Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question
Closed

Apple Launches Its Own CPU, the 1GHz A4

Last response: in News comments
Share
January 27, 2010 5:49:16 PM

YEY...more competition = better products+ lower prices for us the consumer....
Score
21
a b à CPUs
January 27, 2010 5:49:51 PM

Will Apple become a semiconductor manufacturer? Only time will tell.
Score
3
Related resources
January 27, 2010 5:50:30 PM

this article is true in so many ways. I can't wait to see this in mobile devices but by knowing apple, it'll probably only be found in apple phones
Score
15
January 27, 2010 5:52:19 PM

It's a matter of time before Apple changes their Macs to run on this new instruction set. After all, they've been on x86 for a few years now, and that's really pushing it.
Score
1
January 27, 2010 5:53:41 PM

Interesting development, is apple gonna try to get in on the CPU business? Or at least the ultra mobile processing sector. Future iPhone/iPod touch CPU here? Would they license it out for others to use in their products? What kind of instruction does it use? Was it inspired my PowerPC CPU's at all? ARM??? btw, i still can't get over the name "iPad" every time I think of.. well you know what ;) 
Score
1
a b à CPUs
January 27, 2010 5:54:38 PM

Articlethe Apple A4 could power the next wave of super-smartphones


I don't see this, I just see it powering the next wave of APPLE branded devices, not any other brands.
Score
20
January 27, 2010 5:54:53 PM

This new A4 sounds good compared to other cell-phone processors, but shouldn't we really be comparing it to netbook CPUs? At $630 to $830, Apple is pushing this thing far out of the reach of any comparable 3G smart-phone running Snapdragon. Without the Apple hype machine this is just one severely over-priced e-book reader.
Score
6
January 27, 2010 5:55:52 PM

gayanYEY...more competition = better products+ lower prices for us the consumer....


you are forgetting one major thing... Its Apple. The term "lower prices" is not in their dictionary. Since this obviously is not going to be priced for the mainstream, it will not much affect other processors which are already priced decently.
Score
18
January 27, 2010 5:57:17 PM

Sweeeeet... I was tired of the lack of competition in the cpu business. Apple should go into the business of RISC based processors.
Score
2
a b à CPUs
January 27, 2010 5:58:14 PM

Now they need to force them to use them in a mac since osx requires apple hardware to be installed.
Score
1
a b à CPUs
January 27, 2010 5:58:58 PM

snurp85you are forgetting one major thing... Its Apple. The term "lower prices" is not in their dictionary. Since this obviously is not going to be priced for the mainstream, it will not much affect other processors which are already priced decently.


$499 is pretty good for something with as much capability as a netbook.
Score
-2
January 27, 2010 6:06:07 PM

deadlockedworld$499 is pretty good for something with as much capability as a netbook.


^ This.
Score
3
January 27, 2010 6:16:49 PM

But.......Will it run......Crysis?
Score
-7
January 27, 2010 6:21:20 PM

You can't really compare this to a netbook. Last time I checked a netbook has a keyboard.
Score
10
January 27, 2010 6:21:38 PM

Considering that an Atom struggles to Play HD video I doubt:

Quote:
The Apple A4 can play back HD video for 10 hours before requiring a full battery charge
Score
-4
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
January 27, 2010 6:22:28 PM

calm down people -take note - it runs iPhone apps. Unless Apple are using some dynamic translation of instruction sets - it's running on an ARM CPU. Apple are rumoured to have licensed the ARM architecture so most probably it's an ARM A9 CPU with GPU from Imagine surrounded by some custom silicon from Apple. Not exactly breakthrough - Nvidea have already released a dual A9 CPU which looks just as/far more intriguing.
Score
7
a b à CPUs
January 27, 2010 6:22:45 PM

I agree with snurp85. Apple doesn't compete, they carve out their own market segment. The only things you'll see running this processor are iPads, iPhones, and iPods. You won't be able to buy anything else with this processor. Therefore, prices on other ARM/RISC chips will not go down. Instead, you'll just see other companies releasing poorly made copies of Apple products trying to cut their way into Apple's market.

