Wild Speculation: Why a $2B AMD purchase would be a puzzle piece fit for Apple

Things aren’t looking good for chipmaker AMD…Following another round of layoffs totaling about 15 percent of its employees last month, Reuters reported today that AMD is looking for an investor to sell its Texas campus in order to raise up to $200 million in cash in a multi-year lease back deal. AMD’s cash dropped from $279 million to $1.48 billion in the third quarter, and today the company sits at a market cap of $1.40 billion.

Despite not being the “main option,” with the restructuring and the company’s financial issues, Reuters’ sources claimed an outright sale of the company isn’t out of the question. This isn’t the first time we’ve heard chatter of an AMD takeover. However, with the company sitting at a market cap of $1.40 billion and rumors of Bob Mansfield’s new Technologies group possibly transitioning away from Intel processors, we can’t help but imagine a few things Apple would stand to gain from the purchase…

Read more

Bob Mansfield’s new group implied to be heading transition away from Intel processors on Macs

Apple allegedly plans to one-day abandon Intel to implement a version of chips into Macs that currently power its mobile devices.

Bloomberg first reported the story, citing “people familiar with the company’s research,” and said Apple believes mobile device chips will eventually run its computer lineup. Apple previously mentioned semiconductor development during its management shift announcement on Oct. 29.

Bob Mansfield, senior vice president of Apple’s new “Technologies” group, is apparently leading the chip research, and Apple specifically said its semiconductor teams have “ambitious plans for the future.”

The Cupertino, Calif.-based company first began using Intel processors for Macs in 2005, but two of Bloomberg’s sources noted Apple would continue to rely on the tech for at least a few more years:

As handheld devices increasingly function like PCs, the engineers working on this project within Apple envision machines that use a common chip design. If Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook wants to offer the consumer of 2017 and beyond a seamless experience on laptops, phones, tablets and televisions, it will be easier to build if all the devices have a consistent underlying chip architecture, according to one of the people.

Read more

Former Apple designer reveals Apple passed on a curved-glass iPhone due to cost

We have been getting some interesting bits and pieces from the Apple vs. Samsung trial this week, and most, of which, are related to early iPhone prototypes referenced in pre trial briefs by Samsung’s lawyers who alleged Apple was inspired by Sony products when creating its initial iPhone concepts. We get some more insight on Apple’s original iPhone plans today thanks to a deposition of former Apple designer Douglas Satzger, as discovered by Network World in recent court filings. Satzger, current VP of Industrial Design at Intel, held various roles at Apple from 1996 to 2008 including Industrial Design Creative Lead and Industrial Design Manager. In the deposition, Satzger claimed Apple had “strong interest in doing two pieces of shaped glass,” while referencing the 0355 model prototype pictured above.

He continued to explain how Apple ultimately chose not to utilize curved glass mainly due to cost:
Read more

iOS 6 code points to integration of Apple Maps on Intel-based Macs

Since Apple unveiled its new in-house Maps app for iOS 6, we have discovered bits and pieces of what it has planned for the final release this fall. Apple already showed off Yelp integration, turn-by-turn navigation, and the 3D flyover mode, and it appears to be utilizing a new Avenir typeface. Today, Techpp posted a code dump from the iOS 6 maps app courtesy of developer Cody Cooper who found some interesting evidence of potential Maps integration with OS X:

Our developer friend, Cody Cooper has now stumbled upon an interesting code dump in iOS 6 maps application which hints at the possibility of Apple Maps coming to Macs in the near future.

During his routine investigation of Maps app, Cody found some interesting bits in the file altitude_manifest.xml

In this XML file, there is a reference to a set of Intel based graphics chipsets for which certain features like Shading are disabled.

While this is not solid proof that Apple is working on a full-blown Maps app for Mac, it could hint at possible integration between core apps and features in Mountain Lion and Maps on iOS. For example, location features in iPhoto could integrate with iOS Maps. As noted in the report, the code refers to shading being disabled for older Intel chipsets, which Cooper guessed could likely not support the app’s shading features. We will do some digging, and then update you if we discover anything new. The public release of Mountain Lion is scheduled for this month. Read more

WWDC: Apple unveils the refreshed MacBook Air lineup, shipping today

Apple just unveiled a refreshed MacBook Air lineup while on stage at its Worldwide Developers Conference keynote. Much of the information matches what we previously revealed: the lineup of refreshed Airs will receive Ivy Bridge processors up to the 2.0GHz dual core i7, USB 3.0, up to 8GB of RAM, and “60 percent faster graphics” with the Intel HD Graphics 4000. The new MacBook Airs ship starting today.

The new 11-inch MacBook Air: There will be two variants of the 11-inch Airs. Both will sport a 1.7GHz dual-core i5 and 4GB of RAM. The $999 entry model will get you 64GB of storage, but an extra $100 will upgrade you to the 125GB option. Aside from this, the two models appear to be identical.

