Apple's PA Semi acquisition to result in new iPhone processor after all

Apple's PA Semi acquisition to result in new iPhone processor after all

Ben Wilson
2 min read

In April, Apple agreed to purchase PA Semi, the designer of a 64-bit, power-conservative, dual-core processor, Forbes reports. PA Semi's chip is based not on Intel x86 (like Macs) or ARM (like the iPhone) processor specifications, but rather on the PowerPC platform around which Apple no longer bases new systems but still actively supports with Mac OS X. At the time, we speclated that Apple may have been planning to utilize PA Semi's current processor line, dubbed PWRficient, or a still-in-development chip from the small fabless designer in the iPhone or an unannounced product line.

We also noted that Apple was buying not only the extant PWRficient processor design but also ARM expertise. Dan Dobberpuhl, CEO of P.A. Semi, worked on the original Strong-ARM processor processor ? a successor to which is currently used in the iPhone ? at Digital Equipment Corporation.

Wei-han Lien, the senior manager of Apple's chip team, confirmed our suspicions in a LinkedIn post spotted by The New York Times over the weekend, saying he?s "busy at work crafting an ARM processor for the next-generation iPhone."

The NYT report states:

"By developing its own ARM variant, Apple could create a processor that meets the specific needs of the iPhone and iPod, building support for functions such as the touch screen or scroll wheel into silicon and possibly savings on costs by reducing the number of processors needed in each device. In addition, Apple? will be able to maintain tighter controls on who knows what about its future products by disposing of an outside chip supplier."

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