Date: Wednesday, April 28th, 2010, 03:32
Category: News, Processors
Late Tuesday, the New York Times confirmed a rumor that Apple had purchased Intrinsity, a privately owned ARM chip design firm.
Citing “people familiar with the deal,” the report also included an estimated US$121 million purchase price, provided by Tom R. Halfill, an analyst with Microprocessor Report.
Apple spokesman Steve Dowling indirectly confirmed the purchase, stating that the the hardware maker “buys smaller technology companies from time to time.” However, he added that Apple does not reveal “purpose or plans” with any acquisition.
Sources close to the story also confirmed to the Times that Intrinsity helped to design the custom A4 processor found in the recently released iPad. Weeks ago, one analyst suggested that only Intrinsity could have delivered the A4 processor with its snappy 1GHz clock speed. The Cortex-A8 reference design on which the A4 is based can only be clocked up to 650MHz.
In early April, rumors first surfaced that Apple purchased Intrinsity to help build the A4 chip. Evidence to support the acquisition surfaced when a number of Intrinsity employees changed their company status on LinkedIn to Apple on the first of the month.
The purchase follows similar acquisitions and in 2008, Apple also bought fabless chip designer P.A. Semi for US$278 million in 2008.
Apple also bought a 3% stake in 2008 in Imagination Technologies, maker of the PowerVR mobile graphics chip found in the company’s mobile devices, including the iPhone. Last year, Apple bumped its share to 9.5%. In addition to partnering with Apple, Imagination also competes with ARM Holdings, which makes the reference designs for chips that power the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.