core" then they will be onto a sure winner.

Especially if they can incorporate lots of "Programming Interface Pathways" or some such jargon.

Tom...

Re:Apple Core (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27779519)

you mean the iCore right?

Re:It didn't work for microsoft... (1)

SupremoMan (912191) | more than 4 years ago | (#27777975)

Why don't we list other things that didn't work for Microsoft. Or do we have something better to do with the remainder of this week?

Re:It didn't work for microsoft... (2, Funny)

Divebus (860563) | more than 4 years ago | (#27778289)

Why don't we list other things that didn't work for Microsoft.

Who has that kind of time? An even bigger challenge is to figure out why people bought it anyway.

Re:It didn't work for microsoft... (2, Insightful)

je ne sais quoi (987177) | more than 4 years ago | (#27778057)

Apple is a hardware company that also makes software. Microsoft is a software company that also makes hardware. The MS hardware I can think of is their keyboards and mice, the Zune and Xbox 360. Considering that the entertainment division of microsoft that builds the zune and xbox lost 31 million dollars [microsoft-watch.com] last quarter, I wouldn't hold Microsoft up as the paragon of what is possible to do in hardware.

Re:It didn't work for microsoft... (1)

Xtravar (725372) | more than 4 years ago | (#27779151)

Although I never really understood why MS wants to penetrate entrenched markets, I thought the Xbox was turning a profit now... so that must be new R&D or the Zune totally bombing.

2008 Q1
http://www.joystiq.com/2008/01/24/the-xbox-turns-a-profit/ [joystiq.com]

2008 Q2
http://www.joystiq.com/2008/04/25/the-xbox-360-turns-a-profit-again/ [joystiq.com]

Re:It didn't work for microsoft... (1)

drerwk (695572) | more than 4 years ago | (#27779315)

Well it worked when they did the ASC "Apple Sound Chip", the IWM "Integrated Woz Machine", SWIM "Super Integrated Woz Machine" and some others. I don't know from the newfangled Intel Macs though what sorts of custom Apple chips are used any more.

design it's own chips, not manufacture (4, Informative)

Gary W. Longsine (124661) | more than 4 years ago | (#27777629)

I don't think anybody has seriously suggested that Apple is planning to build their own fab.

Re:design it's own chips, not manufacture (1, Funny)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 4 years ago | (#27777689)

No, timothy meant "iManufacture". Spelling error, you see.

Re:design it's own chips, not manufacture (1)

homey of my owney (975234) | more than 4 years ago | (#27777751)

Well, design it's own chips is not news, but neither is manufacture. They did after all spend a pile acquiring P.A. Semiconductor.

Manufacture or design? (4, Informative)

Cutie Pi (588366) | more than 4 years ago | (#27777643)

There's a big difference between manufacturing a chip and designing one. Unless Apple suddenly acquires the capital and know how to run a fab, manufacturing is best left to foundries like TSMC.

I'd even be surprised if they did the design completely in-house. Most likely it would be a collaborative effort with an already established low-power design house like ARM.

Re:Manufacture or design? (1)

InsurrctionConsltant (1305287) | more than 4 years ago | (#27777775)

Oh, completely. There's absolutely no way, and nobody is seriously suggesting, that apple can or should manufacture chips. I think there's a growing consensus, though, that apple is going to be doing some serious customizing on an ARM basis.

Re:Manufacture or design? (2, Insightful)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 4 years ago | (#27778043)

Course, people were saying the same thing about manufacturing laptop cases, like out of single blocks of aluminum.

Steve jobs seems to get a hard on from fully automated factories. The NEXT factory could produce thousands of computers a week, with a handful of employees.. (they could just never sell that many)

Re:Manufacture or design? (3, Interesting)

cabjf (710106) | more than 4 years ago | (#27778271)

I'm willing to bet they have enough know-how available to do the design in-house. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PA_semi [wikipedia.org]

Re:Manufacture or design? (2, Interesting)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 4 years ago | (#27778995)

I'd even be surprised if they did the design completely in-house. Most likely it would be a collaborative effort with an already established low-power design house like ARM.

