At one time or another in our lives we are trusted with secrets. A lot of us may have jobs where we have signed NDA and the likes. Well one poor feller recently posted his Job description over at LinkedIn. Although he may or may not have actually broke any Apple policies, he did provide some insight and follow up as to what might be going on behind closed doors at the iPhone giant.
Earlier on this year in April Apple purchased P.A Semi for $278M in an act that a lot people viewed as very left-field. P.A Semi is a chip designer specializing in super low power consumption PowerPC processors. P.A Semi also has a history of designing ARM chips – the kind currently being used in the iPod Touch and iPhone.
ARM was sold to Intel and thus became the ground work for the popular XScale family. Intel then sold the XScale business to Marvell for $600M in June of 2006. No matter which Apple is currently after, ARM or PowerPC processors – you won’t see these chips in traditional desktop computers. They are more commonly found in high-end iPhones, iPods and tablet devices.
Three years ago P.A. Semi was essentially first in line as Apples choice of processor while trying to make the decision between PowerPCs from P.A. Semi and IBM or Intel x86. Apple ultimately ended up choosing Intel. However P.A Semi did offer compelling choices at the time.
The P.A. Semi Purchase now leaves Intel’s Atom processor out of the loop. Many tech and forum sites predicted that the Intel Atom was going to be the next generation Apple Ultra-Portable solution.
So how does all of this tie into the said job description posted over at LinkedIn that caused such a controversy? Easy, the job description states “ARM”. So could Apple be planning to utilize ARM architecture for upcoming devices? Many think, yes. Quite possibly a customized version of ARM processors tailored to meet the specific wants and needs of Apple based on upcoming and future products. It may also appear that Apple wants to supply their own processors for such devices instead of utilizing their current sources – Samsung.
Historically, P.A. Semi was trying its hardest to be the next chip provider for Macs around the same time Apple chose the Intel platform. P.A. Semi was left in the dust and not very happy about the move. P.A. Semi originally thought the Intel talks were a bargaining move – but that later turned out to be false assumptions.