When I started working, at Inmos, young and naive, it came as a surprise that a great deal of the press coverage contained significant errors. My recent experience, reading blogs, tweets and assorted comments, about the Apple A4 chip, makes me pine for the good old days. I have come across a huge amount of ill-informed rubbish on the and very little informed analysis. Many tweets and blogs reference a few, unsourced, articles from which can can deduce that the A4 is not a processor, but a system-on-chip; it contains an ARM A8 processor, although someone else claims it is an ARM A9 - or maybe more than one. Great.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
The best things I've read have been in Venture Beat,"Engineers correct stupid journalist" and "How Apple's A4 chip lets iPad run cooler". Of course, these don't actually tell us anything, but at least this is clear and the analysis is sound.
So, what do I think is in the A4? Well, I think it's an ARM compatible processor, or processors, together with a pile of other stuff - graphics, optimised interfaces, power management, ... I think there are two ways we might find out for sure - Apple might tell us, or it will reversed engineered. Some things should come out quickly - like the processor type and performance - this can be deduced by looking at the behaviour of suitable programs running on the processor.