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View Full Version : PortalPlayer Losing Apple's iPod Business?


MacRumors
Apr 20, 2006, 03:01 AM
http://www.macrumors.com/images/macrumorsthreadlogo.gif (http://www.macrumors.com)

PortalPlayer (http://www.portalplayer.com) chips has been at the heart of the iPod since the very beginning (http://www.macrumors.com/pages/2001/11/20011101101729.shtml) and the company has grown substantially because of it. 90% of PortalPlayer's sales are said to be directly due to iPod sales.

According to an announcement today (http://www.eetimes.com/news/semi/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=186100394), PortalPlayer revealed that their successor to their current PP5021 media processor chip will not be used by Apple in "its new mid-range and high-end flash-based iPods."

Meanwhile, PortalPlayer believes the current chip "will continue to be used in other members of the iPod family."

Apple's current Flash-based iPods include the iPod shuffle (http://guides.macrumors.com/iPod_shuffle) and iPod nano (http://guides.macrumors.com/iPod_nano).

the.snitch
Apr 20, 2006, 03:03 AM
intel chips perhaps in the next ipod?

ATG
Apr 20, 2006, 03:10 AM
intel chips perhaps in the next ipod?
LOL.

Does the new high end flash iPod refer to the nano or something else? I never really thought of the nano as high end.

bigandy
Apr 20, 2006, 03:16 AM
maybe apple are leaning toward creating their own controller, and saving money..

kntgsp
Apr 20, 2006, 03:26 AM
maybe apple are leaning toward creating their own controller, and saving money..

Seems like the most believable solution I can think of.

DeadEye686
Apr 20, 2006, 03:27 AM
maybe apple are leaning toward creating their own controller, and saving money..

And being able to design and possibly patent new features without other companies being able to purchase the controllers for their own mobile devices.

monkeyandy
Apr 20, 2006, 03:28 AM
either they might use intel chips for the future or don't expect any wi-fi/bt enabled ipods for a while!

the.snitch
Apr 20, 2006, 03:28 AM
http://www.macrumors.com/images/macrumorsthreadlogo.gif (http://www.macrumors.com)

According to an announcement today (http://www.eetimes.com/news/semi/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=186100394), PortalPlayer revealed that their successor to their current PP5021 media processor chip will not be used by Apple in "its new mid-range and high-end flash-based iPods."


Come to think of it, just because the successor of the current chip wont be used in the next ipod, doesn't mean that PortalPlayer is losing Apple's Business.
Perhaps a higher end chip from PortalPlayer will be in the next ipod?
It would make sense if Apple continues to add features. The current interface is too laggy for my liking anyway. Not Snappy enough.

the.snitch
Apr 20, 2006, 03:34 AM
How about these chips in the next ipod?

"Intel finally unveils low-voltage chips - April 19, 2006"

http://news.com.com/2061-10791_3-6062775.html

"The Ultra Low Voltage Core Solo chips consume only 5.5 watts of power when running at their maximum"

The specs seem too high for just an ipod though...maybe a true 720p HD video ipod..

MrCrowbar
Apr 20, 2006, 03:45 AM
The specs seem too high for just an ipod though...maybe a true 720p HD video ipod..

Hmmm 720p works for me :D .
I tell you, we will get that 8 pounder Steve told us in "Super Secret Apple Rumors" :eek:

darwen
Apr 20, 2006, 03:48 AM
PortalPlayer revealed that their successor to their current PP5021 media processor chip will not be used by Apple in "its new mid-range and high-end flash-based iPods."

I wasnt aware that apple had a high end flash player. The Nano is mid and the shuffle is low. There is no high end flash player. Then again, this does say "future products"! Possible leak :confused: Does not add up though.

Dr.Gargoyle
Apr 20, 2006, 04:38 AM
http://www.macrumors.com/images/macrumorsthreadlogo.gif (http://www.macrumors.com)
According to an announcement today (http://www.eetimes.com/news/semi/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=186100394), PortalPlayer revealed that their successor to their current PP5021 media processor chip will not be used by Apple in "its new mid-range and high-end flash-based iPods."
This could indicate that the new high-end iPods will have additional features. I wonder what that would be...hmmm... cellphone? :)

monkeyandy
Apr 20, 2006, 04:48 AM
I wasnt aware that apple had a high end flash player. The Nano is mid and the shuffle is low. There is no high end flash player. Then again, this does say "future products"! Possible leak :confused: Does not add up though.

