By Christian Zibreg on Nov 12, 2013
Yesterday, the unconfirmed news broke out about a surprise tie-in between Apple and GlobalFoundries, the world’s top semiconductor foundry second only to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) which counts Nvidia, Broadcom, Qualcomm and AMD as its clients.
The Albany Times Union newspaper asserted that GlobalFoundries will build Apple’s A-series chips for iOS devices at a new $6 billion facility in upstate New York. The development has led some folks to conjure up that Apple could be finally ditching Samsung for semiconductor manufacture, but that’s not really the case at all. Read on… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Nov 11, 2013
Milpitas, California-headquartered GlobalFoundries, one of the top semiconductor operations in the world, owns and runs cutting-edge multi-billion dollar production facilities all over the globe in places like Germany, Singapore and the United States.
Along with TSMC, GlobalFoundries gets frequently contracted to build various chips for such clients as AMD, Broadcom, Qualcomm and STMicroelectronics. And now, the company has apparently scored a major win, Apple, if a new report is anything to go by.
According to an unnamed source “close to the company” who spoke to the Times Union newspaper, GlobalFoundries may soon start building processors for iPhones, iPads and iPods at its new $6 billion Fab 8 facility in Malta, New York, just north of Albany… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Oct 30, 2013
In a surprise announcement that sent shockwaves throughout the technology industry, Intel said it will open kimono to arch-rival TSMC and begin making chips for third-parties, based on CPU blueprints from the British fabless semiconductor maker ARM Holdings, plc. Apple is among the licensees of ARM’s technology for its own in-house chips which serve as the engine powering the iPhone, iPad and iPod devices.
This is a huge development. Not only will Intel, the world’s largest semiconductor company, now fabricate its own ARM-based 64-bit mobile chips starting next year, it will now undoubtedly compete for the lucrative Apple business, especially given the iPhone maker has long been looking to take its chip-making contract elsewhere… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Sep 30, 2013
Apple has made quite a noise about its brand new chip, the M7 motion coprocessor designed to offload taking sensor measurements from the iPhone 5s’s main A7 processor. Because the M7 requires at least one-sixth of the power versus the 64-bit A7 chip, it can log data from the accelerometer, gyroscope and compass sensors independently of the A7 package, thus allowing for substantial power savings.
The details of how this data is captured and what power savings developers can count on were kept to Apple’s chest until the Argus app made headlines as the first fitness software optimized for the M7 silicon. Here are a few previously unknown details about Apple’s motion coprocessor hardware… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Sep 30, 2013
The sometimes-reliable Taiwanese publication, DigiTimes, has been saying for years that Apple was shifting its chip manufacture away from Samsung and towards its rival, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC).
In its new report Monday, the trade publication now claims that TSMC will be responsible for the bulk of orders for Apple’s next-generation processor, the A8 chip, with Samsung taking care of about one-third of orders… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Sep 27, 2013
Following their initial analysis of the iPhone 5s’s innards, silicon experts at Chipworks have now taken a closer look at the handset’s 64-bit A7 processor to reveal a number of interesting tidbits in their initial low-level chip analysis. Based on transistor-level images of the Apple-designed, Samsung-built package, Chipworks was able to determine that the A7 consists of a dual-core processing core and quad-core graphics, tentatively identified as the four cluster version of Imagination Technologies’s PowerVR Series 6, the G6430.
Apple, along with Intel, is of course an investor with a ten percent stake in Imagination Technologies, the UK-based fabless semiconductor maker. Chipworks also focused on a portion of the A7 chip called Secure Enclave where Apple says fingerprint profile is stored securely and walled off from the entire system, except the Touch ID circuitry… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Sep 10, 2013
In revealing the new top-line iPhone 5s smartphone, Apple spent some air time talking about the all-new A7 chip. Contrary to previous reports and the somewhat mixed rumors, the new chip is 64-bit. This is huge. It’s the first time Apple’s made a jump to the modern 64-bit mobile architecture.
Apple says it’s the first such piece of silicon in a smartphone (“I don’t think the other guys are even talking about this,” Schiller said) and notes iOS 7 has been specifically designed with 64-bit computing in mind. They are calling it a “huge leap forward in mobile computing performance” as the A7 enables “desktop-class architecture” on a mobile device… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Aug 1, 2013
Micron Technology on Thursday informed investors it has completed its $2 billion acquisition of Elpida Memory, the third-largest maker of dynamic random access memory chips (DRAM) and an important Apple supplier. The rumored move was expected given Elpida’s been struggling for some time amid heightening competition with SK Hynix and Samsung.
