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Apple is reportedly going to begin making its own chips and chipsets for the iPhone. It is fearful that hardware partners are sharing its secrets and competitors, and also upset about what it perceives as shortcomings in quality and perfomance.  (Source: kottkegae)
Apple seeks tighter control over the quality and cost of its cellular chips

Rocked by the slumping PC sales, the semiconductor industry really doesn't need more bad news.  However, reports indicate that Apple is making a surprising move that likely has some of its cell phone silicon partners reeling -- it is forming its own team design chips for its future iPods or iPhones.

In the past Apple has relied on partners, such as Infineon or Samsung Electronics Co., to design chips and chipsets for the iPhone.  The partnership was lucrative for the chipmakers, but for Apple it represented frustrations as the company hoped for lower power consumption and better graphical abilities. 

Apple has lured Raja Koduri away from Advanced Micro Devices graphics products group, where he was formerly chief technology officer.  Apple had already snatched Bob Drebin, the previous CTO.  In addition, Apple is filling dozens of hardware positions, the role of which it describes as "testing the functional correctness of Apple developed silicon."

Based on the site Linked-In, it appears that Apple now has over 100 engineers with extensive hardware experience.  These engineers worked formerly at leading hardware firms, such as Intel Corp., Samsung and Qualcomm Inc.  Apple is also advertising for a position designing chips that control displays, via the site Indeed.com.  With major chipmaker Spansion on the verge of folding, Apple is looking to snatch up the soon-to-be-unemployed engineers.  It participated in a special job fair for the employees facing impending layoffs.

Aside from possible improvements in quality and functionality, one perk Apple receives for designing its own chips is an increased secrecy.  Apple has long loathed having shared its tech surprises with chipmakers, only to see them leak to the press via loose lips. 

Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs says that the acquisition of Silicon Valley start-up P.A. Semi was a key step towards Apple making its own iPod and iPhone chips.  He states, "You can't just go out and buy the chips off the shelf to do that."

Sources at Apple indicate that the company believes that information shared with chipmakers like Samsung is being shared with its competitors.  Samsung declined to comment on the allegations.

It is likely that Apple will continue using the ARM architecture for the iPhone, licensed from ARM Holdings PLC.  Its chief aim with the new ARM chips will be better battery life and better graphical performance.



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Apple is loosing its mind
By Drexial on 4/30/2009 10:03:44 AM , Rating: 4
If I were a share holder with apple, I would be afraid of more then just Jobs physical health. They are turning it into Wonka land "Nobody ever goes in, and nobody ever comes out"

I would say those leaks are the best advertising that apple has. Their commercials are pretty pointless. Consider them teasers not leaks.




RE: Apple is loosing its mind
By JasonMick (blog) on 4/30/2009 10:10:08 AM , Rating: 3
You're just now figuring out that Jobs is nuts? ;)

The guy is an undeniable genius and has earned his place in tech history, despite his more questionable decisions, if nothing else for his guiding role in the rise of the PC. However, anyone who's worked with him or has known someone who has worked with him knows that he's a type I personality -- I for insane -- and is extremely tough to work/reason with.


RE: Apple is loosing its mind
By TheDoc9 on 4/30/2009 10:22:12 AM , Rating: 5
Einstein and Newton were genius's, that word is greatly overused these days.

Steve knows what he's doing, and I doubt company secrets has much of anything to do with this move.


RE: Apple is loosing its mind
By TomZ on 4/30/2009 10:24:26 AM , Rating: 4
Exactly - this move probably has more to do with CONTROL and COST.


RE: Apple is loosing its mind
By mofo3k on 4/30/2009 10:32:22 AM , Rating: 3
Unfortunately for them, their going to lose "control" of their profits when their "costs" skyrocket. Lets just hope Google doesn't lose focus with their Android platform.


By psychobriggsy on 5/1/2009 7:38:06 AM , Rating: 3
Ignoring RAM and Flash, the iPhone currently has a primary SoC (the 400MHz ARM11), a baseband SoC (ARM9?) and a wireless SoC (ARM7?), amongst others. Some of these have duplicate functionality. Three chips is costlier than one integrated chip. There's touchscreen controllers and other things in there as well.

Apple is surely making a single chip SoC to incorporate all functions into one device. They paid pocket change for PA Semi. You have to wonder what they will eventually come out with, but I see no reason for Apple's costs to "skyrocket". In the long term they should be lower, even with a short term rise to cover all of this design and purchasing work.

Note that lower costs will probably not translate into lower prices, just higher profits.


