Apple A9 SoC as fast as Intel Core M, opens up possibility of OS X on iPhone
Early benchmarks show that the third-generation, 64-bit ARM-based Apple A9 SoC powering the new iPhone 6s offers performance in line with the x86-based Intel Core M processor used in the 12-inch Retina MacBook. This is not surprising, as the second-gen 64-bit Apple A8X that was the heart of the iPad 2 was not far behind in our GeekBench 3 cross-platform benchmark testing as part of our 12-inch Retina MacBook review from earlier this year. What this means is that the iPhone 6s is capable of running Apple's full OS X, which powers its Macs -- but just because it can, should Apple release mobile devices powered by OS X?
Rival beats TSMC to 14-nanometer process, said to win contract
Numerous reports appear to confirm that Samsung will return to a larger role in helping Apple manufacture its next-generation A9 chip, which will be used in future iOS devices. Apple primarily uses Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) for its A8 chips seen in the iPhone 6 and current iPad lines, but still used Samsung for manufacturing the chips to some extent due to demand. Sources say Samsung has beaten TSMC to a 14-nanometer process, giving it the edge.
Roadmap for processors unclear
Samsung has already started manufacturing Apple A9 processors at its factory in Austin, Texas, claims South Korea's Electronic Times. Production is fact said to have started just this Thursday, using the company's latest 14nm manufacturing process. The story is consistent with other recent reports suggesting A9 production would begin by the end of the year, and statements from within Samsung that it would be supplying Apple with 14nm hardware.
TSMC's role unknown
Samsung should start producing 14nm chips for Apple, Qualcomm, and AMD by the end of 2014, a report says. Apple's inclusion is particularly significant, as it implies that the company will be starting on production of a next-generation A-series processor, presumably the A9. The A8 only began appearing in Apple devices last month, with the launch of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.
Small-scale production to take place at New York factory
Samsung and Globalfoundries are planning small-scale production of 14nm chips at a New York plant in early 2015, says Digitimes. The firms have reportedly landed deals with two major clients, Apple and Qualcomm. In particular, it's believed that Samsung is aiming to build A9 processors for Apple, but two other companies -- Intel and TSMC -- are also said to be competing for orders.
Search exec hire could be meant to boost Siri's capabilities
Apple has reportedly brought on William Stasior, an executive at Amazon who runs A9, Amazon's search and search advertising unit. Stasior will now take over the unit within Apple dedicated to its Siri digital assistant. The hire is thought to be aimed at improving Siri's search capabilities, and observers note that it could signal a stronger move into Internet search for Apple, a company that has typically relied on third-party services to power search in its devices.
Amazon Flow searches with augmented reality
Amazon's A9 search team tapped into one of the most common tactics of modern retail shoppers on Wednesday by launching Flow for iPhones (free, App Store). The app uses augmented reality through the phone's cameras to ID products based on their UPC codes. If a match exists on Amazon, users can both get more information, including videos, as well as buy it on the spot.
SmartQ Ten shown with Android 2.2, IPS screen
China's Smart Devices has unveiled its latest tablet, the SmartQ Ten. It uses an In Plane Switching (IPS) 9.7-inch, 1024x768 display and a Cortex-A9 CPU of unspecified clock speed as well as the Mali 400 GPU. It's also the company's first tablet to use Android 2.2.