It's not like Intel releasing Atom (which could be put in anything). Apple's new chip will only be used by Apple for Apple products. In fact, other ARM chips might go up in price, since Apple won't be putting them in millions of iPhones and iPods anymore.
Score
4
January 27, 2010 6:24:33 PM

Interesting to see them take even one more step into total control over hardware as they're becoming even more self-reliant.

They've got the cash, but now they're getting into the AMD/Intel arms race. It feels like the equvilent of the Cold War buildup for the US and the USSR and China saying, "Hey I want in too! Point some missles my way!"
Score
0
January 27, 2010 6:26:56 PM

Is this article a joke? The A4 won't power HD playback for 10 hours. They said the iPad has a battery life of ten hours (which means more like 6-8) and they’re certainly not quoting that with HD playback. Also how do you know it out performs the Snapdragon? No tests have been done and the Snapdragon processor can also power devices with HD resolutions. Know your fact before you write junk like this. You must be a complete Apple fanboy.
Score
14
January 27, 2010 6:27:09 PM

deadlockedworld$499 is pretty good for something with as much capability as a netbook.


I don't consider this comparable to a netbook if I can't install the applications I want, only the ones Apple approves. Besides, $499 is WAY too much to pay for a netbook. That much will get me a 2.2GHz laptop with tons more screen, storage, and RAM:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I'm not normally against everything Apple does, but $500 to read the NYT while listening to music is ridiculous. If Apple wants to push their new CPU out to third parties and allow some competition to the iPhone and netbook market I'd be happy, but that wasn't part of today's over-hyped press event.
Score
7
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
January 27, 2010 6:33:37 PM

"In fact, at its current spec and frequency, the Apple A4 can play back HD video for 10 hours before requiring a full battery charge."

This is kind of misleading because it implied that all this playback is being done in software. There is almost certainly a dedicated H.264 chip in these things or a dedicated 264 block on the processor.
Score
1
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
January 27, 2010 6:37:23 PM

You realize its:

a) not a cpu it's a soc
b) its based of dual cortex a9 (arm) right?

So, yeah, maybe delete that article and start again?


Score
10
January 27, 2010 6:37:26 PM

Interesting...I was no expecting this. I am curious to see how this all plays out.
Score
2
January 27, 2010 6:38:36 PM

mav1014Is this article a joke? The A4 won't power HD playback for 10 hours. They said the iPad has a battery life of ten hours (which means more like 6-8) and they’re certainly not quoting that with HD playback. Also how do you know it out performs the Snapdragon? No tests have been done and the Snapdragon processor can also power devices with HD resolutions. Know your fact before you write junk like this. You must be a complete Apple fanboy.


Apple said at the event, that it can read a book, do browsing, or watch videos, for 10 hours. And they even said on their website for the iPad:

"# Up to 10 hours of surfing the web on Wi-Fi, watching video, or listening to music. Testing consisted of full battery discharge while performing each of the following tasks: video playback, audio playback, and Internet browsing using Wi-Fi. Video content was a repeated 2-hour 23-minute movie purchased from the iTunes Store. Audio content was a playlist of 358 unique songs, consisting of a combination of songs imported from CDs using iTunes (128-Kbps AAC encoding) and songs purchased from the iTunes Store (256-Kbps AAC encoding). Internet over Wi-Fi tests were conducted using a closed network and dedicated web and mail servers, browsing snapshot versions of 20 popular web pages, and receiving mail once an hour."

Maybe you should get your facts straight?

/ Tuan
Score
-3
January 27, 2010 6:39:47 PM

mav1014Is this article a joke? The A4 won't power HD playback for 10 hours. They said the iPad has a battery life of ten hours (which means more like 6-8) and they’re certainly not quoting that with HD playback. Also how do you know it out performs the Snapdragon? No tests have been done and the Snapdragon processor can also power devices with HD resolutions. Know your fact before you write junk like this. You must be a complete Apple fanboy.