RE: Apple is loosing its mind
By reader1 on 4/30/09, Rating: -1
RE: Apple is loosing its mind
By TomZ on 4/30/2009 11:26:48 AM , Rating: 5
I think Apple has been happy to charge high prices on their own accord. It has nothing to do with costs from suppliers.


RE: Apple is loosing its mind
By C'DaleRider on 4/30/2009 11:56:20 AM , Rating: 1
If anything, it may, at least in the near term like the next few years, end up costing much more for Apple to take this route rather than outsource.

Not only do you have to pay for all the engineering and the engineers and their salaries, there is all the initial capital expense of setting up suppliers for PCB, sheet metal, transistors, memory, optical panels, etc. Then there are all the fabrication machinery to purchase, no small expense.

Then Apple will have to deal with California's environmental restrictions and requirements for industrial production....if I remember correctly, etching traces on PCB involves acid, which is tightly controlled under state and federal EPA.

Then there's the robotic soldering machines that will have to be purchased. And where to put the manufacturing? Buy more property and build?

Then the training for the employees to learn to use the machinery. And there's also all the HR costs associated with all these new employees....all the health benefits costs, unemployment ins. costs, and on and on.

Given Apple is taking this course, they may take quite a few years before this begins to save them any money.


RE: Apple is loosing its mind
By TomZ on 4/30/2009 12:01:34 PM , Rating: 4
I think at this point Apple is working to design their own chips, not manufacture them. So a lot of the costs and risks you mention don't apply.


RE: Apple is loosing its mind
By PrezWeezy on 4/30/2009 8:55:22 PM , Rating: 2
Can you keep a seal on what a chip is/does if you aren't manufacturing as well? I mean if you are sending the design to someone else to manufacture I would think you are, in effect, giving them the keys to the castle. So I would think if they want to control this they would have to manufacture as well. I may be wrong here, I don't know that much about chip making, only what I've gleamed from the internet.


RE: Apple is loosing its mind
By TomZ on 4/30/2009 9:13:17 PM , Rating: 1
I don't actually believe this is about the vendors leaking secrets. That's all PR. The vendors know they risk losing the business.

In addition, it is just as likely that an Apple employee would spill the beans, as one from an outside vendor.


By ThePooBurner on 5/1/2009 1:43:41 PM , Rating: 3
Not so. There are many fabless companies that just make designs and then have others manufacture them. Look at TSMC, for example. They make both Nvidia and ATi chips, but the other doesn't know the secrets of the other at all. Fab plants are good at keeping trade secrets secret because if they can't be trusted no one will use them and they will fail.


RE: Apple is loosing its mind
By omnicronx on 4/30/2009 11:35:18 AM , Rating: 4
The iPhone 3G in particular had an estimated materials cost of $175 a year and a half ago (some estimate that it is now as low as $150), you are kidding yourself if you think 'manufacturers gauging Apple' is the reason for their high priced products. Sure it will raise the price a bit compared to making the chips themselves, but companies compete for Apple contracts, there is no reason to believe what you are saying is true.

Furthermore you are also kidding yourself if you think Apple making their own chips will directly lead to them lowering prices. Chances are, this move is meant to raise their margins, especially when you consider that people buy Apple products regardless of price.


RE: Apple is loosing its mind
By reader1 on 4/30/09, Rating: -1
RE: Apple is loosing its mind
By omnicronx on 4/30/2009 12:16:49 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
The prices of Apple's products have dropped steadily over the years. For example, iPods once started at $250. It seems Apple is unable to lower prices further without building their own chips.
Wait.. Wait!!! Stop the presses! Are you implying that prices go down as a product matures? What a novel idea, perhaps Apple should patent that too!


RE: Apple is loosing its mind
By stromgald30 on 4/30/2009 12:19:44 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe it's because they have to deal with alot more compatibility in their OS than Apple does?

Technology in general has dropped in price steadily. The iPod has been no different. However, Macintosh computers have clearly gone the opposite way.

Vertical integration does generally reduce cost and optimizes the supply chain. However, to say that a monopoly is beneficial to the consumer is basically ignoring all the problems that come with monopolies (lack of innovation, increasing deadweight costs, lack of efficiency, etc.)


RE: Apple is loosing its mind
By reader1 on 4/30/09, Rating: -1
RE: Apple is loosing its mind
By omnicronx on 4/30/2009 12:52:53 PM , Rating: 4
That is nothing more than opinion my friend.. Horizontal monopolies can benefit the consumer, as in Microsofts case they are the industry standard. Paying a bit more money is well worth it when everything is compatible. Just imagine if there were 4 different operating systems with equal marketshare . I'm not saying their are not drawbacks, but to say it does not benefit the customer in all situations is completely incorrect. It all depends on the situation and the market in question.


