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No Intel hardware in Apple tablet, says analyst

updated 05:40 pm EST, Wed January 6, 2010

Device may use PA Semi processor

Apple is not using Intel hardware in its forthcoming tablet, says an analyst with Northeast Securities. Ashok Kumar claims to have learned the information from Apple's design manufacturing partners, who have discounted notions that the tablet might run an Intel Atom processor. Atom chips are frequently used in sub-notebook devices such as netbooks.

Another analyst suggests that Apple has gone with a chipset from PA Semi, a company acquired by Apple two years ago in a bid to develop mobile hardware. The claim backs a September report from Taiwan's Economic News, and may make sense as a means of coping with a tablet's specialized demands. It remains uncertain if the tablet will be limited to iPhone-like apps or will support some degree of Mac software, which would require Intel compatibility.

If true the analyst information could mark a serious blow for Intel. The tablet is widely expected to become a popular product, easily generating millions of dollars per year for firms supplying parts. Softening the blow for Intel may be the popularity of netbooks, and a host of rival tablets such as those based on Microsoft's Courier platform.

by MacNN Staff



  1. iphonerulez

    Joined: Dec 1969


    How is this a blow for Intel... They make process

    for over 94% of the computer industry. The tablet industry will probably account for what, one or two percent, if that tablet is even a success. Gimme a break, it's AMD that hardly has any space to breathe. Heck, it ain't even like Intel is making much money even with all those Atom processors they're selling. Those crappy things are runts of Intel's amazing processor roadmap. I could understand how Intel would be hurt if Apple decided not to use their 6-core Dunnington 7400 series in the Mac Pro line. Intel is getting beat by it's own low-end product line-up (thanks to the Atom), not by ARM processors.

  1. b9robot

    Joined: Dec 1969


    What Tablet? Know one knows that yet.

    What Tablet? Know one knows that yet. First of all know one knows what this announcement is for so how can anyone come to the conclusion about what's inside of it. '
    I think we all better just wait for the 26th and see what it really is before making wild stupid comments about what its made of or made with.

  1. shawnde

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Atom sucks

    ARM based CPU's are much better suited for power-efficient portable computing. Intel doesn't have a chance ... they're just not cut out for that market.

  1. dagamer34

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Duh, Intel Atom isn't low power enough.

  1. lolcat789

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Dunnington is old technology and is not based on the Nehalem architecture. AMD's 6-core platform is preferred because it has much better marks in the performance per watt ratio, so many server farms are choosing the AMD option. Further, if you paid any attention to CES, many makers (such as Lenovo) are now using AMD hardware because Intel has been fined over 3B recently, and their monopoly schemes found out.

    I agree with b9robok, i'm tired of the rumors too.

    shawnde has the idea. The Atom is underpowered and not suited for tablets. This is why Snapdragon is so exicting. It can perform on par with the Atom but use much less power in the process. I wouldn't be at all surprised if a Cortex A8 or Snapdragon is used in this rumored device.

    dagamer34, the Z series atoms are designed for this application.

  1. JulesLt

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Mac compatibility

    I wouldn't imagine any direct software compatibility with Mac apps, largely because most of them are designed around a pointer-based input mechanism, rather than lumpy fingers.

    However, given that OS X easily supports Universal binaries (meaning PPC and Intel at the moment), it would be relatively easy for Apple to support apps that ran on ARM chips as well.

    The issue is more around the API gap between Mac OS X and 'Touch OS X' (and indeed whether there will be a single 'touch' OS, or whether this will be another variation).

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: Mac compatibility

    Besides that point, no one is predicting the mythical tablet (rumored to be announced at a rumored press show rumored to be the 26th) will run OS X, so mac apps wouldn't run anyway, regardless of universal binariness.

  1. Mr. Strat

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Please, no Atom

    The Atom is pathetic. I would hope they'd avoid this POS.

  1. emark

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Knee-Jerk Tards

    The atom has been VERY successful.

    Even single core Atom / nVidia Ion platforms performing exceptionally well with 1080p HTPC and basic/light computing tasks. (go to NewEgg and check the user reviews on something like the Acer Aspire Revo. which was selling for $329 --discontinued, but the single core is still available; no doubt making room for models based on the newer, even more power efficient chips announced in December)

    The price point is phenomenal. Check out the utlitly and functionality--not just benchmarks vs other processors. Note also the clock speed of the latest chips 12/09 isn't increasing, the efficiency has, and like the i3/i5 are now integrating more functionality.

    And, BTW, OSX86 project has it running Leopard and Snow Leopard for quite a while.

    As usual, the "technorati" that think instead of know post the usual c***. The atom fulfills a niche very well. It's not perfect for everyone, but excellent for more people's needs than you guess/pretend to know. Many people when faced with a small, attractive, energy efficient device that meets their needs at a fraction of the cost of a mini that doesn't come with KB or mouse) would and have jumped on such deals.

    Win 7 is excellent. The Media Center is superb. Do I still prefer OS X....yeah, slightly...but when the $$ differences and hardware limitations are as great as they are in certain segments of the market it's getting alot tougher to buy and recommend the only Apple solutions I used to.

  1. Fast iBook

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Till i see specs from a stevenote, all empty rumors.

    - A

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