By Christian Zibreg on Jan 26, 2015
Apple’s forthcoming S-refresh of the iPhone — let’s call it an ‘iPhone 6s’ — is likely going to run an in-house designed ‘A9’ mobile processor and as much as 75 percent of the chips will be manufactured by Samsung, Reuters reported Monday citing a story in the South Korean newspaper Maeil Business.
Samsung is going to make the chips from its factory in Austin, Texas though it’s unclear how much the contract is worth (likely billions) and which supplier has picked up the remaining 25 percent of orders. Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Jan 15, 2015
Apple supplier Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) on Thursday announced record profits in the fourth quarter of 2014 buoyed by its lucrative chip-making deal with Apple for the new iPhones.
In addition, the firm announced migrating to a much finer 10-nanometer process technology this year after being among the first to adopt 20-nanometer chip-making technology in 2014.
According to KGI Securities analyst Ming Chi-Kuo, TSMC would not only pick up 100 percent of orders for Apple’s “A9X” chip, which should be used in an iPad refresh this Fall, but also get to produce an “S2” processor for a second-generation Apple Watch and an “A10” chip that should power a 2016 iPhone model, likely to be called “iPhone 7”. Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Jan 5, 2015
Monday, chip giant Intel took the wraps off a range of “Broadwell-U” processors poised to find their way into a MacBook near you. The fifth-generation Intel Core processor family utilities Intel’s 14-nanometer manufacturing process to deliver more speed and lower power consumption.
The new chips could possibly pave the way to a rumored MacBook Air model with a Retina display measuring twelve inches diagonally (the current Air models come in 11.6 and 13.3-inch varieties). Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Nov 4, 2014
Although Apple hasn’t officially launched its HomeKit yet (they’re still finalizing the protocol), first certified chips that run a beat version of the upcoming HomeKit firmware have begun shipping to smart home device vendors such as makers of connected climate controls, lighting, security cameras and door locks, Forbes reported Tuesday.
The iPhone maker requires that accessory makers use officially certified Bluetooth and Wi-Fi chips from Apple-approved chipmakers Texas Instruments, Marvell and Broadcom, which have now started shipping HomeKit chips to device vendors. By all accounts, there shouldn’t be too long a wait until first HomeKit-certified smart home devices arrive. Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Oct 15, 2014
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), the world’s leading independent semiconductor foundry, has landed a contract to fabricate Apple’s upcoming A8X mobile processor, Taiwanese trade publication DigiTimes reported Wednesday.
The chip, which leaked on claimed photographs earlier this week, is said to feature faster graphics.
In addition to an improved GPU, it reportedly incorporates twice as much RAM as its A8 counterpart, which powers the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. As such, the A8X should power Apple’s rumored ‘iPad Pro’ tablet with an ultra high-resolution 12.9-inch screen. Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Oct 2, 2014
Echoing previous rumors, Samsung of South Korea confirmed to reporters Thursday that it will start churning out mobile processors for Apple before end of the year, ZDNet reported. The chips, likely to be branded under the “A9” moniker, will be manufactured on Samsung’s cutting-edge 14-nanometer process technology.
The confirmation came through the mouth of Kim Ki-nam, president of Samsung’s semiconductor-making arm and head of System LSI business.
Speaking to reporters at company headquarters in Seoul, Ki-nam quipped that his company’s fortunes “will improve positively” once sales are boosted thanks to the lucrative Apple chip deal. The new mobile processor should make their way into 2015 iPhone and iPad devices. Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Sep 9, 2014
Apple’s new iPhones — the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus — come outfitted with Apple’s in-house designed A8 system-on-a-chip which has an astounding two billion transistors, twice as many as its predecessor, the A7.
The second-generation 64-bit mobile processor is fabricated on a smaller 20-nanomenter process technology making it more power-friendly and thirteen percent smaller than the A7. Read More
By Jake Smith on Aug 25, 2014
An eagle-eyed member of the MacRumors forum says the “Phosporus”component destined for the iPhone 6, leaked on Monday, isn’t a next-generation version of Apple’s M7 co-processor, but instead a barometric pressure sensor. It makes sense given the several rumors that have cropped up in recent months with word Apple plans a barometer used to measure atmospheric pressure in the iPhone 6. Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Aug 25, 2014
An Apple chip internally code-named ‘Phosphorous’ has been identified on leaked schematics and thought to replace the M7, a motion coprocessor which debuted inside the iPhone 5s last Fall. (Update: It’s looking like a barometer pressure sensor instead.)