RE: Apple is loosing its mind
By Pirks on 4/30/09, Rating: -1
RE: Apple is loosing its mind
By TomZ on 4/30/2009 2:53:56 PM , Rating: 3
Apple's model is to push that way past the point of diminishing returns for consumers, towards what is a vertical monopoly. That is their business model: vertical monopoly.


RE: Apple is loosing its mind
By Pirks on 4/30/09, Rating: 0
RE: Apple is loosing its mind
By TomZ on 4/30/2009 4:00:32 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
There's a lot of choice outside of Apple's walled garden
LOL, that's funny - "walled garden" is just a euphemism for "vertical monopoly."


RE: Apple is loosing its mind
By Pirks on 4/30/09, Rating: -1
RE: Apple is loosing its mind
By Pirks on 4/30/2009 4:23:28 PM , Rating: 1
Sorry, Tom, I've been too quck to post a reply here. Now I see you made a verbose post below.


RE: Apple is loosing its mind
By StevoLincolnite on 5/1/2009 1:52:49 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Paying more money on top of that when everything is even more compatible and very well integrated is worth it too (hint: I'm talking Apple model here)


So your saying the Mac has better compatibility than Windows? Have twisted are you Pirks!? o.0

The Mac has far less compatibility with software and the hundreds of different possible hardware iterations, with Windows you don't have to look to see if a Program is compatible, just install it and try it out, with a Mac I find you have to look/ask around for a Mac version.

The Mac might have a tighter integration with it's software however, I don't know what it's like these days, the last time I used a Mac was back in 1999, on a machine that was "old" even back then, I tried installing Age of Empires on it, only to have the machine scream "I'm a teapot!" back in my face.


RE: Apple is loosing its mind
By Pirks on 5/1/2009 12:18:31 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
The Mac might have a tighter integration with it's software however
You just answered yourself


RE: Apple is loosing its mind
By TomZ on 4/30/2009 1:07:19 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Vertical monopolies benefit consumers.
In some limited cases that can be true; however, in most cases the benefit of that type of monopoly is owned by the monopolist because it allows them to raise prices and limit choices - both bad things for consumers.


RE: Apple is loosing its mind
By Pirks on 4/30/2009 2:13:00 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
raise prices
Lie. Prices for iPods and iPhones have been only falling since their inception.
quote:
limit choices - bad thing for consumers
So when Apple makes it harder to get malware on iPhone by checking and approving apps submitted by ISVs - that's bad for consumers? You must be working for some AV software company or other security "analysts" type of thing because such an approval/verification system hurts only kinds of guys like you AV/security/scareware writers, not the consumers. Speak for yourself please.


RE: Apple is loosing its mind
By TomZ on 4/30/2009 2:43:45 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
Lie. Prices for iPods and iPhones have been only falling since their inception.
Sorry, I forgot you were here Pirks. Most readers understand what I mean, but I'll give you a "special" explanation. Monopolies raise prices relative what they would be if the monopoly did not exist. For example, iPods and iPhones are far from the lowest cost devices on the market. In fact, they are near the top in terms of cost. The fact that Apple lowers their prices from "obscene" to just "expensive" is irrelevant.
quote:
limit choices - bad thing for consumers
Again, for the mentally challenged...Apple limits the choice, for example limiting the compatible hardware and application to a very narrow subset, and of course all the hardware is basically Apple hardware. That's a loss of choice. Everyone understands this, almost everyone I guess.

Sure, it is a nice benefit that there is a short-term security-via-obscurity going on there, but most consumers prefer the wider choices available on the much more popular Windows platform, even if one of those costs is having to deal with more malware.


RE: Apple is loosing its mind
By Pirks on 4/30/2009 3:10:43 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
iPods and iPhones are far from the lowest cost devices on the market
They are far from the lowest quality (and/or functionality) devices on the market either. Of course you wouldn't be TomZ if you noticed that.
quote:
That's a loss of choice
How does it harm the consumer if there's still a lot of choice outside of the Apple ecosystem?
quote:
security-via-obscurity
I was talking about AppStore verification system and you suddenly changed subject into a totally unrelated topic of "obscurity". Why?