I agree, but this is a rather interesting article on The Register. Have a read:

http://www.reghardware.co.uk/2006/04/20/portalplayer_loses_flash_ipod_deal/

:eek:

eXan
Apr 20, 2006, 05:29 AM
I tell you, we will get that 8 pounder Steve told us in "Super Secret Apple Rumors" :eek:

lol I like that thing. Do you mean the iPod with 7 inch screen SJ talked about at his demo of podacsting in Garage Band?

Analog Kid
Apr 20, 2006, 06:20 AM
According to an announcement today (http://www.eetimes.com/news/semi/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=186100394), PortalPlayer revealed that their successor to their current PP5021 media processor chip will not be used by Apple in "its new mid-range and high-end flash-based iPods."

Meanwhile, PortalPlayer believes the current chip "will continue to be used in other members of the iPod family."
It's referring to Apple's mid and high end flash players, not how they compare with the market in general. My guess is that this means Nano and Apple is cost reducing the unit by going with another source.

I really doubt Apple will go with a self made processor. Doesn't make sense... They can easily get a third party to build whatever Apple would want for this trophy product and not have to assume the risk.

I'm sure that's why Apple never just bought PortalPlayer-- they wanted this kind of flexibility. They've never seen the processor as a differentiator.

Still waiting to see Xscale in the iPod. Probably not in the Nanos, but in the HDD based units.

mrgreen4242
Apr 20, 2006, 07:40 AM
LOL.

Does the new high end flash iPod refer to the nano or something else? I never really thought of the nano as high end.

Why the laugh? The XScale is an Intel chip that could be adapted for use in an iPod, especially if they wanted better video playback, or some PDA like features. I think it is certainly plausible, if not likely.

I'd say that while the nano is currently Apple high end flash player, since it uses PortalPlayer chips and being so tightly designed it would be a PITA to redesign for a whole new CPU architecture, that something else could be in the works. Perhaps a "full sized" flash based player with video playback? There are some new flash thumbdrives out there pushing the 30gb point, if I remember the slashdot article correctly.

EDIT: Just a thought, but it would actually be kinda cool to have a device that is roughly nano sized/shaped but ~2x as thick... with a [GOOD - non cell phone type] camera and wireless connectivity built in. Have 4-6gb of internal media and an SD card slot for expansion... I'd assume the'd have to use another chip that supported camera functions fot such a device.

Same thing goes for an iPhone, which presumably would be the high end flash player.

Evangelion
Apr 20, 2006, 09:05 AM
How about these chips in the next ipod?

"Intel finally unveils low-voltage chips - April 19, 2006"

http://news.com.com/2061-10791_3-6062775.html

"The Ultra Low Voltage Core Solo chips consume only 5.5 watts of power when running at their maximum"

The specs seem too high for just an ipod though...maybe a true 720p HD video ipod..

Uh, that's pretty dumb idea IMO. A full-blown CPU in the iPod?? If there will be something from the Intel-camp in the iPod, I would look out for Xscale.

jrv3034
Apr 20, 2006, 09:20 AM
I have a feeling that Apple wants to move into Flash-based players for their entire lineup ASAP. No more dead HDDs to deal with. Flash is the future, and I agree with the Register article linked above that they'll intro a high-end flash iPod, maybe 10GB, and save the HDD for the touch-screen Video iPod.

JDOG_
Apr 20, 2006, 10:10 AM
...maybe a true 720p HD video ipod..

I would love to see something with a 1280720 display that can fit in your pocket :D

I am sad to see them dumping portalplayer, but it makes sense from a business perspective, as having control of all the components is important for maximizing future revenue. I'd be a bit bummed if I were portalplayer, but I'm sure they'll innovate some new tech for other devices.

blueimac'00
Apr 20, 2006, 10:25 AM
If apple used more highend chips in there ipods, and added wireless capabilities or something, then the ipod would be almost like a psp.

killmoms
Apr 20, 2006, 11:11 AM
Wasn't there some new ultra-low-voltage chip capable of decoding at least 640 x 480 H.264 released recently? I seem to recall reading that somewhere... Maybe Apple's trying to find a more powerful video-decoding processor so they can stop selling 320 x 240 crap on the iTMS and at LEAST move up to SD.

mmmcheese
Apr 20, 2006, 11:34 AM
Is it maybe a possibility that the new chipset has all sorts of features they have no interest in using, and the current chipset does everything they want? What would be the point of buying more expensive chipsets if the current one does everything you want? This doesn't mean Apple wouldn't add features, just not the ones that PortalPlayer has added.