Yes, if only Apple bought out a chip design company [slashdot.org] . Then maybe they could design their own chips.

In other reports... (4, Funny)

ravenspear (756059) | more than 4 years ago | (#27777647)

It was actually revealed that their real motivation behind the Apple team's efforts is to build an uber sophisticated intelligent computer system capable of downloading Steve Jobs' brain in case he becomes too ill to continue his role as RDF overlor...er...CEO.

Re:In other reports... (2, Funny)

creimer (824291) | more than 4 years ago | (#27777709)

Don't forget the Apple sticker to put on the outside of the brain case. :P

Re:In other reports... (5, Funny)

jDeepbeep (913892) | more than 4 years ago | (#27777729)

It was actually revealed that their real motivation behind the Apple team's efforts is to build an uber sophisticated intelligent computer system capable of downloading Steve Jobs' brain in case he becomes too ill to continue his role as RDF overlor...er...CEO.

I, for one, welcome our new mock-turtlenecked overlord.

Apple Product Cycle revisions (3, Funny)

nlawalker (804108) | more than 4 years ago | (#27777749)

Looks like the Apple Product Cycle [misterbg.org] may have to be revised slightly.

it seems that this will be a variant of the ARM (4, Interesting)

gravesb (967413) | more than 4 years ago | (#27777785)

The WSJ story talked about how Apple had designed a variant already, but were unhappy that so much design was being sold to other companies. It looks like they want to design their own extension of the ARM and gain a real competitive advantage. Certain aspects include better power consumption, network interface, handwriting recognition, and more horsepower. There is some speculation that it will also bleed over to the desktop design. Maybe they are getting tired of using commodity hardware and want to differentiate themselves from Dell.

Re:it seems that this will be a variant of the ARM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27778147)

I can see how designing their own chips for portable devices makes sense. But they will only hurt themselves if they once again go down the path of proprietary desktop designs. Moving to commodity hardware and Intel CPU's was the best decision Apple ever made. Presumably they would continue to use standard CPU's, but they would loose the economy of scale and proven reliability that commodity components bring to the table.

Re:it seems that this will be a variant of the ARM (5, Funny)

CopaceticOpus (965603) | more than 4 years ago | (#27778161)

Yes, at last Apple will step out from under Dell's shadow!

Re:it seems that this will be a variant of the ARM (1)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 4 years ago | (#27778341)

Maybe they are getting tired of using commodity hardware and want to differentiate themselves from Dell.

And that's why they dropped PowerPC in favor of Intel's chips? I don't think so.

Re:it seems that this will be a variant of the ARM (3, Interesting)

cabjf (710106) | more than 4 years ago | (#27778535)

No, they dropped PowerPC because IBM couldn't keep up with producing faster chips and lower power envelopes (for laptops). Remember, they were never able to stuff a G5 into a Powerbook. I doubt it had anything to do with whether the hardware was "commodity" or not.

Re:it seems that this will be a variant of the ARM (3, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | more than 4 years ago | (#27779783)

SJ stood on a stage a promised a 3GHZ G5 in one year (because IBM had promised it to Apple), and IBM let him down. That, together with IBM's decision not to develop a low-power G5 suitable for laptops is what closed the book on Apple's PPC machines.

They switched to Intel instead of AMD because they had had quite enough of vendor disappointments. AMD was a far riskier prospect.

-jcr

Re:it seems that this will be a variant of the ARM (1)

rickb928 (945187) | more than 4 years ago | (#27778743)

THIS is what it takes to get flash running on ARM?

Sheesh. Next thing, you'll be telling there's an IWM in the next iMac... harrr....

Re:it seems that this will be a variant of the ARM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27779781)

I would expect a custom video processor, as both of the new hires are from AMD/ATI. It would be integrated with a vanilla ARM core and integrate to the internal bus.

You can contract big chunks of the chip development out, but you need top people defining the architecture and benchmarking it. If you are paranoid, you contract pieces with different design houses... just like Batman does ;)

Apple chips (3, Funny)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#27777873)

What kind of dip goes with that?