RE: Apple is loosing its mind
By TomZ on 4/30/2009 4:10:05 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
They are far from the lowest quality (and/or functionality) devices on the market either.
Funny, most reviews I've seen show these types of Apple products as being some of the best in the market, except for (a) they are typically lacking key features that competitors had, and (b) they are priced far beyond competitors. So a person such as myself shopping for value - instead of highest possible cost - would always choose something else. For example, a Samsung PMP over an iPod, etc.
quote:
How does it harm the consumer if there's still a lot of choice outside of the Apple ecosystem?
It harms the consumer because choosing Apple becomes an all-or-nothing gamble. For example, if I purchase an iPhone, I am force to buy apps through Apple. If I wanted to run OSX (God forbid), then I have buy overpriced Apple computers and can only upgrade with certain Apple hand-picked upgrades, not to mention software.
quote:
I was talking about AppStore verification system and you suddenly changed subject into a totally unrelated topic of "obscurity". Why?
Well you didn't state what you were talking about, did you? Maybe you and reader1 are connected at the cortex level, but for the rest of us, you'll have to spell it out.

...and to the point: I hate the idea of having to purchase any/all apps through Apple. I can't believe people put up with that. That's like a car manufacturer telling you that all car service MUST be done at an authorized dealership. It sucks.

Apple should allow you to download apps from anywhere, period. The only reason they have the closed app store is because it reinforces their business model of vertical monopoly.


RE: Apple is loosing its mind
By Pirks on 4/30/2009 5:12:06 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
a person such as myself shopping for value
"Value" is a subjective definition. Not to say that your definition of "value" is wrong, but most buyers in this market seem to disagree with it. Otherwise iPods wouldn't capture the dominant market share and iPhone wouldn't become the best selling consumer smartphone.
quote:
It harms the consumer because choosing Apple becomes an all-or-nothing gamble
It doesn't harm consumer because Apple is not the only choice consumer can make. If consumer doesn't like the option of going with Apple because Apple's products are too integrated with each other - then the consumer is free to walk away and pick another less integrated and more "open" product.

This situation is standard everywhere, you just refuse to see this for the reasons I can't understand. Take my favorite car analogy for example [yeah yeah, you'll start whining and crying now but it serves the purpose so just bear with me :)] and look into some expensive cars like Maybach or some Lexus models stuffed with collision radars and fiberoptics, embedded computers and whatnot.

You can't really blame Lexus or Maybach dealers warning you about possible dire consequences of you going to your local garage and asking your local Chevy/Ford Taurus/etc expert to look into the problem with that collision detection system or something. You probably realize that such premium and complex machinery requires training somewhat above the level of your local Taurus guru, don't you?

Now you can complain all you want about evil Lexus empire building their evil vertical monopoly thing where they just supposed to provide free training for all local Taurus gurus of the world instead. That looks funny.
quote:
I can't believe people put up with that. That's like a car manufacturer telling you that all car service MUST be done at an authorized dealership. It sucks.
Well, deal with the harsh reality then. Vertical monopolies are everywhere. MS suggests you to use only the WHQL drivers certified by MS - MONOPOLY!!! Lexus warned you about your local garage being unlikely to take care of your Lexus computer problems - MONOPOLY!!! Acer really wants you to send their notebook for warranty repairs to Acer depot - MONOPOLY!!! Jesus, how can you live in a such monopolistic world, Tom? You must be in a great pain then ;-)
quote:
Apple should allow you to download apps from anywhere, period
A guy walks into the walled garden and says "You guys should allow people to walk free, you should bring down the walls around your gardern because all the other gardens are without walls, period". What a priceless picture!


RE: Apple is loosing its mind
By TomZ on 4/30/2009 9:17:45 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Otherwise iPods wouldn't capture the dominant market share and iPhone wouldn't become the best selling consumer smartphone.
That would be the same explanation that Windows PCs dominate the market compared to Apple PCs.
quote:
It doesn't harm consumer because Apple is not the only choice consumer can make
It harms them because the typical consumer is probably not well-informed about the lock-in prior to purchase. It's not like Apple comes right out and says that they are going to lock you in.

The rest of your post is drivel, sorry I can't be bothered to reply.


RE: Apple is loosing its mind
By Pirks on 5/1/2009 1:43:14 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
That would be the same explanation that Windows PCs dominate the market compared to Apple PCs
Vertical monopolies don't conquer every possible market. They shine in MP3 player and smartphone market, don't shine in the PC world tho.
quote:
It's not like Apple comes right out and says that they are going to lock you in
It's not like MS comes right out and says that they are going to lock you in the Win32 world either. MS and Apple are absolutely the same in this regard. Hence by your logic MS lock-in also harms consumers.

The rest of the argument you lost, good :) Let's see if you can counter the two little ones above.


