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Apple Employee Accidentally Reveals Next-gen iPhone Details

By - Source: Tom's Hardware | B 8 comments

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.

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  • 0 Hide
    Shadow703793 , September 16, 2008 10:09 PM
    Any one thought about the fact that Apple could be experimenting between ARM and x86? Imo, it kind of dosen't make Apple to maintain a2 distros, one distro for the Iphone (ARM) and the other for Macs (x86).
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , September 16, 2008 11:51 PM
    This isn't really news to anyone who pays attention to anything apple-related. every apple rumor site on the web had the news that apple was working on an in-house ARM processor design for the next iPhone- so saying "Next-gen iPhone details" isn't really true- anyone who cared about that already knows- and there are no details besides that they're using an ARM chip inside sometime in the future
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , September 17, 2008 12:56 AM
    I thought the existing iPhone and iPod touch were ARM based so why is the word ARM so shocking?
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , September 17, 2008 6:04 AM
    Accidentally? Do you guys really believe this marketing-gag?
  • 0 Hide
    lamorpa , September 17, 2008 1:29 PM
    One of the better ways to write an article is to make it contain information that is implied by the headline (hence the term 'headline'). Try it some time. It is a common format, as opposed to putting in an interesting, but completely misleading headline. Try taking some courses in journalism. Even high schools offer them. Good luck.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , September 18, 2008 1:48 AM
    Also the text makes it sound like Marvell owns ARM. Actually I believe the path was that Dec licensed the IP from ARM, then produced the StrongARM, from there after settling a lawsuit with Intel, Intel got that work. They further extended it and called it XScale, that was sold to Marvell. Last time I looked, ARM, ltd was still in business.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , September 18, 2008 2:52 AM
    iPhone uses an underclocked 620 MHz ARM 1176 processor, what is so revealing here???
  • 0 Hide
    jimmysmitty , September 18, 2008 6:23 AM
    ^That its going to be 3x faster and 3x as cheap.