By Cody Lee on May 17, 2013
We have reached the end of an era. No, I’m not talking about David Beckham retiring. I’m talking about Paul Otellini stepping down as Intel’s CEO. He was at the company for more than 40 years, and was its chief executive for the better half of the last decade.
As part of his departure proceedings, Otellini sat down for a candid exit interview with The Atlantic. And while the whole thing is worth a read, there’s one part that is particularly interesting: when he talks about how he regrets not landing the iPhone deal… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on May 9, 2013
As WWDC 2013 draws near – and with supply chain increasingly pointing to Apple’s procurement of components for production of a next-generation iPhone – small wonder various parts are now cropping up on the web. It’s the very nature of the game: Apple just can’t control each and every one of its suppliers in Taiwan and China, let alone their individual employees.
A Japanese parts retailer, which recently leaked a next-gen iPhone components, is back at it, having published Thursday an image believed to depict a motherboard component, presumably belonging to an upcoming iPhone refresh… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Apr 22, 2013
Graphics giant Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) has wooed another semiconductor expert away from Apple. Raja Koduri, who had previously worked at AMD before Apple poached him in April 2009, specializes in graphics technology and is understood to have helped with Apple’s own chip-design efforts a great deal.
At AMD, Koduri will reportedly lead engineering efforts in visual computing, reporting to the company’s Chief Technology Officer Mark Papermaster, another Apple hire who left the iPhone maker over cultural incompatibility and after falling out of favor with late co-founder Steve Jobs… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Apr 16, 2013
New evidence has surface in the form of several Apple job postings advertising for silicon experts for the Orlando, Florida area, where the iPhone maker is rumored to be setting up a brand new shop for custom chip development. Among the seven positions advertised on the Apple Jobs web site are those specifically related to developing and testing processor and mobile graphics hardware… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Apr 10, 2013
We’ve been hearing lots of rumors claiming that Apple is taking its lucrative chip biz contract away from Samsung in the final sign that the partnership between the two firms on parts has all but fallen apart. What’s really interesting this time around is that a Korean publication that typically favors Samsung now claims that Apple has excluded Samsung entirely from its next-generation chip development project.
That’s a major development knowing Apple’s been paying billions of dollars to the Galaxy maker’s semiconductor arm to manufacture iDevice processor, using Apple-designed silicon blueprints… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Mar 30, 2013
Despite the ongoing legal wrangling over mobile technology patents, Samsung to this date remains the only supplier of Apple-designed processors which drive iPhones, iPads and iPods. The South Korean conglomerate has been exclusively building these chips according to Apple’s blueprints at its multi-billion dollar fabrication facility in Austin, Texas.
However, recent chatter increasingly points to rival Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) possibly stealing the Apple contract from Samsung as Apple looks to further distance itself from its chief rival.
A new report from South Korea alleges Apple has now actually excluded Samsung as a future mobile processor supplier. In turn, TSMC, which is the world’s largest independent semiconductor foundry, may produce a significant portion, even possibly all of mobile chips for Apple’s next-gen iPhone 6 to be released in 2014… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Mar 19, 2013
You’d be forgiven for being oblivious to ARM Holdings. After all, the UK-based company “only” supplies Apple – along with three hundred other device makers – with blueprints for dull computational engines that crunch numbers and run your sexy iPhone apps.
In all seriousness, ARM’s new CEO today acknowledged the company isn’t for sale, not to Apple, not to Microsoft, not to anyone. The right course of action, he argues, is to stay independent rather than side with one of its biggest clients and risk loosing others who “rely on the neutrality of our position.” This includes Apple, arguably the most well-known ARM licensee… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Mar 15, 2013
Apple shipped five million Apple TVs last year for a nearly $500 million in additional revenue. That’s a very successful hobby and while talk of Tim Cook & Co. building a standalone HD TV set remains just that – rumor mongering – Apple has quietly retooled the $99 set-top box, with most of the under-the-hood tweaks aimed at optimizing production costs.
