There’s been a lot of talk about Project Azalea, Apple’s rumored $10 billion project with TSMC to build a top-secret chip plant on domestic shores. We’ve heard it might be built in New York. We’ve heard it might be built in Portland. Wherever it’s built, though, it’s believed to be a major blow against Apple’s frenemy Samsung, who currently builds the majority of Apple’s custom ARM chips.
Unfortunately, it turns out that Project Azalea might not have anything to do with Apple after all, with TSMC’s CEO himself now denying it.
Just a week ago, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo began slyly hinting that Apple would be building a 3.2 million square foot computer chip factory somewhere in his state. This project is known as Project Azalea.
But not so fast. Now a new report has popped up saying that New York isn’t the destination of Apple’s massive new fab plant, but Oregon is instead.
New York has reportedly been pitched a proposal that would see a 3.2 million square foot computer chip factory built in the state… and Government Andrew Cuomo is slyly hinting that the proposal might come from Apple as part of a big to start building their A-Series iPhone and iPad CPUs domestically.
Ever since Apple first introduced the Lightning adapter, much attention has been given to the mysterious chip used inside every Lightning Cable. Some speculated that the chip’s purpose was to merely “flip” the path the digital signals take from pin topin depending upon which orientation he cable was plugged into a device, while others have insisted that it is, in fact, a security chip meant to thwart counterfeit Lightning accessory makers.
What’s the truth? It looks like the chip inside every Lightning cable is a security chip, but it’s a simple one, less advanced even than the security chips you would find in today’s printer cartridges! And since those can be faked, so can Lightning.
When the new iPhone 5 is officially released on Friday, it will be powered by Apple’s custom-designed A6 chip, a 1.2GHz, dual-core chip that is the first Cortex-A15 class CPU to market.
How did Apple get to this point? Just four years ago, they made their first step into custom chip design: now they are releasing cutting edge chips that are months ahead of the competition.
Over the weekend, Linley Gwennap, who heads the Linley Group chip consultacy, posted up a brief history of Apple’s chip development. It’s not just illuminating because of how we got here — from Apple buying up P.A. Semi in 2008 to signing secret deals with ARM — but in that it predicts when and what the next-gen A7 chip will look like.
Exclusivity to TSMC’s production would make things very difficult for Apple’s competitors.
In an effort to better meet the demand of its mobile devices — and make things very difficult for its competitors — Apple has reportedly been bidding to secure exclusive access to TSMC’s (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.) custom smartphone chips. Qualcomm has also been bidding up against the Cupertino company, and both parties are believed to have submitted bids in excess of $1 billion.
These chips will end up in Apple devices, despite what DigiTimes reports.
Samsung has reportedly launched its next generation of 20-nanometer mobile memory chips early in a bid to repair the damage caused by a throwaway rumor from DigiTimes that claimed Apple was gearing up to shun Samsung’s DRAM chips in favor of those from Elpida Memory.
Samsung’s share price plummeted by 6% shortly after the rumor began to circulate, costing the Korean company around $10 billion in market value.
Tim Cook kind of rushed past the Apple TV update yesterday. On the surface of things, not much changed: 1080p was the only real new feature, as the new iOS-like interface and Netflix sign-up are also available on older Apple TVs via update. But under the hood, the little black box is powered by a custom single-core A5 chip.
With the announcement of the iPad 3 lurking in the shadows, the web has been buzzing with rumors and leaked parts as everyone tries to solve the puzzle of what the next iPad 3 will look like, and what new hardware it might have. Some have claimed the iPad 3 will sport a new quad-core A6 processor, while others claim it will merely get an improved A5 dual-core chip. It appears the confusion over which processor will actually be included in the iPad 3 stems from the fact that Apple is working on BOTH processors at the same time.
Apple is working fervently on its own chip technology for the post-PC era, according to TechCrunch. Specifically, Apple has 1,000 engineers (or about 5% of its Cupertino workforce) working on its series of processors for upcoming products.
Steve Jobs himself said that “getting low power and smaller is the key to everything” when it comes to chip design. Apple is thinking ahead to the future of the revolution it started with products like the iPhone and iPad.