The New Mac Lineup Touts Apple’s Own Powerful M1 Chips

Apple unveiled a new M1 microchip, designed in-house, which chief executive Tim Cook said is “by far the most powerful chip that we have ever created.” Aimed at offering faster performance and longer battery life, the company said that the M1 integrated into the new super-thin MacBook Air (priced starting at $999) will run 3.5 times faster than the past generation. Without a fan, the device will run silently. The M1 will also be installed in a 13-inch MacBook Pro, starting at $1,299, and the Mac mini, starting at $699. Continue reading The New Mac Lineup Touts Apple’s Own Powerful M1 Chips

Increasing Demand for 5G Lifts Qualcomm Earnings, Revenue

A major supplier of 5G chips, Qualcomm predicted shipments of 450 million to 550 million 5G smartphones in 2021, a number at least double of what’s expected by the end of this year. Chief executive Steve Mollenkopf revealed that sales of smartphones was a significant part of the company’s latest quarterly earnings. He also noted that Qualcomm is already seeing benefits from Internet of Things devices and networking gear using 5G chips. In addition, Apple’s 5G-enabled iPhone 12 is expected to be a boon for Qualcomm’s modems. Continue reading Increasing Demand for 5G Lifts Qualcomm Earnings, Revenue

AMD Acquires Xilinx: Opens Door for 5G, Data Center Chips

Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) agreed to pay $35 billion in stock to acquire Xilinx, which will enable it to diversify into chips for 5G wireless communications and automotive electronics. The company, which has some of the strongest sales in its 51-year history, has traditionally been Intel’s rival for computer chips. With Xilnix, AMD could also provide components for data centers and compete with Nvidia in that space. The all-stock deal is still topped by Nvidia’s plan to purchase UK chipmaker Arm for $40 billion. Continue reading AMD Acquires Xilinx: Opens Door for 5G, Data Center Chips

Intel Sells NAND Memory Business to SK Hynix for $9 Billion

Intel agreed to sell its memory unit to SK Hynix — which makes flash memory components in South Korea — for 10.3 trillion won (about $9 billion). The sale, which includes Intel’s solid-state drive, NAND flash and wafer business and a production facility in the Chinese city of Dalian, will occur in stages through 2025. The deal is expected to improve Hynix’s position in the chip industry, which has boomed after COVID-19, and rids it of one competitor. SK Hynix’s primary rivals are Samsung Electronics and Micron Technology. Continue reading Intel Sells NAND Memory Business to SK Hynix for $9 Billion

IBM Advocates for Confidential Computing Security Standard

IBM and others are advocating the adoption of Confidential Computing, a standard that they state will provide deeper levels of security and privacy in the cloud. With encryption that can only be unlocked by keys held by the client, Confidential Computing guarantees that the company hosting data and applications can’t access the underlying data, regardless of whether it is stored in a database or passing through an application. That prevents hackers from accessing encrypted data when it moves to the application layer. Continue reading IBM Advocates for Confidential Computing Security Standard

With Arm Purchase, Nvidia May Dominate AI Edge Computing

Moore’s Law — Intel co-founder Gordon Moore’s prediction that the number of transistors on a chip doubles about every two years — has been the foundation of the semiconductor industry. But, as the industry nears the limits of circuitry and physics of electronics, it’s being replaced by another one: that silicon chips powering AI more than double in power every two years, due to hardware and software. As Moore’s Law was the foundation for improvements in computers, this new law will power the Internet of Things. With its $40 billion acquisition of Arm Holdings, Nvidia could be positioned for a new type of evolution.  Continue reading With Arm Purchase, Nvidia May Dominate AI Edge Computing

Nvidia Acquisition of SoftBank’s Arm Brings Rewards, Risks

Nvidia agreed to pay $40 billion — $21.5 billion in stock, $12 billion in cash — for SoftBank’s Arm division, a chip designer based in the United Kingdom. Nvidia will pay $2 billion on signing, and SoftBank will also receive $5 billion in cash or stock should Arm’s performance meet specific standards. Arm employees will receive $1.5 billion in Nvidia stock. This will be the biggest semiconductor industry deal since SoftBank paid $31.4+ billion to purchase Arm in 2016. The deal will also increase competition between Nvidia and Intel. Continue reading Nvidia Acquisition of SoftBank’s Arm Brings Rewards, Risks