Re:Apple chips (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27777883)

What kind of dip goes with that?

Carmel

Re:Apple chips (4, Funny)

An ominous Cow art (320322) | more than 4 years ago | (#27778285)

This [wikipedia.org] kind, of course.

Re:Apple chips (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27778789)

Dip shits often go with Apple.

Re:Apple chips (1)

mkiwi (585287) | more than 4 years ago | (#27778841)

dip?

I doubt Apple uses DIP at all. I would expect something more like SOIC.

Multimedia always runs better on specialized chips (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27777917)

Apple knows the direction things are going, 99% of people just want to play movies and music on their portable devices, so why not make specialized hardware that can run at slower speeds while doing soto save power? Its just another company recognizing the CPU/GPU merge.

May? MAY??? (4, Informative)

gordguide (307383) | more than 4 years ago | (#27777933)

" ... Reports Say Apple May Manufacture Its Own Chips ..."

" ... "PA Semi is going to do system-on-chips for iPhones and iPods," Apple CEO Steve Jobs said, according to The New York Times during Apple's June 2008 Worldwide Developers Conference. ..."

From the Horse's Mouth, 9 months ago, announced publicly at the WDC. I think I would be going with " ... will manufacture it's own chips ..." since that's what they said they would be doing, right out loud in front of God and everybody.

Scattered reports??? (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 4 years ago | (#27778417)

Apple's purchase of PASemi was big news. Scattered reports, my ass.

Re:May? MAY??? (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 4 years ago | (#27778919)

And we even already have pictures [irannut.com] of them !

Yummy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27777969)

Dried apple chips are delicious and chewy.

Shouldn't surprise, they own a chipmaker (4, Insightful)

MarkEst1973 (769601) | more than 4 years ago | (#27777973)

They already own a chip maker [forbes.com] . That bit of news was from last year. It shouldn't surprise you today that they plan on actually using the chipmaker they bought.

Re:Shouldn't surprise, they own a chipmaker (2, Insightful)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 4 years ago | (#27778555)

They're a chip designer. Chip makers actually have fabrication plants.

Re:Shouldn't surprise, they own a chipmaker (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 4 years ago | (#27779083)

These days most chip companies don't really make their all own chips anyways. They make the design and get foundries like TSMC to do actual fabrication. Companies like TI, Intel, AMD, and IBM make some chips in-house but also farm out the work to chip foundries.

Re:Shouldn't surprise, they own a chipmaker (3, Insightful)

gordguide (307383) | more than 4 years ago | (#27779373)

Maybe, but it's a line not often drawn by many ... ATI never had a fab.

Reducing power consumption? (1)

m1ss1ontomars2k4 (1302833) | more than 4 years ago | (#27778033)

FINALLY, we can get that PowerBook G5 we've been waiting for!

Title correction... (2, Interesting)

burnin1965 (535071) | more than 4 years ago | (#27778037)

Reports Say Apple May DESIGN Its Own Chips

The objective likely to be more proprietary enhancements [engadget.com] to their product lines that require licensing and royalties from secondary vendors who wish to manufacture and sell peripherals and products to work with Apple products. Its all about building monopolies, U.S. businesses believe competition is a bad thing.

Apple chips? (2, Funny)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#27778045)

It's already been done. Pictures of the new chips are available here [taquitos.net] and here [taquitos.net]

Re:Apple chips? (3, Funny)

fm6 (162816) | more than 4 years ago | (#27778151)

I know for a fact that those chips are from a different company! Do Apple's lawyers know about this?

Re:Apple chips? (1)

curtix7 (1429475) | more than 4 years ago | (#27778951)

mod parent +1 tasty My mom used to buy those all the time, they aren't bad.

The by-product (0, Troll)

AnalPerfume (1356177) | more than 4 years ago | (#27778167)

Having their own chips will make it much easier for them to lock consumers out of using their devices in ways that Apple can't monetize.....well, even more than they already do. They do seem hell bent on becoming a designer digital island with strait jackets as mandatory uniforms.

