Global Sources
EE Times-Asia
Stay in touch with EE Times Asia
EE Times-Asia > Processors/DSPs

Apple foundry deal makes Intel the top ARM maker

Posted: 09 May 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Intel-Apple foundry deal? ARM-based processors? Intel-manufactured A5 processors?

The future chip picture seems to have been painted and framed: a foundry partnership with Apple Inc. would make Intel Corp. a leading, or better yet, the No. 1 maker of ARM-based processors.

I don't mean leading in terms of volume, but in terms of manufacturing process geometry at 22nm, and probably in terms of performance and power consumption. Otherwise why else would Apple do a deal? It would be an interesting marriage of an architecture much heralded as power-efficient and a manufacturing machine much vaunted as excellent in execution.

It would also be interesting to know where the volume ARM crown resides, with TSMC and all its fabless customers, or perhaps with Samsung? And TSMC and others are catching up with Intel fast on process technology so by the time Intel starts making chips for Apple, if it does, it could be a co-leader.

Given that Intel and ARM plus its ecosystem are eyeballing each other across the electronics battleground, from servers and notebooks to cellphones and industrial equipment, Intel making ARM architecture chips would be a strange development indeed.

Would Intel be covered by Apple's architecture license, or would it have to renew ARM licenses it has held in the past? How would the likes of Samsung and TSMC feel about Intel joining the ecosystem? And if Intel-manufactured A5 processors are so good for tablet computers, does that put a dent in Intel's claims for some of its processors?

Given that Apple is using Intel Sandy Bridge processors inside MacBooks, it is clear that many types of microprocessor can and should co-exist in the increasingly broad computing field. There's just less architectures than there were and less companies able to manufacture them.

- Peter Clarke
??EE Times

Article Comments - Apple foundry deal makes Intel the t...
*? You can enter [0] more charecters.
*Verify code:


Visit Asia Webinars to learn about the latest in technology and get practical design tips.

Back to Top