Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Flashback to H. Ross Perot talking about potato chips

The New York Times has an article on the innovative A4 chip (and you thought A4 was just an annoyingly inconvenient paper size) that is going into the iPad and how Apple's decision to design its own chip is giving it the freedom to innovate:
With the A4, Apple has taken another step toward challenging the norms of the mobile device industry. Device makers typically buy their primary chips from specialized microprocessor companies. But for the iPad, Apple chose to design its own — creating unique bonds between the chip and Apple’s software.

The do-it-yourself approach gives Apple the chance to build faster, more battery-friendly products than rivals and helps the company to keep product development secret.
The article also warns of the pitfalls of such a strategy, including ballooning engineering costs, production delays, and a ravenous Al Gore inhaling a handful during a fit of madness. It also mentions that, well, Apple is not going it completely alone in this maverick new approach:
“From what we have seen so far, Apple’s product seems to stack up evenly with the competition,” said Dean McCarron, a chip analyst with Mercury Research. “Clearly, Apple is using their own metric for whatever ‘best’ is.” Apple’s laptops and desktops run on Intel chips, while Samsung has been selling Apple the primary chips for the iPhone. Analysts believe Samsung is actually manufacturing the A4 as well, using a common industry design for the core of the chip, while Apple has tweaked other parts of the processor package to suit its needs.
Now I'm hungry for some apple chips. Off to McD's.

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