Apple eats its own dogfood

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Cupertino (CA) - While rumors fly around the Macosphere over Apple's upcoming $800 tablet PC, it turns out that the chip at the heart of the device has been designed by PA Semi, which Apple snapped up for $278 million in April last year.

While Apple was hardly forthcoming at the time on exactly why it bought the chip company, it now transpires that PA Semi has been split into two divisions - one designing ARM chips for iPhones and iPods and another tasked with designing the processor for the iTablet, or whatever it's called.

PA Semi has an impressive track record, having been behind DEC's rather lovely Alpha and low power StrongArm chips. Apple will debut the $800 tablet in time for the holiday shopping season and three companies - Foxconn, Wintek, and Dynapack - have so far been signed up as component suppliers for the gadget.

Beyond that, there are an awful lot of unknown unknowns about this project. It's supposed to use a touch screen and the $800 price tag puts it at the top end of the market rather than at the cheap and cheerful netbook end, which Apple is on record as saying it's not interested in. And one sure way for Apple to save money on building the thing is to avoid paying Intel to use its designs in the product.

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