Apple Developing ARM Processors for iPhone

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Sep 15, 2008.

  1. macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    A NY Times blog entry reports that Apple is indeed working on its own variant of the ARM processor for the iPhone. The information verifies what has long been speculated based on Apple's acquisition of P.A. Semi earlier this year and announcements by both ARM and Steve Jobs.

    Former P.A. Semi engineer Wei-han Lien lists his current position as "Senior Manager Chip CPU Architect at Apple" in his Linkedin profile. His specialties include high performance microprocessor architecture/micro-architecture and verification. According to his published profile, his present job is managing the "ARM CPU architecture team for iPhone".

    Apple presently uses several ARM processors for the existing iPhones but after the company's acquisition of P.A. Semi, Steve Jobs revealed that P.A. Semi would be working on custom chips for iPhones and iPods. Additional speculation pointed to the possibility that Apple had become a major architectural licensee of ARM which would allow them to have more control over the design of the handsets. By developing their own versions of the chips found in the iPhone, Apple could benefit from cost savings and competitive advantages:

    Article Link
  2. macrumors 65816

    May 20, 2004
    Cool. This should decrease cost and increase power across the entire handheld product line.
  3. macrumors regular

    Nov 27, 2007
    Lansing, MI
    With the ability to custom make a processor that would be great for Apple. As the article says they can build it to exactly the specs that they want...great acquisition apple!!
  4. macrumors 68000

    Sep 27, 2004
    Knoxville, TN (USA)
    Wirelessly posted (iPhone: Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 2_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/525.18.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/3.1.1 Mobile/5F136 Safari/525.20)

    I really hope this means cost savings transferred to the consumer. It would be nice to see the next iPhone with twice the power for half the price with no contract.
  5. macrumors G3


    Mar 20, 2007
    Ah, the joy of a contract phone. I'm still waiting another month or two before diving in for an iPhone because of my current mobile contract, but seeing that a new iPhone could be released come May/June next year, I'd hope it would be a free upgrade (like the iPhone to iPhone 3G was a free upgrade).
  6. macrumors Penryn


    Jul 11, 2003
    I fail to see what Apple working on their own version of an ARM processor has to do with a contract.

    And good luck waiting for half the price. Apple is a for profit company. They didn't buy PA Semi to lower prices.
  7. macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2004
    I'm pretty sure we already knew this, right?

    SJ said they'd be working on custom iPhone/iPod chips.
    What would be surprising is if Apple wasn't working on ARM processors.
  8. macrumors 68030

    Full of Win

    Nov 22, 2007
    Ask Apple
    So... the only new info is this Wei-han Lien fellow, indicating he is working on a project/effort that Steve Jobs has already admitted to.
  9. macrumors P6


    Feb 3, 2005
    Right side of wrong
    wow, i think this is great. i can only see good things for Apple from this
  10. macrumors 68000

    Apple Ink

    Mar 7, 2008
    Hmm.... seems like we're going to have more trouble speculating whats new as much can be bundled in one chip! Whats more exciting is the fact that there we're probably heading for a more powerful iPhone with the capability for better graphics and processing so cooler apps!
  11. macrumors 6502a


    Jul 23, 2007
    control! Best way to go and as much power as possible please, otherwise playing icopter will suck.
  12. macrumors 68000


    Jan 12, 2006
    Can you say anti-aliasing in cover flow and games?
    Seriously, I can't imagine anythingmore than that without Apple discriminating against early iPhone and iPod users. New games wouldn't run on old phones. Or maybe the new one would only have better textures, nicer effects etc. but there would be a version for both the old and new hardware.

    Battery life on Apple's pocket devices is pretty good as it is and I don't think the CPU uses a significant amount of power compared to the display, headphones amp and wireless interfaces. So future battery life will depend more on better batteries I guess.
  13. macrumors 68000


    Jan 12, 2006
    That means more traffic to macrumors and more joy and wonder on the keynotes. Everyone wins! :)
  14. macrumors regular

    Oct 18, 2005
    Lincoln, Nebraska
    If the chip count in the phone is reduced, it is very likely that power consumption would be, too.
  15. macrumors 6502a

    Apr 22, 2005
  16. macrumors 68000


    Jan 12, 2006
    True, I overlooked that. And things will probably get even smaller. But I think the new nanos are about as small as you want a device with a display to be.
    I don't mind having a rather large iPhone in my pocket. Since it replaced two devices (phone and iPod) in a way those walkman phones can't (Sony Ericsson's implementation of a music player is just wrong...), it's all good. I like how thing the new Touch is though...
  17. macrumors 65816

    Jan 9, 2008
  18. macrumors regular

    Jan 31, 2008
    What does this mean for people who are going to buy an iPhone 3G?
    I'm from Portugal and here we have Vodafone and Optimus that sell the iPhone without a fixed plan (no monthly charges) for 510€ ($725) and I'm seriously thinking about buying one!
    I was already worried about the whole battery replacement issue but now that we have Apple developing chips in-house (and probably releasing them on the new and more powerful iPhone and that will most definitely see the light of day a year from now), I'm starting to think that waiting is the best option...
    I will use my iPhone mainly for its phone and iPod capabilities as well as a mobile gaming device, so buying a $725 phone that will be obsolete in one of those functions (referring specifically to gaming, as better hardware will probably mean better games that aren't compatible with today's iPhones) within a year is not something I'm looking forward to...
  19. macrumors G4


    Mar 24, 2006
    Do people really think Apple/Carrier will let you upgrade for free do realize the original phone wasn't subsidized?. Then again it may be possible although i doubt it. The iPhone is gonna be like the iPod you buy a new one every year
  20. macrumors regular

    Aug 1, 2008

    Great. Cheaper iPhones, by January you think? Me want.
  21. macrumors member

    Apr 17, 2007
    Is it possible that Apple is wandering toward a G6 processor of their own devise? It seems there would be advantages using all three types of chipsets, ARM, Intel and PowerPC; not to mention the potential that miniaturization will have on homogenizing their product line—as in a universally networked AirBook. That would be sooo cool.
  22. macrumors member


    Aug 22, 2008
    Hope it decreases application crashes and maybe they'll add more memory. Like they did with the Intel Macs. I'd fork over a couple to get that upgrade. ;)
  23. macrumors 65816

    Mar 20, 2008
    WiFi Everywhere

    I think Apple is wasting money on this. They should be working on building a network so that iPod Touch users can have WiFi everywhere. Watch it really take off if you can buy an iPod Touch and have WiFi available everywhere. Like Satellite WiFi if there is such a thing. You just pay a monthly fee like 10 or 20 bucks a month.
  24. macrumors member

    Nov 30, 2006
    No outside sources

    Just connecting the dots on previous info, I have no independent knowledge but the outfit they acquired doesn't have its own fab plant right? They've always designed and then moved their production to whomever has the right production facility. I like the agility, but outsourcing is still good for rumor mongers.
  25. macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    If the above is true today, then it will be true in five years. No matter when you buy there will always be a better one avail later. You will have to wait forever.

    The good thing about waiting forever is that you save a lot of money but then you have no phone, no computer, no camera and no car. But lots of cash.

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