The struggling Japanese chip maker last summer filed for bankruptcy and has since been in talks to sell its business to U.S.-based Micron Technology Corp. Apple placed a huge order with Elpida ahead of the iPhone 5 production, indicating desire to maintain its bargaining power by keeping the memory maker running.
Elpida’s memory products power Apple’s latest iPhones and iPads and are also found inside Google’s Nexus 7 and other non-Apple gadgets… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Aug 1, 2013
Apple has reportedly bought what’s being described a key technology in the arms race. The former Wall Street Journal reported Jessica Lessin, who is now gearing up to start a brand new news outlet, exclusively reported Thursday that the iPhone maker in recent months purchased Silicon Valley-based wireless chip developer Passif Semiconductor… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Jul 18, 2013
We’ve witnessed recently a mishmash of wildly unlikely predictions, genuine-looking iPhone 5S production shots, plenty of various other leaks and big media confirmations, all seemingly pointing to Apple flexing its manufacturing muscle ahead of upcoming new product launches.
Hot on the heels of this chatter, a Taiwanese trade publication chimed in Thursday claiming Apple’s chips suppliers are seeing a boost in orders from Apple, which could be interpreted as another solid indication that the company is ramping up production as it gears up for the next iDevice refresh cycle… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Jul 15, 2013
A story published this past weekend by a website called SemiAccurate has renewed speculation of Apple’s supposed interest in producing the engine for iDevices at a plant of its own, as opposed to simply designing silicon blueprints in-house and commissioning others to build the chips, as has been the case since 2010.
So if Apple really bought into a fab, as the exclusive story alleges, the non-trivial move would span years to complete while costing billions of dollars.
Worse, Apple would expose itself to unforeseen difficulties not limited to yield issues: running a sophisticated chip-making factory requires a disciplined approach to attracting and retaining highly-trained engineers, one analyst cautioned Monday… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Jul 15, 2013
The Wall Street Journal recently ran a report claiming that Apple has finally inked a deal with TSMC, or Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., to produce chips for iDevices, after the foundry met Apple’s requirements for speed and power usage. Pundits are adamant the agreement put the final nail in the coffin of the Apple-Samsung relationship.
They should hold their horses: it now seems Samsung has wrestled back some of the control amid talk its components arm will indeed produce sophisticated A9 chips to power Apple’s iPhone 7 in 2015… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Jul 12, 2013
The SemiAccurate blog is known for a mixed track report in terms of hardware news (hence the name).
For instance, it correctly predicted Apple would switch back to Nvidia’s graphics processors for 2012 MacBooks, but got it all wrong calling for an Intel-to-ARM transition for the Mac lineup by early 2013.
Today’s exclusive story, hidden behind a $1,000 paywall, claims Apple has made the unthinkable by buying into a third-party chip plant.
The semiconductor facility is believed to be operated by United Microelectronics Corporation (UMC), a Taiwan-based chipmaker established more than thirty years ago…
By Cody Lee on Jun 28, 2013
Following up a scoop from DigiTimes earlier this week, The Wall Street Journal is reporting this afternoon that Apple has finally inked a deal with TSMC, or Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., to produce chips used in the company’s iPhone and iPad products.
The two sides reportedly signed the deal, which has been in the making for a few years now, earlier this month after TSMC met Apple’s requirements for speed and power usage. And it signifies yet another move by the Cupertino firm to distance itself from Samsung… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Jun 24, 2013
After a long period of rumor mongering, it would seem that Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), the world’s largest independent semiconductor foundry, is finally stealing Apple chip biz from rival Samsung. If a new report out of Taiwan is to be trusted, Apple has cut a long-term deal with TSMC to produce A-series chips for future iPhones, iPods and iPads built on TSMC’s 20-nanometer, 16-nanometer and 10-nanometer process technology.
If true, it’s the final nail in the coffin in the strained Apple-Samsung technology relationship. And good riddance, too, because Samsung will no longer be able to have a headstart of Apple’s future semiconductor solutions… Read More
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