updated 11:30 am EDT, Wed October 28, 2009
Apple may see future Atom as too hungry
Apple has flatly rejected Intel's Moorestown Atom platform for being too power-hungry, a rumor claims today. Unnamed industry contacts say Intel reportedly approached Apple on its own to suggest the ultra-mobile platform but that the Mac creator rejected it outright due to power concerns. According to the Fudzilla source, Apple needed idle power consumption about ten times lower than what Moorestown can manage.
While the reason for the rejection isn't stated in the apparent leak, Apple's requirements point to a handheld device and supports rumors that have circled around the company's anticipated decision to make an ARM-based tablet. While the tablet would be large enough to accommodate Moorestown's power draw at full speed, the nature of the device may lead to shorter battery life elsewhere, particularly in standby mode. Apple's buyout of PA Semiconductor last year is increasingly believed to have been done with hardware like the tablet in mind but should also lead to faster and more efficient ARM processors in smaller devices like the iPhone and iPod touch.
Moorestown is a major revision of Atom that consolidates the graphics and memory controller into an overall smaller, 45 nanometer processor codenamed Lincroft along with a companion system controller chip known as Langwell. In its initial design, it's not expected to reach any devices smaller than mobile Internet devices (MIDs) with 4-inch or larger screens and to have active battery life closer to a notebook than a smartphone. A shrunken 32nm version will improve energy use but may not be enough by itself.