AnandTech took a peek inside the gadget and found some minor changes. The publication found a significant reduction in the new model’s power consumption, directly related to the optimized A5 chip, leading AnandTech to speculate that perhaps Apple could use this chip for another device, “perhaps one powered by a battery” (hint: iWatch)… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Mar 14, 2013
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), the world’s leading independent semiconductor foundry, is reportedly finalizing production designs for Apple’s in-house engineered A7 processor expected to power a 2014 wave of iPhone, iPad and iPod upgrades. If a new supply chain report is anything to go by, the chip will be fabbed on TSMC’s 20-nanometer process technology, reportedly moving into risk production in May-June, with volume shipments expected in the first quarter of 2014.
TSMC has long been speculated to enter Apple’s supply chain and become a manufacturer of the engine which powers iDevices. So far, Apple has fabbed all of its iDevice chips at Samsung’s plant in Austin, Texas. This is the first time TSMC has been reported as actually prepping to manufacture Apple’s next-gen A-series chip. Earlier this week, we heard that in addition to TSMC, Samsung and Intel are also vying for Apple chip contracts… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Mar 13, 2013
Silicon analysts over at Chipworks were able to conclude yesterday that the smaller A5 package, which was recently discovered inside a retooled Apple TV, is still being fabbed on Samsung’s 32-nanometer process rather than on TSMC’s 28-nanometer technology, as some watchers speculate. Compared to its 2012 counterpart, the new A5 with a 2013 die is noticeably smaller, prompting questions on how Apple has managed to achieve a smaller die without changing fabbing technology.
The full A5 floorplan Chipworks published this morning reveals the culprit: the new die is smaller because the package contains just one ARM CPU core. Now, Apple has always rated the Apple TV as single-core, but previous implementations called for dual-core designs with one core intentionally disabled, though still present.
In removing one CPU core altogether, Apple’s silicon team was able to shrink the die size without having to switch to a more sophisticated fabbing process technology… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Mar 12, 2013
As we reported Monday, a retooled version of Apple’s $99 set-top box has been found to have a die-shrunk version of the iPad 2′s A5 chip rather than the A5X package, as previously speculated. Some market watchers even thought the new package is fabbed on Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company’s (TSMC) new 28-nanometer process. However, after conducting a thorough analysis of the silicon under sophisticated microscopes, chip wizards over at Chipworks and Silicon-IP have determined that the new A5 package is being fabbed on Samsung’s 32-nanometer process after all… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Mar 12, 2013
Another report surfaced this morning that gives us more reasons to believe that Apple is indeed looking to diversify its chip making contracts which thus far have been an exclusive Samsung domain. The somewhat accurate Asian trade publication DigiTimes quoted “institutional investors” who believe that chip giant Intel has been contracted to produce about ten percent of Apple’s planned capacity for a next-generation iPhone and iPad processor, the A7 chip.
Moreover, Apple is apparently spreading those orders across Samsung, Intel and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC). Samsung will reportedly build about half of Apple’s A7 orders, TSMC should take care of an additional 40 percent while Intel will get the remaining ten percent of orders. Rumor mills have been reporting for at least a year that Apple has been looking to move its chip biz away from rival Samsung, which currently builds all iPhone, iPad and iPod processors at its Austin, Texas plant… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Mar 7, 2013
A report Wednesday revives the old rumor that the world’s leading chip maker, Intel, is working on a strategic deal to manufacture processors that power Apple’s iPhones, iPads and iPods.
What’s different this time around, though, is the timing: Intel’s CEO Paul Otellini is on his way out and with CEO search still underway, the semiconductor giant could be poised to take its relationship with Apple to the next level.
The gist of the report is that Apple could contract Intel as a foundry, meaning the chip giant would tap its world-class manufacturing expertise to produce iPhone and iPad processors, as designed in-house by Apple, rather than persuade Tim Cook & Co. into adopting Intel’s own mobile Atom x86 chip architecture, which hasn’t made much inroads yet… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Feb 28, 2013
With about four months left until Apple’s worldwide developers conference, chatter intensifies that Apple is re-aligning its suppliers. With both the iPhone 5S and iPhone 6 allegedly spotted in the wild and leaked parts cropping up on Chinese forums, new reports indicate that Apple has substantially cut iPhone 5 screen and chip orders.
