updated 11:00 am EST, Mon February 8, 2010
Earlier Apple team claimed to be involved
Despite popular belief, the A4 processor in the iPad was not designed by people from PA Semi, a "very trusted" VentureBeat source claims. Apple bought the chip design firm in April of last year, and in June it was acknowledged by Steve Jobs that the aim was to produce chips for iPhone and iPod devices. The iPad has been described in the media and by analysts as an oversized iPod touch.
In reality, the source claims, the A4 is the work of an existing microprocessor team. Apple is said to have long-running experience in the field, for instance through creating northbridges for its G4- and G5-based Macs. The A4 is Apple's first entirely self-developed processor however, which could easily have exploited the skills of PA Semi.
Some engineers meanwhile speculate that the major advantage of the A4, perhaps based on PA Semi's work, could be an ability to selectively lower or shutoff power in different parts of the chip, which would explain the iPad's 10-hour battery life. Similarly the chip may be able to offload a lot of work to the graphics processor, keeping hardware cool by lowering clock speed elsewhere. Competing devices leave their GPUs idle much of the time, one commentator observes.