Tag - A9
Taiwanese chip maker TSMC has announced that it will moving to mass production of mobile chips using a 7nm manufacturing process in the first half of 2018, beating Intel to the node. As a current supplier of Apple's A9 and A9X chips the news could provide an insight into the type of technology that may appear in a future iPhone. If Apple maintains TSMC as a chip fabricator for its A-series chips, it could point to a potential Apple A12 chip powering a late 2018 iPhone using 7nm lithography.
Apple has opted to comment on unscientific and unrealistic test results floating around that purport to show serious differences between iPhone 6s model phones using chips made by Samsung versus those made by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC). Apple, which uses both companies to make its A9 processor that powers both the 6s and 6s Plus, says that there is very little real-world difference between the two chips, which are slightly different sizes depending on manufacturer.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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'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.
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.
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Cirrus creates Lightning-headphone dev kit
Apple supplier Cirrus Logic has introduced a MFi-compliant new development kit for companies interested in using Cirrus' chips to create Lightning-based headphones, which -- regardless of whether rumors about Apple dropping the analog headphone jack in its iPhone this fall -- can offer advantages to music-loving iOS device users. The kit mentions some of the advantages of an all-digital headset or headphone connector, including higher-bitrate support, a more customizable experience, and support for power and data transfer into headphone hardware. Several companies already make Lightning headphones, and Apple has supported the concept since June 2014. http://bit.ly/29giiZj
Apple Store app offers Procreate Pocket
The Apple Store app for iPhone, which periodically rewards users with free app gifts, is now offering the iPhone "Pocket" version of drawing app Procreate for those who have the free Apple Store app until July 28. Users who have redeemed the offer by navigating to the "Stores" tab of the app and swiping past the "iPhone Upgrade Program" banner to the "Procreate" banner have noted that only the limited Pocket (iPhone) version of the app is available free, even if the Apple Store app is installed and the offer redeemed on an iPad. The Pocket version currently sells for $3 on the iOS App Store. [32.4MB]
Porsche adds CarPlay to 2017 Panamera
Porsche has added a fifth model of vehicle to its CarPlay-supported lineup, announcing that the 2017 Panamera -- which will arrive in the US in January -- will include Apple's infotainment technology, and be seen on a giant 12.3-inch touchscreen as part of an all-new Porsche Communication Management system. The luxury sedan starts at $99,900 for the 4S model, and scales up to the Panamera Turbo, which sells for $146,900. Other vehicles that currently support CarPlay include the 2016 911 and the 2017 models of Macan, 718 Boxster, and 718 Cayman. The company did not mention support for Google's corresponding Android Auto in its announcement. http://bit.ly/295ZQ94
Apple employees testing wheelchair features
New features included in the forthcoming watchOS 3 are being tested by Apple retail store employees, including a new activity-tracking feature that has been designed with wheelchair users in mind. The move is slightly unusual in that, while retail employees have previously been used to test pre-release versions of OS X and iOS, this marks the first time they've been included in the otherwise developer-only watchOS betas. The company is said to have gone to great lengths to modify the activity tracker for wheelchair users, including changing the "time to stand" notification to "time to roll" and including two wheelchair-centric workout apps. http://bit.ly/2955JDa
SanDisk reveals two 256GB microSDXC cards
SanDisk has introduced two 256GB microSDXC cards. Arriving in August for $150, the Ultra microSDXC UHS-I Premium Edition card offers transfer speeds of up to 95MB/s for reading data. The Extreme microSDXC UHS-I card can read at a fast 100MB/s and write at up to 90MB/s, and will be shipping sometime in the fourth quarter for $200. http://bit.ly/294Q1If
Apple's third-quarter results due July 26
Apple has advised it will be issuing its third-quarter results on July 26, with a conference call to answer investor and analyst queries about the earnings set to take place later that day. The stream of the call will go live at 2pm PT (5pm ET) via Apple's investor site, with the results themselves expected to be released roughly 30 minutes before the call commences. Apple's guidance for the quarter put revenue at between $41 billion and $43 billion. http://apple.co/1oi1Pbm
Twitter stickers slowly roll out to users
Twitter has introduced "stickers," allowing users to add extra graphical elements to their photos before uploading them to the micro-blogging service. A library of hundreds of accessories, props, and emoji will be available to use as stickers, which can be resized, rotated, and placed anywhere on the photograph. Images with stickers will also become searchable with viewers able to select a sticker to see how others use the same graphic in their own posts. Twitter advises stickers will be rolling out to users over the next few weeks, and will work on both the mobile apps and through the browser. http://bit.ly/29bbwUE