Something to think about anyway.

boncellis
Apr 20, 2006, 12:26 PM
I wasnt aware that apple had a high end flash player. The Nano is mid and the shuffle is low. There is no high end flash player. Then again, this does say "future products"! Possible leak :confused: Does not add up though.

That one troubled me as well. Does "high end" refer to the capacity? If so, the 4 GB Nano is the high end flash player--doesn't really make sense. Maybe this is a hint of things to come, though I think most people already expect a 8 GB Nano to be somewhere in the pipeline. Maybe it will have new features that distinguish it somehow.

Oats
Apr 20, 2006, 12:42 PM
My guess is that this means Nano and Apple is cost reducing the unit by going with another source.

I think many of you are missing the main point....

With PortalPlayer's announcement, it is very likely they are losing 0% of Apple's business.

PortalPlayer is coming out with a SUCCESSOR to their existing media chip... this successor probably has additional features, tailored for additional media capabilities. It is VERY possible that this chip was specifically developed for APPLE for use in its high-end ipod line (read: iPod video). The high-end FLASH ipods, such as the nano, won't use this SUCCESSOR because they don't need the new features from the new chip.... so the FLASH ipods could continue using PortalPlayers current chips.

Larshart
Apr 20, 2006, 12:54 PM
I'm sure in the not to distant future, Apple's deal with Samsung for Flash Memory will come into play with probably a 32GB and a 64GB(2 chips) iPod. As will the use of Leopard's proposed ability to scale down for use on embedded applications, such as Intel's XScale chips (or the new Ultra Low Voltage Core Single Chip). To create an iPod that runs a version of Leopard, plays all your movies and music, and could possibly have VoIP and Cellular phone features.:cool:

:eek:

Analog Kid
Apr 20, 2006, 01:29 PM
I think many of you are missing the main point....

With PortalPlayer's announcement, it is very likely they are losing 0% of Apple's business.

PortalPlayer is coming out with a SUCCESSOR to their existing media chip... this successor probably has additional features, tailored for additional media capabilities. It is VERY possible that this chip was specifically developed for APPLE for use in its high-end ipod line (read: iPod video). The high-end FLASH ipods, such as the nano, won't use this SUCCESSOR because they don't need the new features from the new chip.... so the FLASH ipods could continue using PortalPlayers current chips.
Did you read the article? Look at the stock? I don't think PortalPlayer (PLAY) voluntarily took a more than 40% hit to their stock price as part of an elaborate ruse...

Chris Bangle
Apr 20, 2006, 01:52 PM
Hmmm 720p works for me :D .
I tell you, we will get that 8 pounder Steve told us in "Super Secret Apple Rumors" :eek:


we already got the 8 pounder.... ipod hi-fi



We need to remeber that apple droppend symantics or whatever they were called and started making there own click wheels

bretm
Apr 20, 2006, 02:21 PM
Did you read the article? Look at the stock? I don't think PortalPlayer (PLAY) voluntarily took a more than 40% hit to their stock price as part of an elaborate ruse...

Errr... sounds to me like the scenario he played out would definitely warrant a 40% hit in stock. ESPECIALLY if they R&D'd a chip that won't be used. And any move by Apple to go somewhere else for chips means they'll most likely be tapering off their use of PP chips. At least at the end of product cycle.

PP's sugar daddy is going away, and they just announced it. One way or the other.

iMeowbot
Apr 20, 2006, 04:42 PM
PP's sugar daddy is going away, and they just announced it. One way or the other.
It's not the end of the world for them, they have a replacement kicking in a couple quarters from now. High end Windows notebooks will be using PortalPlayer hardware to implement the Vista SideShow functionality.

ChrisA
Apr 20, 2006, 05:33 PM
Uh, that's pretty dumb idea IMO. A full-blown CPU in the iPod?? If there will be something from the Intel-camp in the iPod, I would look out for Xscale.

The iPod already contains not one but two "full blown CPUs" the ere are two ARM cores in that little gadget. It's the Same CPU that is used in some routers. People have ported Linux to the iPod as there is am Arm/Lnux port.

MarkCollette
Apr 20, 2006, 05:52 PM
Because of the small size of iPods, they have to use a SoC (System on Chip) solution, and not a general purpose CPU + Northbridge + Southbridge chipset like a regular computer.

From the PortalPlayer website, they say their products use 32 bit ARM 7 cores, which might lead to Apple using an Intel XScale (previously called StrongArm). But who knows? Maybe Samsung, etc...

