An upgraded ARM processor may power future iPhones, if the requirements in an Apple job posting for experienced chip-level programming talent are any indication. Spotted by sharp eyes at MacRumors, the posting for a "High Perform/Low Level Programmer" on Apple's Job Opportunities site list among its requirements "excellent …
But what is really curious...
...is the desire for someone with PowerPC AltiVec experience. I can certainly understand the need for Intel SSE experience, a bit of flexibility is always welcome especially since Intel is the CPU of choice for the larger brethren in the Mac family these days.
There still no idea what Apple will use the acquisition of PA Semi silicon design house will be used for, vague musings of Mr Jobs notwithstanding, but this mob design high performance, energy-sipping PowerPC chips which use AltiVec.
Hopefully the higher end PPC computers many of which are less than 3 years old, will be supported at least with Snow Leopard and perhaps beyond with any luck. The fact that Rosetta will remain a part of OS X Snow Leopard indicates that Apple will continue to support 'legacy' PPC applications on the new Intel iron, so if the PPC code is still supported...
This all seems to indicate that the assumed death of and support for PowerPC devices from Apple was somewhat premature. There's life in the old girl yet! Fingers crossed!!
Speaking of which, I just did a modest upgrade of the original 80GB 4200RPM HDD in my PPC 1.33GHz 17" Powerbook to speedier 5400RPM 250GB drive which turned my 'book from a laggard into a speed demon once again, going from unusable to highly usable. Can't wait for the price of high performance (and just as importantly, low heat!) SSDs with a ATA interface (which thankfully are being manufactured) to drop so the old girl can get another lease on life. I wouldn't be surprised if she's still putting in good, reliable and speedy service after 10 years. Try that with a Windows laptop.
I don't get it...
Why offer lost of hamstrung models when you could offer one 'does everything' model at the same cost?!?
no wait - who cares.
did job adverts become newsworthy?
SHOCK HORROR. Apple want to employ engineer with ARM experience. And they already use ARM in their products. And some other stuff which isn't as good.
Woah. Meanwhile, in other news, Microsoft are looking for engineers with Intel experience, and PC world are looking for people who can write their own name.
Perhaps AlitVec experience is required as Apple will be wanting new employe to convert AlitVec based code from parts of OSX through to the ARM world for the iPhone OS?
x86 -> ARM
I have for a while suspected that Apple plans to move their entire line of computers to the ARM processor. After all, the shift from PPC to x86 was in part motivated by power use (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_Intel_transition#Reasons) and ARM is much better than x86 in this department (in spite of Intel's attempt at lower-power CPUs). What is currently missing are high-performance ARM processors, but with Cortex A9, ARM processors will start to compete with x86 even in this area.
More important is that Apple can license ARM and include it in their own SoCs, which isn't (AFAIK) possible with x86. The recent acquirements and hirings hint that Applw is, indeed, planning this. SoCs have their greatest benefit in small portable devices (like iPhone or iPod), but it will also enable Apple to make thinner laptops and desktops with smaller form factor (or integrated in keyboards or screens).
Apple may even do like Marvell and license just the instruction set and build their own ARM processor cores. This way, Apple won't have to wait for others to plug the performance gap. There is nothing in the ARM design that precludes high-performance designs. In fact, I think it is easier to make a high-performance ARM than a high-performance x86 -- especially if you want to keep power usage low.
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