updated 10:40 am EST, Fri December 21, 2007
Apple and Intel UMPC
Apple will use the chipsets that form the basis of Intel's ultra-mobile PC (UMPC) and mobile Internet device (MID) reference platforms, according to a claim by AppleInsider. Expanding on previous statements from Taiwan suppliers, the rumor site points to Apple using the 45-nanometer Silverthorne mobile chip for "multiple products" during 2008. The small manufacturing process lets it run as quickly as the better Pentium M chips that preceded the Core Duo but consume less than 2 watts of power -- less than a tenth of a typical notebook processor, based on Intel's own figures. Modern Core 2 Duo notebook processors consume an average 25 watts or more at their thermal design limits.
The design also allows for extremely small mainboards based on the accompanying Menlow platform that can fit into complete computer systems, according to the chipmaker: a mobile device can fit in a surface area as little as 2.9 by 5.6 inches. The technology can also be adapted to smaller hardware such as cellphone; with enough space, it can aso add long-range wireless technologies such as WiMAX. This may lead not only to a widely speculated tablet-like device but may also serve as the platform for an iPhone update that would not just add 3G but run faster on its own, according to the claim. Today's iPhone uses a roughly 620MHz ARM processor.
Intel chief Paul Otellini has suggested that a typical device with a Silverthorne CPU would cost $100 versus several hundred or more for UMPCs based on earlier technology such as his firm's own A100 series, according to the report, which also makes the logical assertion that Apple will pick Intel's Moorestown successor to Silverthorne when it debuts in 2009 or 2010. At a recent Intel Developer Forum, the semiconductor firm showcased an extra-wide touchscreen device resembling an iPhone that would use Moorestown, although this is believed to be a concept only and not representative of any future Apple products.
No details have been provided about whether any products will launch at Macworld San Francisco that integrate Silverthorne. However, Intel last week previewed what it says is a record-breaking ultra-small solid-state drive that would integrate 2GB or more of storage and a controller into a chip smaller than a penny, providing a theoretical product with fast storage without requiring the physical space of a hard drive or the cost of quicker flash memory.