So we might as well conjecture MacRumors style :) I say these are possible scenarios:

- A new asynchronous logic CPU that uses even less power
- Some new chip with hardware H.264 or whatever video decoding
- Some other boringly similar chip that's $1 less
- A GPU baby, and everything's coded in pixel shader language! ;)
- What, no one's mentionned Cell yet?! Finally, OS X ported to Cell, running on an iPod
- From the dungeons of Transmeta... Are they still in business?

Ghost2
Apr 20, 2006, 06:33 PM
Wasn't there some new ultra-low-voltage chip capable of decoding at least 640 x 480 H.264 released recently? I seem to recall reading that somewhere... Maybe Apple's trying to find a more powerful video-decoding processor so they can stop selling 320 x 240 crap on the iTMS and at LEAST move up to SD.

I think you are referring to the nvidia goforce 5500. I would really like to see that chip in an iPod paired with an intel Monahans cpu. This could enable high definition playback on the iPod, it could also enable higher quality audio.
http://www.nvidia.com/page/goforce_5500.html
http://www.palminfocenter.com/news/8044/intel-announces-next-generation-xscale-processors/
http://www.digitimes.com/mobos/a20060308PR200.html

brayden2544
Apr 20, 2006, 07:17 PM
There is a Micron plant near Lehi, Utah that has been there for around 10 years, it is just barely being reopened and a friend of mine who will be working there has told me they are producing things for ipods could this be who apple switched to?

Analog Kid
Apr 20, 2006, 07:55 PM
Errr... sounds to me like the scenario he played out would definitely warrant a 40% hit in stock. ESPECIALLY if they R&D'd a chip that won't be used. And any move by Apple to go somewhere else for chips means they'll most likely be tapering off their use of PP chips. At least at the end of product cycle.

PP's sugar daddy is going away, and they just announced it. One way or the other.
Hm. Maybe I misread the ALL CAPS emphasis, but I thought his implication was that PortalPlayer wasn't losing any business from Apple ("losing 0% or Apple's business") and this was all a semantics game causing confusion around the use of the term "Flash based players".

One chip development that didn't go anywhere wouldn't have this kind of impact on the stock. Losing your principle customer would.

neier
Apr 20, 2006, 10:39 PM
There is a Micron plant near Lehi, Utah that has been there for around 10 years, it is just barely being reopened and a friend of mine who will be working there has told me they are producing things for ipods could this be who apple switched to?

That plant is for flash memory; not the controller chips like Portal makes.

http://deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,1249,635163146,00.html

ClimbingTheLog
Apr 21, 2006, 12:35 AM
http://intel.com/design/pca/prodbref/253820pb.pdf

Evangelion
Apr 21, 2006, 02:56 AM
The iPod already contains not one but two "full blown CPUs" the ere are two ARM cores in that little gadget. It's the Same CPU that is used in some routers. People have ported Linux to the iPod as there is am Arm/Lnux port.

By "full-blown CPU" I'm referring to CPU's that people actually use in laptops and desktops. And Core Solo (even at ULV-configurations) is such a chip. No, the iPod will use a proper EMBEDDED CPU, such as Arm or Xscale.

Compare that "full-blown" CPU in iPod (Arm) to Core Solo and see the difference.

jabooth
Apr 22, 2006, 04:17 AM
Maybe Apple's trying to find a more powerful video-decoding processor so they can stop selling 320 x 240 crap on the iTMS and at LEAST move up to SD.

Fair enough - I have a very powerful PDA (Dell Axim x50v) with a VGA screen. When you say move AT LEAST to SD - SD is quite sufficient for such a small screen. I watch XviD shows at 640x480 on their and it looks gorgeous - you don't need any more than 640x480 (Standard Definition) on such a small screen!

On another note, the movie playback on my Axim is amazing, and it has a Intel Xscale (624mhz) inside, coupled with the reasonably new Intel 2700G graphics card. The software I use for playback actually has drivers for the 2700G, and is very comfortable at playing back 350mb XviD shows.

Of course, all of this is all on one chip. I think it could be quite feasible to cram something similar into a new touchscreen iPod - The CPU wouldn't need to be so powerful if backed up by a dedicated card...

See here for 2700g: http://www.intel.com/design/pca/prodbref/300571.htm

And here specific for Axim x50v: http://www.aximsite.com/articles/link.php?id=200

prism_emf
Apr 22, 2006, 04:18 AM
Videos? Mobile phones? BLAH!

Just give me an audio player that *works*. No clicks and pops on Lame-encoded material (like the nano) and, above all, gapless playback. What's the point of tagging on feature after another if the thing doesn't work as it should?