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Apple Launches Its Own CPU, the 1GHz A4

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 76 comments
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More than meets the eye.

Today's unveiling of what seemed to be a dull product, also introduced something else even more significant from Apple--its first real CPU, the 1GHz Apple A4 processor.

Apple's purchase of PA Semiconductor not too long ago, yielded its first product today, but it's not the fact that it was used in the iPad that makes it special. What's special is that Apple now has a real processor on its hands. And in case you're wondering whether or not Apple's own CPU can compete with the likes of ARM's Cortex or Qualcomm's Snapdragon CPUs, the A4 has potential to kick the living shnizzles out of those CPUs.

First, the A4 runs at a 1GHz frequency, which by mobile CPU standards, is quite high. Considering that Qualcomm's 1GHz Snapdragon powers Google's Nexus One, the Apple A4 could power the next wave of super-smartphones. 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.

As of currently, other specs about Apple's A4 CPU are scant, but we're sure things will be more clear in the next coming weeks. We can see from the iPad's capabilities that the A4 is potent, but things are still fresh and we'll have to wait and see what software developers can come up with.

What the iPad showcases today and what it's an indication of, is a lot more interesting than the iPad itself.

More on the Apple iPad here.

Discuss
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Top Comments
  • 21 Hide
    gayan , January 27, 2010 5:49 PM
    YEY...more competition = better products+ lower prices for us the consumer....
  • 20 Hide
    mavroxur , January 27, 2010 5:54 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.
  • 18 Hide
    snurp85 , January 27, 2010 5:55 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.
Other Comments
  • 21 Hide
    gayan , January 27, 2010 5:49 PM
    YEY...more competition = better products+ lower prices for us the consumer....
  • 3 Hide
    eddieroolz , January 27, 2010 5:49 PM
    Will Apple become a semiconductor manufacturer? Only time will tell.
  • 15 Hide
    yang , January 27, 2010 5:50 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
  • 1 Hide
    ta152h , January 27, 2010 5:52 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.
  • 1 Hide
    AMDnoob , January 27, 2010 5:53 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 ;) 
  • 20 Hide
    mavroxur , January 27, 2010 5:54 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.
  • 6 Hide
    mactruck , January 27, 2010 5:54 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.
  • 18 Hide
    snurp85 , January 27, 2010 5:55 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.
  • 2 Hide
    starryman , January 27, 2010 5:57 PM
    Sweeeeet... I was tired of the lack of competition in the cpu business. Apple should go into the business of RISC based processors.
  • 1 Hide
    daship , January 27, 2010 5:58 PM
    Now they need to force them to use them in a mac since osx requires apple hardware to be installed.
  • -2 Hide
    deadlockedworld , January 27, 2010 5:58 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.
  • 3 Hide
    brett1042002 , January 27, 2010 6:06 PM
    deadlockedworld$499 is pretty good for something with as much capability as a netbook.


    ^ This.
  • -7 Hide
    meat81 , January 27, 2010 6:16 PM
    But.......Will it run......Crysis?
  • 10 Hide
    vant , January 27, 2010 6:21 PM
    You can't really compare this to a netbook. Last time I checked a netbook has a keyboard.
  • -4 Hide
    rhino13 , January 27, 2010 6:21 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
  • 7 Hide
    Anonymous , January 27, 2010 6:22 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.
  • 4 Hide
    hellwig , January 27, 2010 6:22 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.
  • 0 Hide
    tenor77 , January 27, 2010 6:24 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!"
  • 14 Hide
    mav1014 , January 27, 2010 6:26 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.
  • 7 Hide
    mactruck , January 27, 2010 6:27 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=N82E16834220693

    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.
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