Apple's A4 Chipset Packs ARM CPU and Graphics

Apple made a huge splash yesterday when it announced the iPad. Even bigger but way less reported news was Steve Jobs' casual mentioning that Apple had used its own processor in the device. The 1GHz Apple A4 represents Apple's first ever processor and is the fruit of a PA Semi purchase in 2008.

However, it seems the A4 has a lot in common with Nvidia's Tegra 2; in fact, the Bright Side of News reports that the SOC is all ARM and lambastes Steve Jobs for implying Apple or even PA Semi had anything to do with the creation of the A4 at all.

Steve Jobs incorrectly addressed Apple A4 as a CPU. We're not sure was this to keep the mainstream press enthused, but A4 is not a CPU. Or we should say, it's not just a CPU. Nor did PA Semi/Apple had anything to do with the creation of the CPU component. A4 is a System-on-a-Chip, or SOC, that integrates the main processor [ARM Cortex-A9 MPCore i.e. Multi-Processing Core, identical to ones used in nVidia Tegra and Qualcomm Snapdragon] with graphics silicon [ARM Mali 50-Series GPU], and other functions like the memory controller on one piece of silicon.

Bright Side explains that last June, during the GlobalFoundries event in Las Vegas, the site sat down with Warren East, CEO of ARM. One of the things they discussed was "a new member of the family," which we now know was Apple.

Read the full story here.

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  • zak_mckraken
    Well, it's gonna shut the folks who were arguing on the A4 vs. Snapdragon!
    18
  • Marcus Yam
    xbeatertoo many news posts on this apple stuff. More than half of the people here dont care much anymore for the iPad.

    Maybe you could try changing your perspective to realize that this is another HUGE step for ARM processor technologies.

    Even if you find Apple-related processor technologies something completely outside the realm of your interests, the advancement and growing utilization of ARM products will affect parts of the tech industry that might interest you.

    For example, the performance jump of the Intel Atom between Diamondville and Pine Trail isn't as big as what we normally expect. Perhaps it's the lack of competition in the mobile and netbook space that's allowing the Atom continue its existence without the type of advancement that we'd like to see.

    With the growing use of ARM-based technologies in things like the iPad and Nvidia Tegra 2 (which will soon be in netbooks), Intel -- and hopefully AMD too -- will have a better reason to step things up in its next generation of chip technologies.

    I bet that more than half of the people here care about that sort of stuff.
    18
  • Other Comments
  • N.Broekhuijsen
    too many news posts on this apple stuff. More than half of the people here dont care much anymore for the iPad.
    -8
  • Hiniberus
    Well someone just shat themselves if this is true.
    -1
  • zak_mckraken
    Well, it's gonna shut the folks who were arguing on the A4 vs. Snapdragon!
    18