Apple to build its own chips?

If it looks like a duck, acts like a duck and quacks like a duck then that must mean that Apple is about to start producing its own chips for its products. Apple is compiling all the personnel and technology needed to fabricate the products and the idea is not so crazy as it first seems.

Last April Apple bought P.A Semi which designs chips which was the first major clue that Apple may go at designing its chips all by itself. Shortly after that Apple hired Bob Drebin who was the engineering director for ATI. Even more recently Apple brought on board Raja Koduri who was a technology officer at AMD. Add on top of that a myriad of job postings for chip designers and engineers and you have the makings for designing your own chips.

Apple has good reasoning to create its own chips too. If Apple uses off the shelf chips then competitors can use the same products too. It's the same reason Microsoft and Sony create their own CPU's and GPU's for their gaming systems. Not to mention when Apple places large orders for chips the leaks always occur letting everyone know of potential new features for products.

It's only a matter of time until we see Apple specific chips in their products. Flush with cash now could be the time to create unique chips to continue producing quality products.

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I can a real downside to this, however: Apple-specific DRM and encryption chips on-board, unhackable. Watch them lock every other software writer and vendor right out of their market... and watch them drop themselves right to the bottom again.

I only hope they are only going to *just* do mobile processors... but for some reason I doubt it.

It looks that everyone forgets that Apple is going to make only mobile CPU. They bought a license only to make ARM type CPUs, they do not have license for x86, x86-64 or PowerPC. They are really getting quality people for this job. Remember that iPhone uses 3 different CPUs, if I remember correctly and from each taking some advantage and they to combine everything into one powerful and less energy requiring CPU. This will give them opportunities to do what they want. With those people Apple ARM CPU might easily beat Atom.

well, didn't Apple leave the G5 because they promised to hit certain spec speeds and couldn't hit it? then they go to the Intel architecture and now go back to their own design? talk about computer terms.

this will keep me in PC systems for sometime. this could open a market share for Linux

Is it me or do people seem to think that the article is referring to PC* chips? For all we know, it could be going into the next generation of iPod, iPhone or something...

* - A Mac is still a personal computer, so calling it a PC is not "wrong". The only difference between a non-Mac box and a Mac is the fact that you can't combine a myriad of parts to create a Mac. The idea behind the avoidance of the phrases "PC" and "personal computer" to describe a Mac is purely a marketing scheme -- Macs are supposed to be so much more than just computers. :p

P.S. Sorry if it seemed like I was bashing Macs there, but I really am not trying to do that. Macs are PCs. I suppose that makes the whole line of "Get A Mac" ads kind of strange when you keep that in mind. They're still funny though. :P

You're right. If I remember correctly from the news, P.A. Semi specialize in ARM chip development. When Apple bought them everyone assumed that they were looking to fabricate their own processors for the iPhone/iPod. Also, if the latest rumors are true and Apple puts out a netbook line of computers then it's possible that the ARM processors could wind up there, as well.

I'm very doubtful that Apple would ditch Intel any time soon (unless it were for AMD, but Intel currently still holds the performance crown for processors).

Didn't Apple switch to Intel because Intel could provide more chips to them at a cheaper cost? The problem they had with IBM was IBM wasn't making enough PowerPC chips for enough computer retailers. Really, just the small market that Apple had.

The switch to Intel was smart, because any R&D investments Intel makes can be spread around due to the extremely large market Intel has. If Apple decided to make their own chips, I would imagine the Apple Tax going up as well. Doesn't seem like a smart move. The only real advantage is safe guarding their operating system from vendors making Apple clones or Hackintoshes. Even then, after a few months the hackers will figure out some work around.

twodise5 said,
Yeah, what if Apple is planning on making a game console?

I was always convinced Apple and Nintendo were in bed with each other. They both basically tell the same story as companies, Oppressedâ„¢ by big bad evil corporation (Sony/Microsoft), determined to make its customer base feel Differentâ„¢ from users of competing products, etc...

Meanwhile, everyone wishes they would just do a Sega, ditch hardware entirely, and make their software for a wider audience.

Apple seem pretty uninterested in supporting gaming on their computer lineup which is one of the bigger things stopping many home users going Mac. If they have no interest in pushing gaming there then I can't see them pushing for a console any time soon.

They seem perfectly happy with how the iPod Touch and iPhone are doing in that department and if they do make a console, I'd imagine it'd be a portable one so they could continue the App stores business model.

Fail??I don't think so.
We might see some quality chips from apple.Could be the revolutionary step towards gaming!! seriously, who knows what will happen in future?

I really doubt they would try and produce their own processors. Most likely they are wanting to produce the other assorted chips that go into the devices.

Ha ha yes, but most of Apple's customers don't have any expectations besides "new" and "shiny". If Apple can continue to meet those standards they can sell their product to their niche market.

But they only moved to Intel x86 2 years ago...

Bit of a risky strategy, but if done right, we could see a fantastic hybrid solution a la Intel's Larrabee.

I would guess they are working on portable stuff, look at all the iphone clones there are, they will have a hard time competing with intel but with ARM they can get a good fight, but rather than a fight, they wanna stay away from easily attainable chips..

Yea I've been watching and seen this in the works for some time. Seems like the logical step for them to cut costs and leaks. Hopefully the money saved will result in cheaper products, but I'm sure it will result in high profit margins at least for the first while. Now while the haters will claim Apple Tax, they need to remember products are charged at higher prices initially to make up for the R&D costs, think tv's.

R&D huh? You mean Intel's R&D, ATi's or Nvidia? You don't need much money into R&D when others build your parts.

There's no mention of what the chips will be doing.

Bingo...EVERY company has R&D costs. That'd hardly be why Apple products across the board are more expensive. If anything it's a marketing guys decision when they worked out they can maximize profits by selling at the price they do because people are happy to pay that premium.

WAR-DOG said,
can it float on water?

Not yet. But I have it uppon good authority that they are capable of brewing a good cup of coffee.

And if anyone thinks for one minute that there will be ANY savings for the end consumer, then I have a bridge to sell you....

This is NOT a positive step forward for the end consumer...