Report: Apple adds engineers for new chip design

Apple is reportedly adding engineers from Intrinsity, a company that designed a high-speed ARM processor with Samsung.

Apple is adding engineers from Intrinsity, a small chip company that has been working with Samsung to boost processor performance and may be connected to the iPad's A4 chip design, according to a Macrumors report.

As reported last month , Linley Gwennap, president and principal analyst of The Linley Group, believes the iPad's 1GHz A4 chip uses an ARM CPU designed by Intrinsity and manufactured by Samsung. Apple's iPhone also uses ARM chips supplied by Samsung. Typically, chip companies take the basic ARM blueprint and mix and match features as they see fit.

The iPad's main circuit board with the A4 chip: Intrinsity inside? And notice the preponderance of Samsung-branded silicon
The iPad's main circuit board with the A4 chip: Intrinsity inside? And notice the preponderance of Samsung-branded silicon iFixit

Samsung announced last year that it had collaborated with Intrinsity to design a 1GHz ARM processor--the speed of the iPad's A4 chip.

There has been some speculation over the last few days that Apple had acquired Austin, Texas-based Intrinsity outright. Apple could not be reached for comment.

Intrinsity (whose Web site is down and "undergoing scheduled maintenance"), is a privately held semiconductor company founded in 1997 as EVSX. It has approximately 100 employees.

In 2008, Apple acquired chip firm PA Semi to design iPhone chips , though it has never been clear how PA Semi contributed to Apple chip design.

About the author

Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.

 

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