RE: Apple is loosing its mind
By Pirks on 4/30/2009 12:29:49 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
iPods once started at $250
You "knowledge" of history is baffling. They started at $399 actually. Did you notice how they came down in price since then WITHOUT Apple producing its own silicon? I think not!


RE: Apple is loosing its mind
By StevoLincolnite on 5/1/2009 1:56:20 AM , Rating: 2
It's a Miracle! Pirks got rated up!

Hell I remember when CD Burners cost a few thousand bucks when they were first released with 1x/2x burning speeds... Oh the joy!


RE: Apple is loosing its mind
By Pirks on 5/1/2009 12:22:12 PM , Rating: 2
It's not miracle given that any negative post about Apple gets automatically uprated here. If I wanted I could have all my posts at 5, but I don't like posting rubbish similar to "overpriced Macs use one button mouse OMG!!!11!!", I'll let other braindead morons to enjoy their 5s.


RE: Apple is loosing its mind
By Sazar on 4/30/2009 12:24:04 PM , Rating: 2
This is not how things typically work.

Once a company grows to a certain size, they can more aggressively demand pricing and dictate terms on some aspects of the negotiations.

Keep in mind that Apple is not going in there looking for one or two procs or whatever, they are making a LARGE bulk order.

The only time it should cost more is when you have a new product (which is usually what Apple is going for anyways) as they have the initial premium.


RE: Apple is loosing its mind
By Clauzii on 4/30/2009 11:24:43 AM , Rating: 4
That's a profile most great leaders have :)

This is a good move. Instead of Apple waiting for new designs from other chip-makers, this will get them to control more of the development, and probably make new features (chip wise) easier/faster to market.

It's easy to bash Apple for something that isn't out yet, so why not wait and see if it succeeds in a good way..


RE: Apple is loosing its mind
By OoklaTheMok on 4/30/2009 12:20:39 PM , Rating: 2
I think that contracting with suppliers that are the subject matter experts in their fields is the right way to go about things. Bringing everything in house is going to lead to design issues, since their products are used in so many fewer instances, there may not be as much testing involved. Suppliers are able to distribute the costs of testing across similar or like products.

This isn't the first time Apple has done this. Lets remember the Power PC. The entire subsystem of the PPC was crap. I had a friend who worked at IBM at the time, and design decisions dictated by Apple and Motorola effectively killed the platform. IBM ended up on the good side of things when they bailed on the partnership and ended up producing some great PPC derivatives.


RE: Apple is loosing its mind
By omnicronx on 4/30/2009 12:28:43 PM , Rating: 2
Apple didn't really design the PPC architecture at all, it was based on the previous IBM Power architecture.
While Apple definitely had a say in what they wanted from the chip, their relationship with IBM was far more similar to their relationship with Samsung/Infineon).

This is a much bigger venture than this, they will be completely designing the chips themselves (although they will have preexisting base to work with), and they will not have a big player to help them out.


RE: Apple is loosing its mind
By omnicronx on 4/30/2009 12:23:00 PM , Rating: 2
By the same account, it could also lead to problems. Apple has never actually designed their own chips (not for 20+ years at least for pretty much anything let alone a small but powerful device like the iphone/ipod). They will have pretty big shoes to fill considering how well most Apple products work right now. Chances are the first time around they will have many kinks to workout (regardless of all the talent they have brought in), but in the long run I agree this is a good idea.


RE: Apple is loosing its mind
By Samus on 5/1/2009 12:42:46 AM , Rating: 2
Kind of reminds me when 3Dfx bought its own foundries. We all know how well that went.


By StevoLincolnite on 5/1/2009 2:11:57 AM , Rating: 2
Actually they didn't only "just" buy foundries, they bought STB, basically 3dfx used to be like nVidia and ATI where they only sell the chips, however greed got the better of them at the wrong time, and started only releasing cards under the STB name, while they were working on the VSA100/VSA200 (Rampage?) chips.
And because they were no longer selling chips to company's like Diamand, Hercules, WinFast etc who in turn usually only made 3dfx solutions turn towards nVidia, paving the way for massive competition.

Other things that lead to 3dfx's demise was:

1) Expensive lunches and special cool stuff for employees.

2) Long product cycles.

3) Massive increase in Memory prices at a time when the Voodoo 4 and 5 were memory hungry chips, probably not helped by the fact that some cards had 2 - 4 VSA 100 cores each with there own 16/32/64mb memory pools.

4) Expensive designs, they added TnL via a separate chip on the voodoo 5 6000 for example, basically they usually just added an additional chip to the card and not having an all-in-one solution.