Apple Rumors (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 4 years ago | (#27778205)

Not newsworthy. Apple fanboys play telephone [wikipedia.org] more creatively than anybody this side of John Dvorak.

Apple shoulda never left IBM, Cell woulda been it (1, Insightful)

rAiNsT0rm (877553) | more than 4 years ago | (#27778759)

Apple made a mistake (*gasp* yes they are capable of it) by ditching IBM when it did. Now that IBM has an amazing chip in the Cell processor, Apple has the same Intels as every other PC. PowerPC was what made Apples so great for a number of applications and uses, they've lost that now.

They bought up PA Semi but I think that was a flailing effort that may or may not pay off... even if it does it would most likely only affect small subsystems and things like the iPod/iPhone.

The Cell chip coupled with the CUDA tech from NVDA would have catapulted them lightyears ahead of standard PCs. Hey, everyone makes mistakes.

The problem with Cell... (1)

tlambert (566799) | more than 4 years ago | (#27779279)

The problem with Cell is that in a general purpose computer, threads need to talk to each other; you can't just have non-barriered pipelines you keep fed. That's OK for some types of specialized processing, but most of that type of processing is going onto general purpose GPUs these days (e.g. OpenCL), rather than building specialized hardware for it.

A personally would have liked to work on a port of xnu to the Cell architecture, since I think it would have yielded a lot of useful information about the OS from a non-ccNUMA standpoint, and would have potentially improved the code, but really, these days I'd be more likely to try and port it to a Tilera chip, since it has a larger number of CPUs to deal with, and it'd get you to where you want to be when companies like Intel finally catch up with them on processor-on-die count. It's a lot easier to build large and scale down than it is to buld smal and add on ad hoc to scale up.

-- Terry

Re:Apple shoulda never left IBM, Cell woulda been (1)

nobodyman (90587) | more than 4 years ago | (#27779405)

You are mistaken. It's not as though Apple didn't see the Cell coming. Sony shopped it to them but they simply weren't interested [nytimes.com] .

Mr. Jobs rejected the idea, telling Mr. Kutaragi that he was disappointed with the Cell design, which he believes will be even less effective than the PowerPC.

And this was way back in 2005. The Cell is arguably good in it's role as the cpu for a game console / blu-ray playback device, but that doesn't mean that is the best choice for a general-purpose computing device.

Re:Apple shoulda never left IBM, Cell woulda been (1)

Morky (577776) | more than 4 years ago | (#27779629)

Apple's domestic market share has doubled in the three years since moving to Intel. They moved to Intel just as Intel was introducing a great leap in technology. Going with Intel also allowed for virtualizing MS Windows or dual booting, eliminating most of the risk for switchers. They bought PA Semi specifically for iPod/iPhone systems. It had nothing to do with Macs, so how is that a "flailing effort"? They haven't even introduced a PA Semi-designed product yet. CUDA tech is basically what they are doing with Open CL in Snow Leopard, so nothing missed there. You are a looking 0 for 3 to me.

Re:Apple shoulda never left IBM, Cell woulda been (1)

bonch (38532) | more than 4 years ago | (#27779649)

Apple already considered the Cell processor [teamxbox.com] at the time and rejected it as being less effective than the PowerPC.

Re:Apple shoulda never left IBM, Cell woulda been (1)

flabbergast (620919) | more than 4 years ago | (#27779785)

Sticking with IBM for Cell would have made very little sense. The Cell processor is very similar to how NVidia's CUDA presents the graphics card to you: limited cache (shared memory), lots of very simple hardware threads, almost no branch predication, etc. So, both CUDA and Cell would crank out great numbers on things like a particle simulator, MPM, image processing, and the like, but are not equipped to do some useful things like running a scheduler, or a word processor. Basically anything that's very difficult to multi-thread would be very hard/impossible to adapt to a Cell like architecture.

And some of the applications that are would be useful in Cell most likely work in CUDA. So, instead of having to have a regular processor + Cell + CUDA, why not just have a regular processor + CUDA?

New iProduct (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27779591)

So its going to be c

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