Nvidia Purchase of Arm Signals Inflection Point in Computing

If Nvidia acquires Arm Ltd. in the next few weeks, which many experts predict will happen, the company may be in the position to dominate the next computing ecosystem. Jefferies semiconductor analyst Mark Lipacis notes that, the computer industry goes through a “strategic inflection point” every 15 years, with research showing that dominant players in each era account for 80 percent of the profits. Different ecosystems are the result of “multi-pronged” strategy by those companies that come out on top. Continue reading Nvidia Purchase of Arm Signals Inflection Point in Computing

Qualcomm Seeks Permission to Sell Chips to China’s Huawei

Semiconductor manufacturer Qualcomm is presenting its case to the Trump administration for an exemption to the ban on selling components to Huawei Technologies, noting that the injunction has the impact of enriching its foreign competitors. The White House ban is part of the administration’s ongoing technology battle with China, which has intensified in recent months. Huawei would use Qualcomm chips for its 5G phones, but the San Diego-based company would need a license from the Commerce Department to be able to ship them. Continue reading Qualcomm Seeks Permission to Sell Chips to China’s Huawei

Intel Further Delays 7-Nano Chips and Considers Outsourcing

Although Intel posted stronger earnings in Q2, largely due to the remote working environment created by COVID-19, the company revealed a now 12-month delay in producing 7-nanometer chips that are the foundation of future CPUs. With the news, Intel’s shares dropped in after-hours trading. The company faces competition from rival AMD and is expected to lose about 3 percent in revenue when Apple switches to its own chips. Intel chief executive Bob Swan broached the idea of continuing to design chips but outsourcing their production. Continue reading Intel Further Delays 7-Nano Chips and Considers Outsourcing

WWDC: Apple Unveils New Silicon Chips, macOS, iOS, More

At WWDC this week, Apple officially announced its plan to move from Intel chips to ARM-based “Apple Silicon” chips. With its own chips, Apple will no longer have to rely on Intel’s update cycles. It also means that Apple will be able to bring its customized neural engines to Macs for tasks that use machine learning. Apple stated that developers will be able to create apps that run on ARM-based Macs in Xcode’s new version, which will also continue to support Intel x86 Macs. Additionally, the company announced iOS 14 (with home screen widgets), iPadOS 14 (with Scribble handwriting-to-text conversion), macOS and Safari upgrades, spatial audio for AirPods Pro, Apple TV updates, and more.  Continue reading WWDC: Apple Unveils New Silicon Chips, macOS, iOS, More

ARM-Based Japanese Supercomputer Now No. 1 on Top500

While the United States and China compete to create the world’s most powerful computers, a Japanese supercomputer, dubbed Fugaku, took first place in Top500’s speed ranking. At the Kobe-based RIKEN Center for Computational Science, Fugaku achieved 2.8 times more calculations per second than the previous speediest system, IBM’s at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. Fugaku, which pushed another IBM computer at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California to third place, is based on ARM chip technology. Continue reading ARM-Based Japanese Supercomputer Now No. 1 on Top500

Apple Confirms Transition From Intel Chips to Its Own Design

At its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) this week, Apple revealed that after years of development, it’s ready to replace Intel’s chips with its own custom-made ARM processors. Apple will be able to customize its circuitry for AI, 3D image rendering and other specific uses, with a focus on powerful, energy-efficient processors. The company expects its migration to silicon to take about two years, with its first ARM-based Macs shipping later this year. It will continue to ship Intel-based Macs in the short term and says it plans years of support for Macs with Intel processors. Continue reading Apple Confirms Transition From Intel Chips to Its Own Design

Commerce Department Tech Ban Checks Huawei’s 5G Plans

When the U.S. Commerce Department banned chipmakers that use U.S. technology from supplying their products to Huawei, it crippled the Chinese company’s ability to build out 5G networks. Specifically, all semiconductor manufacturers use U.S. technology to build components integrated into 5G base stations. Research firm EJL Wireless Research did a teardown of a 2019 Huawei base station and determined the ban will impact “dozens of critical components.” Huawei said its 5G launches and operations will be disrupted by the ban. Continue reading Commerce Department Tech Ban Checks Huawei’s 5G Plans

Apple Plans to Unveil Its New Chips at Developer Conference

As early as June 22, at its annual developer conference WWDC, Apple may reveal its plan to replace Intel chipsets with its own internally developed ones, code-named Kalamata. Sources indicate that announcing Kalamata this time of year will give third-party developers time to shift gears before the new Macs debut in 2021. Apple’s new chips will be based on the same technology as those in iPhones and iPads, although Macs will continue to run the macOS operating system rather than iOS software of the mobile devices. Continue reading Apple Plans to Unveil Its New Chips at Developer Conference

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