And because Apple is the world’s top chip buyer second only to Samsung, any material change in its orders immediately reflects on the entire industry. Little wonder that researches are now calling for a slow down in semiconductor equipment manufacturer orders… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Feb 22, 2013
Doesn’t it bother you that Apple sells its LTE devices like the iPhone 5 and latest iPads in a bunch of variants, depending on your carrier and geographical location? For example, the iPhone comes in two GSM models and one CDMA version. Blame it on the limitations with existing wireless chipsets, not Apple. Long-Term Evolution (LTE) is a fantastic technology, but it’s also highly fragmented.
And with nearly fifty different cellular bands in use globally worldwide, no wonder LTE is a bag of hurt, one that has introduced fragmentation unlike any other cellular radio technology before it.
Fortunately, chip maker Qualcomm has announced a new cellular solution which supports as much as 40 different bands on a single chip. It could finally allow Apple to build a truly global iPhone model that could support all implementations of the major cellular technologies used by carriers the world over… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Feb 10, 2013
We’ve known Apple’s been bolstering its in-house chip design with a new research and development (R&D) center planned in the Israeli city of Ra’anana. According to a new report, Apple’s third Israeli R&D center is scheduled to go online in the second half of 2013 and will be staffed by some 150 former Texas Instruments employees.
It was reported in December that Apple tapped a pool of former Texas Instruments employees in Israel after the chip maker had announced it was laying off a staggering 1,700 employees as a result of moving its focus away from smartphone and tablet processors and toward embedded applications like in-car computer systems… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Jan 25, 2013
The less-pricey iPhone rumor just wouldn’t die. Today, Forbes reports that the Cupertino, California firm is likely to use Qualcomm’s less powerful lower-end Snapdragon processor for the rumored budget iPhone thought to be targeted to price-sensitive shoppers in emerging markets like China, Brazil and elsewhere where carriers rarely subsidize handsets.
The story has it that such a device would not need the same kind of graphics, video and processing power as premium iPhones do and using Qualcomm’s integrated solution could enable the company to integrate the CPU, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi on a single chip rather than have three separate chips. As a result, Cook & Co. would be able to minimize costs, a necessity should Apple pursue the rumored $149 price point… Read More
By Ed Sutherland on Jan 23, 2013
South Korea’s Samsung has another reason to crow. After enduring talk that rival Apple would drop its rival for TSMC, demand for Samsung smartphones and tablets made it the largest customer of chips in 2012, replacing the iPhone and iPad maker in the worldwide chip eating challeng, reports said Thursday.
A Gartner report on semiconductor purchases also gives a rare glimpse into how much Apple is spending on chips for its smartphones and tablet devices. According to the researcher, Samsung increased spending on chips nearly double that of the Cupertino firm… Read More
By Cody Lee on Jan 22, 2013
This is kind of interesting. In an effort to move beyond PCs and expand its market, AMD just hired two high-profile chip experts: Charles Matar of Qualcomm, and Wayne Meretsky, formally of Apple.
The company currently depends on the PC industry for 80% of its profits. And with sales in that business dropping due to rising demand for smartphones and tablets, it’s looking to shift gears quickly… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Jan 22, 2013
Morris Chang, Chairman and CEO of the world’s largest semiconductor foundry, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), said in a recent earnings call that his company’s 20 nanometer process technology will outsell the existing 28 nanometer tech in its first two years. “Enough discussions have taken place, with enough customers who have large requirements (on 20nm), to lead us to believe that the volume will be very large”, he said without specifically mentioning Apple.
Of course, TSMC also makes chips for Qualcomm, Nvidia and other tech giants, but recently rumors have swirled that Apple is about to drop Samsung as a chip supplier and turn to TSMC, which will invest $9 billion this year while spending even more in capital expenditure in 2014 as it moves toward the more advanced 20nm and 16nm process technologies… Read More