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Apple Continues Internal CPU Development Focus With New Acquisition

(Image credit: Henriok/Wikimedia)

Apple will purchase some of the assets and IP of Dialog Semiconductor, a European chip manufacturing company, in a deal worth $600 million in total. Through this deal, Apple hopes to better control the efficiency of its mobile chips, such as the recently announced Bionic A12 CPU.

Dialog announced today that 300 people, or 16 percent of its workforce, will be joining Apple. The new employees will come from Livorno, Italy, Swindon, England and Nabern and Neuaubing, Germany. The Germany locations are near Munich, where Apple already has its own offices. The Dialog employees that Apple is getting will report to Apple’s SVP of hardware technologies, Johny Srouji.

Dialog also noted that the remaining part of its business will focus more on IoT, mobile, automotive, computing and storage markets, as a provider of custom and configurable mixed-signal integrated circuit chips.

Apple’s Increasing Focus on In-House Chip Development

Apple has a reputation for wanting to develop as much of its own hardware as possible. Over the past few years, the company has become increasingly more aggressive with its mobile chips, which have gotten dangerously close in single-thread performance to Intel’s chips. There have also been rumors for several years that Apple would like to use these powerful mobile chips in its laptop line too, but so far that’s still just a rumor.

Last year, Apple also announced plans to build its own GPU technology and no longer purchase it from Imagination Technologies. This was another major step towards Apple controlling the mobile SoC more completely, and, therefore, its performance and energy efficiency. Apple has already shown impressive progress on the performance of its mobile chips over the past few years, and it seems the company would now like to focus more on optimizing the energy efficiency of the chip too. 

Dialog Chief Executive Jalal Bagherli told Reuters that Apple viewed the main power management integrated circuit (PMIC) of its SoC as a strategic component that it wanted to control directly. If Apple was willing to pay a few hundred million dollars for a PMIC business, it's possible it has some big ideas on how to improve the efficiency of its future mobile chips that it didn’t want to share with a third-party supplier.

  • mihen
    O.O wants to make their own GPU. Intel has trouble doing that without licensing patents from either nVidia or AMD. This might not bode well for Apple as they come on the receiving end of patent lawsuits they so love to give out to previous partners.
    Reply
  • sykozis
    Apple is nowhere near the single-thread performance of Intel chips. ARM benchmark results and x86 benchmark results are not directly comparable. It's like comparing Apples to Bananas. Apple's CPUs, running x86 instructions, would be considerably slower in both single-threaded and multi-threaded operations compared to Intel chips.
    Reply
  • Tuishimi
    Running x86 instructions? The idea of RISC is you would not have all the complex instructions. That would require additional instructions to accomplish some of the same things. On the other hand RISC CPUs are designed to handle more instructions more rapidly. The assembly language would have to be different, or run through a conversion of some sort, I should think. But it has been ... I feel old ... 20+ years since I worked in OS development (and on alternative hardware, not Intel-based). So maybe I am completely wrong.
    Reply
  • audiospecaccts
    21399216 said:
    Running x86 instructions? The idea of RISC is you would not have all the complex instructions. That would require additional instructions to accomplish some of the same things. On the other hand RISC CPUs are designed to handle more instructions more rapidly. The assembly language would have to be different, or run through a conversion of some sort, I should think. But it has been ... I feel old ... 20+ years since I worked in OS development (and on alternative hardware, not Intel-based). So maybe I am completely wrong.

    No, not wrong at all.
    Microsoft (in a passive way) killed the RISC pc market because it doesn't work with it. But yes RISC processors are 4-5 times the computing power at the same speed. However, people don't realize the clock speed on a RISC is about 1/3 of a x86 based cpu. So a 800 Mhz RISC cpu = 3 Ghz x86 cpu.
    Reply
  • antilycus
    Apple cares about it's profit margins more than it's product quality. Plus they are also screwing the U.S. over by holding 1 Trillion USD off shores because they don't want to pay U.S. taxes on it. But the sheeple will never disobey their shepherd.
    Reply
  • audiospecaccts
    21403912 said:
    Apple cares about it's profit margins more than it's product quality. But the sheeple will never disobey their shepherd.

    That could be said about most corporations. Like the poor quality mass produced produce and processed foods.


    People went to Apple because its the mainstream that isn't Microsoft. However, there are some consumer software and internet services that still use Microsoft products and Apple made deals for compatibility. Of course, Linux which seems to be efficient at what task its programmed to do does its job efficiently, but most don't know it runs a lot of things in the world, even internet servers. Some of the desktop distributions have evolved to be better than Apple's or Microsoft's desktop. Despite the proprietary software curve balls it gets thrown at.

    Its interesting that most office environments could totally switch to Linux, but don't because the accounting computer's application (SAGE Act) is only available for Apple or Microsoft. This program is actually a simple a Python DB with an internet explorer shell. So anyone could write a php/mysql web application to do the same thing. Interesting enough is the server it connects to for updates on the database is a Linux machine at the software company.
    I like the "operating system not supported" on turbo tax's online web site. But guess what, it still works because its standard code on the web and Microsoft can't make it proprietary.
    Reply