Analyst: Apple has big lead over Intel in mobile chips

“In the brave new world of tablets and smartphones, chip competition isn’t so much about Moore’s Law but rather how the “blocks” of circuits are put together and the nexus with the software that runs on those circuits, Gus Richard, a senior research analyst at securities firm Piper Jaffray, wrote in a research note this week,” Brooke Crothers reports for CNET. “‘The economics of technology has shifted. In the SoC era, system performance and development costs are not dominated by cost per gate (Moore’s Law) but rather by design and software,’ Richard wrote in a research note this week.”

Crothers reports, “Richard continues. “‘As an example, there is nothing leading edge about Apple’s A5 processor. However, the performance of an iPad is perceived by users as better than a PC. This is because the product has a longer battery life, instant on, and a fast internet connection. The A5 processor is not faster than an Intel processor but instead has a large number of IP blocks that execute different functions with lower power and typically more quickly than a general purpose CPU (Intel).’ Software plays an important role too. Apple’s software is written to work with one set of hardware resources, wrote Richard.”

Crothers reports, “And Richard had some even more sobering words for Intel further down in the note. ‘Intel’s manufacturing is in the lead…but it has not yet demonstrated that it can design its way out of a PC,’ he wrote. ‘”We believe that a general purpose processor cannot compete with a purpose-built SoC with dedicated IP blocks like the A5,’ he said, adding that he doesn’t believe Intel’s manufacturing process is optimized for SoC integration.”

Read more in the full article here.

Related articles:
2012: Apple’s quad-core A6-powered iPhone 5 incinerates Android – December 7, 2011
Apple prepping for next-gen ‘A’ processors – November 26, 2011
Steve Jobs: Intel’s inflexibility led to creation of A4, A5 processors – October 26, 2011
iPhone 4S preliminary benchmarks: 73% faster than iPhone 4 – October 11, 2011
Apple has 1,000 engineers working on chips – October 10, 2011


  1. Wait a minute.. is this guy saying that Jay Miner had it right all along with the original Amiga?

    Cause all I remember reading back then was that general purpose CPUs were going to rule the world forever.

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