And for the record, I said the iPad seems dull to me in the article.
Score
-4
January 27, 2010 6:48:53 PM

I agree with most here that Apple probably won't share their new A4 chip, but only time will tell.
Score
1
January 27, 2010 6:53:48 PM

Doesn't matter how good that chip is. We all know there's a group of people that will flock to and buy this chip wether it's a crap one or great one.
Score
1
January 27, 2010 6:55:15 PM

Is everyone drinking the Cool-Aid? What about Tegra 2 with TWO OUT-OF-ORDER cores. I'm also thinking the GPU could destroy this processor while using less power. Did everyone forget about all of the tablets that were released at CES last week? The only thing that makes this "better" is the fact that Apple made it. No wonder so many doctors prescribe Ritalin these days.
Score
9
January 27, 2010 6:55:58 PM

I was really hoping for something that actually used full blown OSX; like a touch screen MacBook Air? This is good attempt at a great product but it seems to me like a glorified iPod Touch. I'll have to see how good of an e-reader this will make in day light since other e-book readers are specialized for day light.
Score
2
January 27, 2010 6:59:20 PM

Quote:
Considering that Qualcomm's 1GHz Snapdragon powers Google's Nexus One, the Apple A4 could power the next wave of super-smartphones.

One slightly important difference between the Snapdragon and the A4 is the latter of the two is missing a baseband processor. I'm pretty sure we've seen the end of the days where smartphones contain a discreet cellular modem; single die implementations are simply far more power efficient.
Score
1
January 27, 2010 7:19:02 PM

voxadamOne slightly important difference between the Snapdragon and the A4 is the latter of the two is missing a baseband processor. I'm pretty sure we've seen the end of the days where smartphones contain a discreet cellular modem; single die implementations are simply far more power efficient.


The A4 actually does have a baseband processor in it. It's just in the cheaper version, it's disabled.
Score
-2
January 27, 2010 7:22:05 PM

But is it a completely new architecture, or is it based around ARM reference designs like the A8 or A9?


In any case, with Tegra 2 (dual A9's) and Snapdragon 2 (dual 1.5GHz Snapdragon cores) around the corner, the Apple A4 leaves me unimpressed.
Score
4
January 27, 2010 7:23:21 PM

eddieroolzWill Apple become a semiconductor manufacturer? Only time will tell.


There is a significant problem with this plan. Apple LOVES exclusivity. They keep everything as proprietary as possible. With that in mind, think of the cost of producing a CPU. Nvidia's CEO has said that it generally costs a billion dollars to bring a chip from concept to manufacturing.

Now you have a billion dollars spent in research and no profit and you still do not have a product. It can be pretty expensive to start manufacturing chips. At most companies will have spent around $1.1 billion to $1.2 billion but they can now sell their product and start to recoup some of the expense they put into it. However, this does not fit in with the Apple business model.

Apple will want to keep it for internal use only. This means that after spending over a billion dollars and over a year on a product they now have to spend even more time and money on hardware and software development. This is while they command a small percentage of the PC market (3%). It MAY work for the mobile sector where they have more of an advantage but if they ever release a dud it could have huge ramifications. This tablet is a major gamble that could account for large losses if things do not go exceedingly well for them.
Score
1
January 27, 2010 7:25:16 PM

Who would ever think that apple would become responsible for the terminators... :-P
Score
-3
January 27, 2010 7:26:18 PM

gxsolaceThe A4 actually does have a baseband processor in it. It's just in the cheaper version, it's disabled.


Who did they get a baseband core from? I don't remember PA Semi having such an offering and designing DSPs is completely different than designing general purpose CPUs.
Score
1
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
January 27, 2010 7:36:49 PM

The A4 can play back HD (which probably means HD ready) for 10 hours most likely because of the battery. If you give a SnapDragon/Tegra/TI OMAP a 3000 mAh battery (one that powers most netbooks), it'll definetely do the same. Because this is probably based on Cortex A8 anyway, this chip won't be much different from others.
Score
2
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
January 27, 2010 7:38:42 PM

apple did not develop their own processor.

it is an ARM based core.
Score
4
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
January 27, 2010 7:41:06 PM

