Cortex A-15 Processor: A change in chapter of computing

ARM Cortex A-15
ARM Cortex A-15

Britain based ARM chip manufacturer has come up with a new product Cortex A-15 processor with processing capacity up to 2.5 GHz.

Lately ARM technology(ARM A-8, ARM A-9) based chips have become the default/major chip used in almost all smart phones. The chip that is currently being used has 1 GHz capacity and is used in devices like the iPhone and iPad. The key differentiator between ARM chips and other chips manufacturer like intel, AMD is that ARM has managed to produce chips that are highly energy efficient and requires only fraction of the energy compared to what is required by normal processors. It thus does not require to be cooled by a fan.

The new chips also bring along with them the capability of multi-core processing which was a major differentiator between the mobile chip and PC chip. Current PCs and gaming devices are equipped with multi-core processor. Dual core being the most commonly used processor for an end user device like a desktop or a laptop. But now that the ARM Cortex-15 brings along with it similar capability consuming only fraction of the resources. It is only a matter of time that these chips would be integrated in new mobile devices like the tablets, smart phones, PMP, gaming devices, home entertainment and many more. The more you think about the possibilities that this chip would change in to reality is just mind boggling. It would only be the intent(or lack of it) of the major electronic giants now to stop the fiction of yesteryears change to reality. One of the major constraints for them at this stage would be to try and get return on their current investment and at the same time invest in research of new products that have the capability to become mainstream so that the investment is worth a return.

What this means from an end user perspective is that this is the beginning of the end of computers we have known so far and the beginning of a new age of computing. Tablets will certainly become a norm for the next few years until users are used to the idea of computing on devices other than the desktop/laptop.

Intel has been trying hard to get in to this segment but without any success. Intel has also recently acquired Infineon’s wireless solutions business for approx $1.4bn. Infineon chips are currently being used in iPhones and iPads as wireless communication chips(3G). But the recent development from the Apple camp is they are moving away from Infineon chips in favour of Qualcomm which again is a major set back for Intel in this space. Intel has been pushing hard with their Atom processor for mobile computing especially in the netbooks segment and were comfortably dominating the market but with the faith of netbooks itself now being a concern, Atom processors do not seem to have a long life. AMD on the other hand is still catching up on the desktop processors with their new range of processors “Fusion” that they claim to be better than any competing processor for a desktop. And to their credit the processors have received some good reviews from the industry. But the question of the moment is whether they should continue to build their desktop processing capability or move to investing and inventing in what looks like the new age in computer processing?

key points from Apple Event on 1st September 2010

Apple Event Sept 2010
Apple Event Sept 2010

key points from Apple Event on 1st September 2010
In the event organised at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater in San Francisco at 10 AM Pacific Time, Apple made few announcements about new products and dropping few hints about their strategy going forward. Details about them shall be covered in articles to follow. This article is only to quickly sum up the key points from the Key note presentation by Steve Jobs.

I would have loved to put all features in tabular format for comparison purpose but that would kill the purpose of this post.

New Products unveiled.

iOS 4.1 for iPhone and iPod
Bugs fixed (Proximity, Bluetooth, iPhone 3G)
High Dynamic Range photos ( A new and unexpected feature. Takes two photos at a time with two extreme exposures and mixes them real time to give a sharp image)
HD Video upload over wifi
TV show rentals (Now allows rentals on iOS devices. It was purchase only until now.)
Game Center (Helps you play/challenge other users (family/friends/strangers. It adds a new competitive dimension to games.)
Free download and upgrade
Arriving September 2nd week 2010

iOS 4.2 for iPad
All of IOS 4.1
AirPlay (New name for AirTunes – Stream audio, video & photos over Wi-Fi)
*Not All Models (May potentially leave out iPod touch first gen and iPhone 4G.)
Free download and upgrade
Arriving in November 2010

New iPods (All-new designs for every model)

iPod Shuffle gen 4
iPod Shuffle

iPod Shuffle (tiny with buttons; buttons are back!)
Small and wearable
Easy to use – buttons
Genius mixes
VoiceOver (Will not work with bundled earphones. One will have to buy new earphones with mic.)
15 hours battery
5 colours
$49 (US) , £39 (UK)

iPod Nano
iPod Nano

iPod Nano (half the size of previous generation- no manual controls)
Multi-touch user interface
4 Apps per screen (Cannot add more from App store.)
46% smaller – 42% Lighter
Clip – no more armbands
Volume buttons
VoiceOver (Will not work with bundled earphones. One will have to buy new earphones with mic.)
FM radio, Nike+, pedometer
29 languages
24 hours battery
7 colours
$149-8GB (US), $179-16GB(US), £129-8GB(UK), £159-16GB(UK)

iPod touch
iPod touch

iPod Touch – (An iPhone without phone)
Most popular iPod (contract free)
No 1 Gaming device (outsells Nintendo & Sony combined??)
50+% (US and worldwide market share)
1.5 billion (Game & entertainment downloads)
Retina Display (4X pixels, 326 ppi, 24-bit colour LED
Apple A4 chip (similar to iPhone 4 and iPad)
3-axis Gyro (Adds new dimension to motion control)
iOS 4.1 with Game Center
FaceTime with front camera
HD video recording
40 hours battery
$229-8GB(US), $299-32GB(US), $399-64GB(US) / £189-8GB(UK), £249-32GB(UK), £329-64GB(UK)

iTunes 10
iTunes 10

iTunes 10
New Logo (Dropped CD from the iTunes logo)
Ping (Social media for music)
Customised top ten charts based on what people you follow are downloading
Social Music discovery
Follow and be followed
Circle of friends
Post your thoughts & Opinions (Can only be done over a song or album. Cannot start new thread all by itself. It ensures you are discussing things related to music)
Custom song & Album charts
Over 17,000 concert listings
160 million iTunes users in 23 countries
Free Download
Available September 01, 2010

Apple TV 2010
Apple TV

Apple TV (One more thing hobby)
Hollywood movies & TV Shows
Everything in HD
Lower prices for content
Don’t want a computer
Don’t want to manage storage
Don’t want syncing
Silent, cool & small
1/4 the size
HDMI, USB, optical audio and Ethernet, wifi 802.11n
$4.99(US), £3.49(UK) for first run HD movies
99c for HD TV Shows (commercial free)
NETFLIX, youtube, flickr, mobileme (Add-ons on Apple TV to access the movies and pics)
Airplay – iPad to Apple TV (Stream movies directly from iPad to Apple TV through wifi, no connector required)
Available by end of September 2010
$99 (US), £99 (UK)

Some numbers. (These may excite/scare/intimidate/humour you based on who you are.)
120 million iOS devices shipped
230K (New iOS activations per day, without updates)
200 (Apps downloaded every second) – (Whoo… that’s another 200!)
25K/250K on Apps store are iPad Apps
275 M iPods sold
11.7 billion songs downloaded from iTunes
450 million TV episodes downloaded from iTunes
100 million movies downloaded from iTunes
35 million books downloaded from iTunes
160 million accounts with credit cards and 1-click

Other highlights
Steve Wozniak was present in the audience which Steve Jobs acknowledged.
New Stores in operation in
Paris, France
Shanghai, China 40 feet high glass cylinder
London, England in the heart of Covent Garden (Only half mile from existing store at Regent street.)