Apple buys chip company to maintain mobile edge

  • Apple has taken another importantl step to maintain its mobile edge by acquiring an advanced chip manufacturer known as Intrinsity.

    "This adds another arrow to their quiver," Tom R. Halfhill, a chip analyst for Microprocessor Report, told the New York Times. "The purchase price is like pocket change to Apple ($121 million) and they get a lot of benefit."

    Indeed, the Austin-based start-up specializes in licensing technology that significantly optimizes the performance of ARM microprocessor designs.

    "Last July, Samsung Electronics Co.—which manufactured the A4 and prior ARM-based chips for Apple—announced a deal to offer Intrinsity technology called Hummingbird," explained Don Clark of the Wall Street Journal.

    "That technology allows a popular ARM microprocessor design to operate at 1 gigahertz [instead of the typical 650], the same speed as the [iPad's] A4."

    Clark - who quoted Jim Morrison of Chipworks - added that "the guts" of the iPad's 1 gigahertz A4 processor appear to have been jointly developed by engineers at Intrinsity and Samsung in 2009.