Models A1 through A3 were not entirely successful.
Score
0
January 27, 2010 7:43:08 PM

tuannguyenApple said at the event, that it can read a book, do browsing, or watch videos, for 10 hours. And they even said on their website for the iPad:"# Up to 10 hours of surfing the web on Wi-Fi, watching video, or listening to music. Testing consisted of full battery discharge while performing each of the following tasks: video playback, audio playback, and Internet browsing using Wi-Fi. Video content was a repeated 2-hour 23-minute movie purchased from the iTunes Store. Audio content was a playlist of 358 unique songs, consisting of a combination of songs imported from CDs using iTunes (128-Kbps AAC encoding) and songs purchased from the iTunes Store (256-Kbps AAC encoding). Internet over Wi-Fi tests were conducted using a closed network and dedicated web and mail servers, browsing snapshot versions of 20 popular web pages, and receiving mail once an hour."Maybe you should get your facts straight?/ Tuan


I would be careful with those quotes. Notice all the cheats.
No mention of video resolution used. Upscaling ipod resolution video of unknown compression level is not the same as decoding a 1920x1080 blue-ray disc video stream. So yes new out of the box it can play up to 10 hours of ipod video and nothing else.
Browsing using wifi where you are right next to the AP using snapshots so everything is right there and pushed instantly using, virtually no errors, minimum transmission power, etc Smells like an idealized test to me.
Honestly tegra and other moble video/system chips have brought down power costs and cpu usage for all of these kinds of activities that used to be done only on the CPU for far less power. Claiming that the Apple A4 is amazing because it is used in a device that can do this without knowing more about the device's hardware makes this article amost all speculation. And honestly I am tired of it. Get the device, do a tear down and honest real world testing and then post when you have the real deal.


Score
3
January 27, 2010 7:46:56 PM

But can it support multitasking?
Score
5
January 27, 2010 7:50:06 PM

Unimpressive.
In the Nvidia CES conference it was said that Tegra 2 can play 16 hours of HD video.
Score
5
January 27, 2010 8:01:44 PM

zipzoomflyhighApple didn't design it, PA Semiconductor did.



Thats like saying AMD doesn't make graphics cards, ATI does. AMD bought them, therefore its their product.


Man, you just made me defend Apple.

*Shudders*

Don't do that again.
Score
8
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
January 27, 2010 8:08:02 PM

I think a A4 is a 64bit Risc chip. the HD 720p video they talk about is not the same as blu-ray 1080p. I would say that iphone processor can already decode 720p running 0.6GHz. it would be interesting to see how the two chips compare power per watt. ARM's new cortex A9 chip can be run as a duel core or even quad core. and their new mobile graphics chip can do 1080p no problem and very advanced 3D at very very low power . so the A4 seems a bit average so far. apart from being 64bit which just means it uses twice the power for a 10% boost in perforce. but it's still early days yet. how long would a ipad battery last with a 1Ghz iphone 3GS processor (ARM CORTEX A8) maybe 12hours.

http://www.engadget.com/2009/08/20/iphone-3gs-totally-c...

personal I think that apple should have gone with duel core 800Mhz ARM cortex A9 with a ARM mali 200 graphic chip. think that would give it best performance per watt ie best battery life.
Score
0
January 27, 2010 8:18:15 PM

WOW! 10 hours?! TEN?! I want one of those in my next laptop.
Score
-1
January 27, 2010 8:24:06 PM

Can't wait to see what the future holds down the road, maybe ppl will start have OC'ed PowerMac's. in the future Tom's will have articles like, "how to get the most out of your Mac" or "Mac holds OC record!" We will have to see.....
Score
-5
January 27, 2010 8:30:16 PM

They bought a cpu to stop hackintosh
lame
Score
3
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
January 27, 2010 8:34:16 PM

Agree, bound to be a ARM A9 with some gfx chip bonded on...

Yawn.....

You Apple fanboys (girls) make me sick.
Score
2
January 27, 2010 8:49:27 PM

Tuan... don't stoop to their level,

And the proc doesn't have a battery life, the battery has a battery life.

And I know I am backing the a**hole here, but no-where in that quote does it say HD.

Not trying to knock your article though, keep up the good work.
Score
3
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
January 27, 2010 9:01:12 PM

"In any case, with Tegra 2 (dual A9's) and Snapdragon 2 (dual 1.5GHz Snapdragon cores) around the corner, the Apple A4 leaves me unimpressed."

As the women say, it is not the size/length of the tool that matters, but how you use it !!!
Score
-3
!