After delivering just its first two generations of its ARM processors, Apple was already recognized as a leading mobile silicon designer. Its next moves surprised the industry and began to reveal a strategy of tight vertical integration from silicon to OS that other device makers couldn't match— and didn't even seem to see as important until it was too late.
Apple's refresh of the 16-gigabyte iPod touch this week brings the newly price $199 media player in line with its larger-capacity brethren, including the same internal design and an identical rear facing iSight camera, a teardown of the device has revealed.
It was confirmed on Thursday that iPad mini is using the same A5 processor found in the fifth-generation iPod touch, meaning the SoC is built on Samsung's 32nm process first introduced in the refreshed iPad 2 and third-generation Apple TV.
Samsung remains a major component supplier to Apple, and the South Korean company hopes to retain that business relationship through a "strict internal firewall" dividing its handset business and components operations.
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.
The 1080p-streaming Apple TV and $399 iPad 2 use a new variant of Apple's A5 processor that may be a testbed for Samsung's 32nm High-K + Metal Gate process, which could find its way into future A-series chips powering devices like a next-generation iPhone.
An investigation into the custom A5 chip used in Apple TV has found that the new Application Processor uses both a smaller, more efficient 32nm die process and actually incorporates two cores, one of which is simply turned off.
As numerous reports claim Apple's new iPad is warmer than the previous generation, a new analysis has found the A5X chip in the new device runs as much as 16 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than the A5 chip in the iPad 2.
An analysis of the internals of Apple's third-generation iPad reveal some small changes to the design of the device, such as a switch to discrete DRAM devices, the addition of a heat spreader on top of the A5X chip and a possible move to a flip-chip solution.
The third generation Apple TV uses a unique single-core A5 chip that has not been in any other production Apple device to date, and is likely a key component in how iPad maker is able to keep costs low and performance high for the 1080p-capable box.
While Apple's much-anticipated foray into the connected television segment is unlikely to materialize until 2013, moves by the company in recent weeks point to an intermediate refresh of the existing Apple TV product to coincide with the release of new iPad models early next month.
A new report offers a picture claimed to be the front glass panel for Apple's next iPad, and also claims the third-generation device will feature Siri voice control, a dual-core "A5X" processor, and a 1080p camera with image stabilization.
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.