Apple CPUs: Designed differently but here to stay -

Apple CPUs: Designed differently but here to stay


Rumors of an iPhone 5s and iPad 5 are already circulating. Nothing too intense yet but they are there. When these two devices do land they will likely sport an A7 and A7X, respectively.

That is, unless Apple pulls the plug on its custom chip design and opts for an off-the-shelf Intel product. This is not our hypothesis but it is out there, even on Wall Street.

At the end of November Doug Freedman, an RBC Capital Market analyst, floated the hypothesis that Intel would fab Apple processors if Apple moved the iPad to an Intel processor.

It almost suggests the Apple-designed application processors (APs) are somehow a stopgap until something better appears. This seems like the perfect backdrop to look at the “A-series” family, think about the evolution therein, and weigh the evidence for Apple’s semiconductor design intentions.

Paul Boldt is a principal analyst at Ned, Maude, Todd & Rod Inc., an Ottawa-based technology research company. Don Scansen is a partner at IP Research Group, a technology consulting firm delivering service to intellectual property clients.

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