5) Glide, at first it was a great API that had an advantage over OpenGL and Direct 3D, but the competing API's closed the gap, hence 3dfx lost a big advantage in a world where most games were starting to ship with Direct 3D as the main API.

6) Poor Low-End and Mid-range chips, which were beaten to a pulp by the TNT 2 M64 and Geforce 2 MX/MX 100/MX 200/MX 400, and because of 3dfx's multi-chip design idea they couldn't compete on price.

7) Feature sets - They had a big disadvantage there with the Voodoo 3 only out-putting 24 bit colour. (16 bit at the frame buffer), and the Voodoo 2 being limited to 800x600 resolution, and the Voodoo 4/5 lacking TnL. - however to there credit the T-Buffer/Anti-Aliasing was great for it's time.

8) They also suffered extensive delays, often due to chips not reaching desirable clockspeeds, overheating issues, instability's which often required a re-spin of the silicon.

All those in conjunction with each other caused the downfall of 3dfx, not just because of the STB buy out, eventually nVidia bought them out, and in-turn the 3dfx team ended up making the Geforce FX.


RE: Apple is loosing its mind
By Doormat on 4/30/2009 11:39:43 AM , Rating: 2
Well since Jobs health-related time off, the stock has gone from the 80s (before the announcement) to 126. So as a stockholder I'm pretty happy with how things are being run. Apple has $29B in the bank, and they can afford to gamble on designing their own chips and having TSMC or whoever fab them. I'm interested to see how TSMC's 40nm ultra-low power chips perform.

I'm not expecting Apple to work miracles (iPhone with triple the battery life), but I'm expecting new features and marginal performance improvements (10-25%) without a impact on battery life.


RE: Apple is loosing its mind
By stromgald30 on 4/30/2009 12:26:23 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, this is what I was talking about in the article that Apple had $29B basically laying around. They were going to do something big, and I guess this is it.

However, I'm not sure about being able to 'afford to gamble' with making their own chips. Even with all that cash, a failed project of this magnitude would have more of an impact than just $$. Their relationship with suppliers will be strained and their image (if not from a consumer perspective, but from a business one) will be affected.

Despite that, I'm expecting that Apple will "succeed" in this endeavor and start producing their own chips regularly.


Cell Phone Chips? Isn't the title a bit off?
By BPB on 4/30/2009 11:52:25 AM , Rating: 2
Is this really about CELL PHONE CHIPS, or portable media player chips?




RE: Cell Phone Chips? Isn't the title a bit off?
By Sazar on 4/30/2009 12:25:51 PM , Rating: 2
How about it being for their alleged touch-screen netbook/MID?

That would make a lot of sense, especially when factoring in graphics capabilities.

The interesting thing is what the ION platform offers and why they would not take advantage of that.


By BPB on 4/30/2009 1:59:25 PM , Rating: 2
Could they make that small enough? I wonder.


By Pirks on 4/30/2009 2:22:01 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
what the ION platform offers and why they would not take advantage of that
Because they are integration-obsessed perfectionist control freaks.


By aj28 on 5/1/2009 6:06:42 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The interesting thing is what the ION platform offers and why they would not take advantage of that.


It would eat into MacBook sales. Having installed and run OS X on a Dell mini 9 I can safely say that the Atom is more than capable of running Apple's full-featured OS, even with shoddy Intel graphics. Plus, they've got nothing to gain in that market. Ion is expensive as it is and consumers flat out don't care, meaning profits would suffer meaninglessly. I would imagine nVidia is facing a lot of the same issues AMD does in the OEM business. You can't compete with Intel and the incentives they're willing to provide to move product... They'll fend off Ion that way till they've got a newer, cheaper, more capable chipset prepared.


im doubting it will ever get to market
By kattanna on 4/30/2009 10:55:02 AM , Rating: 2
one just doesnt make a new architecture from the ground up without severe hurdles.

designing a wholly new chip is no easy feat, unless they plan on licensing large parts of, which would then defeat the point of getting your own team.

what next, they going to build their own foundry to produce these chips? seriously doubt that as well.

next up.. if it is truly a new chip, that means rewriting lots of underlying code.

plus they might even have to make a new chipset to go with it unless they are also licensing bus tech.

anyways, if they are just now hiring people to start this, they got a good 5 years for it to even see the light of day, much less market.

and hopefully.. the chip doesnt have apples "awesome" first run quality.

plus, by the time they do, if they can, get something out.. those in the industry will already have something much more competetive in the market nullifying any possible gains for apple.

complete waste of money, IMO.




