updated 07:40 pm EST, Mon December 8, 2008
Apple netbook rumors
Analysts have been actively speculating about the possibility of an Apple netbook or tablet. Trip Chowdhry from Global Equities Research has claimed that the computer-maker will unveil a completely new product category next year. He suggests that the device will feature chips produced by Apple's recent acquisition, P.A. Semi. The semiconductor company is known for producing efficient components that are able to push performance capabilities while extending battery life.
Bob Morris, director of platform enablement for ARM's mobile processor group, shed light on other processor possibilities if Apple was working on a tablet or netbook. In an interview with Computerworld he suggested that several upcoming devices from other manufacturers will use the ARM Cortex architecture, although he wasn't able to talk specifically about involvement with Apple.
Intel has been wildly successful with sales of its Atom processor in the netbook and mini-notebook markets. The ARM chips are claimed to be catching up in terms of processing power, while consuming a fraction of the power of Intel's chips and fitting onto a much smaller chipset. ARM tests indicate that an 800MHz Atom chip consumes an average of 18-times more energy than the 800MHz Cortex-A8 during operation, and over 100-times the power drain while inactive.
ARM also licenses its technology, including the ARM architecture, which is being used by PA Semi for the next iPhone and iPod touch processors. The licensing also allows Apple to retain more control over the specifications and production of chips.
The talk of future Apple product categories still remains purely speculative, although future patent applications may reinforce any suggestions. Interestingly enough, internal ARM presentations of its mobile device segmentation showed an Apple notebook at the very top of the progression.