Thursday, February 11, 2010

Automation End Game?

Thanks to EDA vendors for making hard to use and even harder to interoperate tools. I mean, what would happen to engineers if the tools were easy to use?

Monday, February 08, 2010

Engineers chime in on the A4

Or, as the VentureBeat columnist wryly put it, Apple’s A4 chip: Engineers correct stupid journalist. Some of the speculation is very plausible, and I found the anonymous quotes the most interesting of all, suggesting as reason for Apple to design their own chip
  • efficiency (exactly what they need, no more)
  • business/schedule
  • cost: a big upfront development cost to slash the per-part cost

Some additional details, not quite as juicy, follow in How Apple’s A4 chip lets iPad run cooler, save battery life. I was most surprised at the claim from "a very trusted source" that PA Semi didn’t do the A4. It was the existing VLSI team. Could it be true? All other speculation I read was that this was the fruit of Apple's investment in PA Semi. (Although PA Semi was working on PowerPC designs, and the iPad's A4 is almost surely ARM-based.)

Monday, February 01, 2010

Scooping the MSM on A4

(That's the Mainstream Media, for those of you with lives outside of the blogosphere.) Today in the New York Times, there's a perspective on the iPad A4 chip, In the iPad, Apple Is Betting on Its Own Microchip. The analysts interviewed in the article are similarly nonplussed by Apple's chip design strategy. But the Times did snag a nice picture of the chip:

Update: Business Week's A4 story. I was never expecting Intel to be a contender for the iPad design win. And how does an analyst already estimate the cost of the A4 chip and the iPad's bill of materials? Has anyone got their hands on one outside of Apple?