By monomer on 4/30/2009 11:22:59 AM , Rating: 2
I highly doubt they will be designing new architectures. They will probably be working on an ARM-based SOC with a basic 3D GPU.


Good thing they have $29 billion in cash...
By Boze on 4/30/2009 1:44:19 PM , Rating: 2
...because they're gonna need it to stay afloat after this ship sinks to the bottom of the ocean.

Starting to design their own hardware... in the midst of a global recession... which might possibly end up a global depression. Once those new pieces of Apple hardware come off the assembly line, how much are they gonna cost? Jobs is no fool... he might be crazy, but he's no fool. He's going to pass those research and development costs along to the consumer. And if we're still in a recession, or even worse, a depression by the time those devices are shipped out to consumers, who is going to buy them?

The usual crowd of Mac zealots who will live in a one-bedroom studio apartment the size of my closet? Yes, certainly. Maybe the soccer mom or soccer dad who's married to a wealthy professional? Possibly. The average Joe and Jane busting their butt to make it in the world? I doubt it...

Good decision, but... the world's... worst... timing... EVER .




By psychobriggsy on 5/1/2009 7:50:04 AM , Rating: 2
Lots of companies design their own chips, it isn't a massively costly enterprise (especially when you have $29b in the bank and you own a chip design company). PA Semi designed and fabbed their own 2GHz 20W dual-core PowerPC chips before Apple bought them. Physx designed and made chips. Loads of companies do it.

Do you seriously think that when it comes to Apple, who have hired the best in the industry, this will somehow change?

Let's be honest here, Apple's design will be a SoC comprising of an ARM Cortex A8 core (or implementation thereof), an Imagination Tech GPU (PowerVR SGX), baseband, wireless, touchscreen, audio, etc. Nothing amazing, but requiring skills to integrate together. That's the PA Semi work. The recent hires probably relate to projects two or three lines in the future. If they're going to start designing and building their own logic instead of licensing it then they might have problems, but the PA Semi guys seem to be knowledgeable.


By Etsp on 4/30/2009 10:41:36 AM , Rating: 3
After all, he was Apple's original hardware guru... I think he'd be one of the most suited people to lead the team. Although, based on the article, it sounds doubtful that he'd be a part of this.




Got my approval.
By Casual Observer on 4/30/2009 10:05:29 AM , Rating: 2
Certainly raises the cost of entry into the same market. Optimized microcodes saving cycles, saves energy and time. Seems ok to me.




Quick photoshop job
By bighairycamel on 4/30/2009 11:25:47 AM , Rating: 2
Worth noting.
By crystal clear on 4/30/2009 11:36:30 AM , Rating: 2
Add to the team being assembled this-

Mark Papermaster, the ex-IBM exec who tried to move to Apple but was blocked by a court order, will be starting at Apple as the senior VP of Devices Hardware Engineering as of April 24, 2009. Apple made the announcement today, saying that Papermaster will report directly to CEO Steve Jobs and that the litigation between IBM and Papermaster "has been resolved."

Apple and Papermaster originally announced that he would be starting at the company late in 2008 in order to lead Apple's iPod and iPhone hardware engineering teams.



http://arstechnica.com/apple/news/2009/01/apple-pa...

Also during Apple's 2008 earnings conference call, CFO Peter Oppenhiemer mentioned a "future product transition" that would have a significant material impact on product margins.

This R&D team is capable of developing something worth noting & the wait.

The technologies developed hardware/software will also be incorperated into other existing Apple products,like the Macs etc.

Apple has to invest more in battery technology to power this new generation product/s,besides being safe & reliable.





Looks like Jobs is taking a RISC
By Dfere on 5/1/2009 12:38:38 PM , Rating: 2
'Nuff said...




Vertical monopolies benefit consumers.
By reader1 on 4/30/09, Rating: -1
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 4/30/2009 10:23:04 AM , Rating: 4
Tell that to Sony. Their vertical monopoly seems to have fizzled and died.


RE: Vertical monopolies benefit consumers.
By reader1 on 4/30/09, Rating: -1
By omnicronx on 4/30/2009 1:04:55 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Blu-ray would be far more successful now if it wasn't for piracy. Microsoft's doesn't do anything to stop piracy because they profit from it and would lose their monopoly if they took action against it.
So.. Vista/7 DRM features (which were designed and implemented before BD was even available to the masses) that specifically forces hardware to support HDCP to output HD content such as Blu-Ray and HD-DVD do not count?

Yep.. that was all done to promote piracy!

Apart from this what could they possibly do to stop piracy? MS cannot legally tell its users what they can and cannot have on their computer, period!