It’s said to include the M7’s motion tracking functions and thought to be able to collect a number of health and fitness data from various health and fitness accessories and specialized medical devices.
This apparently includes heart rates, calories burned, cholesterol levels, blood sugar and more. It’s believed the chip works in tandem with iOS 8 and the new Health app, which allows users to enter a number of health and fitness-related data manually, or automatically collect these from various HealthKit-friendly accessories and wearables. Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Aug 14, 2014
In late-July, a claimed iPhone 6 circuit board leaked on the web. As it lacked the actual chips (it only showed the pin layout), it left watchers guessing as to whether the handset might include much-rumored NFC capability for a rumored Apple-branded mobile payment service.
Today, a photo purportedly showing a fully assembled logic board of the iPhone 6 has surfaced. Published by a Taiwanese blog, it reveals several semiconductor components such as a Toshiba flash chip and a Wi-Fi module… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Jul 11, 2014
Given Apple’s past mobile processor patterns, it’s fairly safe to assume that the new iPhones and iPads – when they drop this Fall – will feature a new A8 chip, designed by Apple and manufactured by both Samsung and Taiwanese chip foundry Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC).
We also heard whispers that the A8 chip focuses primarily on power efficiency and thus yields only marginal CPU speed increases. However, if a new report out of China is anything to go by, that may not be the case after all as the new 20-nanometer chip is said to boasts clock frequencies of 2.0GHz or more per core… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Jul 10, 2014
It’s been long rumored that Apple for years has been working with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), the world’s largest independent chip foundry, on building its in-house designed processors that power the iPhone, iPod touch, iPad and Apple TV devices.
Thus far, several conflicting reports have indicated that TSMC has been running test production of the upcoming A8 processor for months now, with other sources insisting that the Taiwanese chip foundry was unsuccessful kickstarting mass-production over ongoing yield issues.
A report Thursday by The Wall Street Journal has it on good authority that TSMC finally began shipping its first batch of microprocessors to Apple in the second quarter… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Jul 9, 2014
It’s hardly a secret that Apple is looking to phase out non-Retina models from its MacBook Pro lineup.
Furthermore, the expected switch to all-Retina notebooks should over time affect Apple’s ultra-portable MacBook Air model, too.
I mean, even Apple’s Taiwan-based suppliers have been adamant that a long-expected version of the MacBook Air with Apple’s Retina display is due in the second half of 2014.
Unfortunately, it’s now almost certain that a Retina MacBook Air won’t see the light of day this year because the crucial components – Intel’s next-generation, extremely low-power Broadwell chips – reportedly won’t be available in volume until mid-2015… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Jul 1, 2014
Kicking Samsung out of the supply chain for Apple-designed iPhone and iPad processors may be easier said than done.
For years now Apple’s attempted to kickstart mass production of these chips at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), the world’s largest independent semiconductor foundry, to no avail.
As TSMC continues to cope with yield issues, technological hurdles and scale, rival Samsung is said to have landed orders for Apple’s A9 processor set to appear inside next year’s iPhone and iPad devices.
According to a new report by DigiTimes, the somewhat accurate Taiwanese trade publication, the sophisticated microprocessor will be fabbed on Samsung’s advanced 14-nanometer process technology, albeit not exclusively… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on May 27, 2014
Apple has failed to follow through with its rumored acquisition of the chipmaker Renesas Electronics’ mobile display chip division, Renesas SP Drivers. Reuters reported Tuesday that the iPhone maker has definitely lost its bid to acquire Renesas to Synaptics, a company that builds touchpads and touchscreens for an array of mobile and desktop devices.
