The history of the first four decades of PCs has largely been defined in terms of OS: Apple's early lead with the Mac was taken over by Microsoft's Windows, which then lost ground to Google's Android. But this narrative fails to account for an even more powerful force than the middleware software platform: low-level hardware, and specifically the largest historical driver of technical progress in the industry: the silicon microprocessor.
Over the years, Apple has amassed personnel and materials to become a chip design juggernaut, with a new report claiming that Apple is including the T-series chip in forthcoming Mac models including a laptop refresh and a new desktop model, and has its eyes on replacing Intel as the supplier of the Mac CPU.
AMD announced on Wednesday that it has hired Jim Keller, who was previously a director in Apple's mobile platform architecture group where he worked on Apple's custom chips for devices like the iPhone and iPad.
Apple has recently filed for international trademark protections of "macroscalar," its name for various patented optimizations for efficiently executing code on a processor, suggesting it plans to begin commercially promoting its differentiating technology.
Samsung is in talks with banks to acquire $1 billion to fund an expansion at its facility in Austin, Texas that is said to be the source of A5 processors powering the iPad 2 and iPhone 4S, and could possibly be the factory responsible for Apple's next generation A6 chip bound for the rumored iPad 3.
A pair of reports coming out of the Far East on Tuesday claim that Apple is looking to expand the screen on at least one version of the next-generation iPhone to 4 inches, while also adding an upgraded A5 chip processor to its smartphone offerings and an enhanced version of the A4 to the second-generation iPad.
Sources in South Korea are reporting that electronics giant Samsung will boost its mobile Application Processor fabrication for Apple by a factor of four, producing more chips for the iPhone maker than it uses itself.
Qualcomm shares were up more than 6 percent after it said it would post new revenue and earnings growth as demand for its chips accelerate. Apple's iPhone 4 on Verizon, as well as the next generation of iPhone and iPad, are all expected to use Qualcomm's baseband chips.
Apple is seeking to hire engineers to design a new CPU micro-architecture, expanding upon its acquisitions of two fabless chip design companies and the release of its new A4 application processor used in the iPad and iPhone 4.
Imagination, the maker of the PowerVR SGX graphics processor found in Apple's iOS devices, has acquired the developer of real-time ray tracing graphics technology, which could end up in future Apple hardware.
To obtain one of the first iPhone 4 smartphones for teardown, Kyle of the iFixit team flew to Japan with a tent, planning to camp out in front of the Ginza Apple Store. FedEx ended up delivering early shipments to some users two days in advance, making the trip unnecessary.