Yet another baseless claim from reader1, it seems like you may be the new Pirks, as he seems to have laid off the crazy coolaid.


By themaster08 on 4/30/2009 2:54:59 PM , Rating: 1
For your most informative and intuitive posts, consider yourself to have -2 on both accounts.


RE: Vertical monopolies benefit consumers.
By TomZ on 4/30/2009 10:23:13 AM , Rating: 2
If you're being serious, then this is the most idiodic thing I've heard all day.

If you're being sarcastic, then well done!


By HaB1971 on 4/30/2009 11:41:33 AM , Rating: 3
No he\she\it is being serious as all previous posts by reader1 seem to revolve around the word Monopoly .

All attempts at reasonable discussion result in more ranting about monopolies


By SnakeBlitzken on 4/30/2009 10:57:23 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, I certainly hope you're being sarcastic.

I guess this news means no more cracked iphones.


RE: Vertical monopolies benefit consumers.
By Radnor on 4/30/2009 11:26:45 AM , Rating: 2
There is nothing better than a Top-Down/vertical integration approach.

- Greater optimization
- Reduced bugs
- Lower costs
- More innovation

To that i would like to add.

- Quality control
- Enhanced profits
- SCM/CRM Control
- Branding/Marketing penetration
- Diversification

And many, many more.

Honestly, i hate the "sticker" phase we are passing through. Everybody makes the same thing, Acer, HP, Dell, Lenovo are basically "Cardboard box" manufacturers. The only thing that changes is the support and warranty.

I would love this outsourcing trend would just stop.


RE: Vertical monopolies benefit consumers.
By sprockkets on 4/30/2009 12:33:34 PM , Rating: 2
It costs too much. The days of OEMs making their own pcs actually stand out are over, as well as the proprietary BS that came with it. Gateway was such a nice computer back in the day, but it is just another clone. You can perhaps blame emachines for killing the market and at the same time making cheaper systems.

Apple is simply going to make the part of the phone that they need to make for themselves just as Nokia and Moto already do. However, given their track record, Steve knows how to make UIs and not hardware, and it shows on the times the iphone has poor quality voice calls. It doesn't matter that it took them 3 years to make a phone that came with the features that all other phones had since everyone buys an iphone, but as with anything, no one manufacturer can build the perfect phone, ever.

Hopefully they can change this. But, I seriously doubt Apple will make a better phone than Nokia on the phone side of things.


RE: Vertical monopolies benefit consumers.
By Fox5 on 4/30/2009 1:42:30 PM , Rating: 2
I disagree, computer makers are finally starting to differentiate themselves again. The backlash against Vista and Apple's success are starting it.

Look at HP's non-standard PCs they sell now. VoodooPC has always done nice stuff, and the HP Touch, dv2, and a variety of other products stand out. They even put custom GUIs on top of Windows in some of their products.
Dell is starting to follow suit too.
Not to mention picking up Ubuntu (and derivatives of it for netbooks/touch screens).

I think it's a good start. Only the backend of an OS needs to be the same, the front end could easily be handled by the major computer makers. And even the backend can be changed as long as its functional enough for its market.


By sprockkets on 4/30/2009 2:58:02 PM , Rating: 2
I'll agree on that point, and was going to post that, but, it isn't the same level as it was back in the 90s. Back then Dell did proprietary power connectors, some did wacky form factors, and IBM did their own ports.

It's nice to have some standards nowadays with Intel doing all the work and no one else.


By QueBert on 5/2/2009 3:30:54 AM , Rating: 1
Nokia phones sucks (yes I said it) I'm not saying the iPhone is great as a phone. But you couldn't pay me to use a Nokia. The Nokia 5310 I had was decent at best, it got horrible reception so I chucked it. The Nx phones are basically an uber camera, and a shitty UI. If a company sets out to make PHONES better than Nokia and can't, they should stop trying to make phones at all. Nokias are 5MP cameras and shit that has nothing to do with a phone. Take away the camera and you have a sub par phone. A Motorola E815, which is YEARS old, is a PHONE Nokia will never be able to match. Same with my Sanyo 5300. I would even say Ericson makes better phones, my Sony w810i was better than any Nokia I've owned, or used.


By Clauzii on 4/30/2009 11:28:13 AM , Rating: 1
"It's admirable for Apple to take on this burden for the benefit of the people. They are true leaders in these dark times." - Agree.

But that 'vertical monopoly' is utter nonsense ;)


"It seems as though my state-funded math degree has failed me. Let the lashings commence." -- DailyTech Editor-in-Chief Kristopher Kubicki














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