The development is especially newsworthy given that Synaptics was once an Apple supplier (the company is not listed on Apple’s list of 2014 suppliers). Basically, this means that the powerful consumer electronics powerhouse has gotten outbid by one of its former suppliers… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on May 26, 2014
It’s been speculated for years that Macs which run ARM-based processors instead of Intel chips have been in internal testing for quite some time.
This weekend a French publication has resurrected the rumor, claiming that the iPhone maker is indeed actively prototyping several ARM-based Mac models.
Moreover, the company is also working on a brand new keyboard which integrates the Magic Trackpad, Apple’s multitouch trackpad currently available as a standalone $69 accessory. But why would Apple transition from Intel to ARM-based chips and what benefits would such a major brain transplant bring to your daily computing?
Read on for the full reveal… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Apr 18, 2014
As Apple continues to move anything it can away from Samsung as a result of heightened competition, fierce rivalry and an ugly patent spat between the two technology giants, Samsung seems to be doing the opposite, hoping to to please Apple’s enormous appetite for mobile processors powering iOS devices.
More than a thousand in-house Apple engineers design chips like the A7 processor and the M7 motion coprocessor. The former, the mobile industry’s first 64-bit processor, serves as the engine that drives the latest crop of iOS devices like the iPad Air, the iPad mini with Retina display and the iPhone 5s.
To manufacture these things in volume according to its blueprints, Apple relies on some of the biggest of the chip-making services known as foundries because it doesn’t have or operate its own semiconductor plant, an investment upward of $10 billion.
Samsung semiconductor arm has thus far churned out all Apple-designed mobile chips. Moreover, the company remains adamant to do so in the future despite its straining relationship with Apple and persistent talk of the iPhone maker throwing itself into the arms of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), the world’s largest independent semiconductor foundry.
Samsung and GlobalFoundries, the Santa Clara, California headquartered chip foundry, yesterday signed a global partnership to standardize mobile chip production around the same 14nm FinFET process technology. The deal gives Apple the flexibility to build its A-series processors at both foundries, which was previously impossible due to the foundries’ incompatible production processes… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Apr 9, 2014
Following talk of Apple’s rumored initiative that would have it develop its own baseband chips for 2015 iPhones and iPads in-house, AppleInsider has learned the firm’s recently poached a pair of longtime semiconductor engineers from chipmaker Broadcom.
Both men are experienced at building RF hardware and have led the effort to produce baseband transceivers used by Nokia and Samsung devices.
Apple counts Broadcom as its supplier: the iPhone 5s uses a Broadcom touchscreen controller and the handset’s Wi-Fi chip by Murata is based on Broadcom’s BCM4334 module, according to a teardown analysis by repair experts over at iFixIt… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Apr 8, 2014
As you know, Apple’s in-house teams have been designing the engine that drives the iPhone, iPod touch, iPad and Apple TV devices for years now. However, the company still sources one crucial piece of silicon from a third-party: it buys baseband modems that provide the iPhone and iPad with cellular connectivity from Qualcomm. But even that could soon change, if a new rumor is an indication.
DigiTimes, the hit-and-miss Taiwanese trade publication, is reporting that Apple is planning to form a research and development team to engineer baseband processors for iPhones fully in-house. The move would empower the firm to take an even greater control of its chip destiny.
In years past, Apple acquired several fabless semiconductor makers such as PA Semi and Intrinsity for their talent and technology. Apple now has over a thousand silicon and wireless engineers who design A-series of chips in house by licensing CPU and GPU blueprints from ARM and Imagination Technology, respectively, optimizing their designs for speed, low power consumption and iOS… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Apr 1, 2014
The Japanese business site Nikkei is reporting that Apple is in discussions with chipmaker Renesas Electronics concerning taking over their division that builds mobile display chips, Renesas SP Drivers.
The deal should enable Tim Cook & Co. to bring another technological piece under their roof and help Apple’s engineers “improve image sharpness and battery life” on iPhones.
Renesas Electronics is included on the official list of Apple’s suppliers. Apple is known for investing in its partners and suppliers when it makes sense. For instance, the company holds a ten percent stake in UK’s fabless semiconductor maker Imagination Technologies which provides blueprints for GPUs used in iOS devices… Read More