The new 13-inch MacBook Air: The new 13-inch MacBook Air will start at the same $1,199 price point and come with a 1.8GHz dual-core i5, 4GB of RAM, and 128GB of onboard storage. The $1,499 price tag will get you the 265GB storage option.

Stay tuned to our live blog for the latest updates.

Matrox goes back to the future with DS-1 Thunderbolt Dock—USB 3.0, DVI, GigE for $249

.

Do you remember all of those ports you used to see on Macs? DVI, Gig Ethernet (har), and separate analog stereo for in and out? Matrox, a company that used to make mad graphics cards and other video devices, is coming to DubDub with a new $249 piece of kit called the “DS-1.” This box brings you all of those old school ports and even throws in a “superspeed” USB 3.0 port, so you can match the speed of the new MacBooks.

Matrox makes a bunch of other highly rated, high-end Thunderbolt breakout boxes that retail for much more. If you are looking for a (relatively) cheap Thunderbolt dock to hide away from sight and hook up to an old DVI monitor, this may be a good pick up. We should have a review unit to play with next week.

The press release follows: Read more

Ivy Bridge processors and motherboards hit store shelves, Hackintosh compatible with patch

Last night, major retailers across the United States began offering Intel Ivy Bridge processors along with Ivy Bridge-optimized Intel Z77 motherboards (Sandy Bridge H61, H67 and z68 MoBos/Chipsets are still Ivy compatible). You can even find significant discounts ($50/off at Amazon above) already.

As TonyMacx86 notes, a kernel patch is necessary to build a Hackintosh with Ivy Bridge currently. That has not stopped some savvy Hackintoshers from getting MacOS up and running (and benchmarked). However, Apple has not shipped a native OS kernel compatible with Ivy Bridge, which makes the patched kernel less desirable than a vanilla kernel that supports Ivy Bridge.

It is not certain if Mac OS 10.7.4 is Ivy compatible (commenters—correct me, if I am wrong).

With Ivy Bridge processors now on store shelves, it would seem that there are not any external barriers to Apple releasing new Ivy Bridge-powered systems.

Read more

Intel officially launches 22nm Ivy Bridge processors, will likely add improved A/V, USB 3.0, more to future Macs

After months of talking about its features, Intel officially launches its new Ivy Bridge processor today. As we previously reported, this processor is undoubtedly headed to the next line of Macs, and it will help provide some significant feature updates. The processor is a 22-nanometer 3D transistor chip that will be more efficient than the bigger Sandy Bridge processors it replaces. It is initially available in 13 quad-core models in both the i5 and i7 versions. According to Intel, lower-end i3 and i5 models will launch later this spring.

One big aspect to note is that the Ivy Bridge also features on-chip USB 3.0 – a technology Apple is long-rumored to adopt. While may Apple not choose to take that route, the likelihood of it using the now built-in USB 3.0 tech has grown exponentially.

Intel’s Vice President and General Manager of the PC Client Group Kirk Skaugen told the crowd at the Intel Developer Forum earlier this month that the Ivy Bridge Processor is built for Retina display computers, “if OEMs choose to use it.” This is especially interesting, because Apple is rumored to include a Retina-like display thanks to a slue of hints in the developer preview of Mountain Lion. Retina would be a game changer on the displays of Apple’s Pro/Air. Intel’s new 4000 chipset supports up to 4K resolutions natively, and it supports improved audio and security functions that Apple may or may not choose to take advantage of.

With the official launch of the Ivy Bridge processor, the launch of new Macs does not seem to be that far off. The new processor will most likely be found throughout the Mac line, including the MacBook Air, iMac, Mini, and MacBook Pro.

Read more

Poll: Are you waiting for the new Ivy Bridge models to get a Mac?

Like some of you, I am limping by on my 2010 MacBook Air, but I have been anxiously waiting for this Ivy Bridge lineup of MacBooks to get released before buying a new Mac. As Walt Mossberg said, it is a good idea to wait until the new Apple products come out to upgrade, but it is starting to feel like forever (I know—it has only been a few months).

Are you waiting for Ivy Bridge before buying a new Mac?

(Image via Reddit)

Read more

Intel VP: Ivy Bridge processor is built for ‘Retina display’ computers

At the Intel Developer Forum that took place yesterday, Intel’s Vice President and General Manager of the PC Client Group Kirk Skaugen revealed (14:30 mark) that Intel’s upcoming Ivy Bridge Processor is built for Retina display computers, “if OEMs choose to use it.”

“Retina display” is a marketing term coined by Apple to describe a screen where one cannot discern pixels at an average usage distance with 20/20 vision. It is curious that Intel’s VP used an Apple term to describe high-density computer displays for the broader market.

Apple is set to use Intel’s Ivy Bridge processor in its next line Macs, making it an opportune time to introduce its Retina display technology into the Mac line. The Ivy Bridge processor, without help from discrete graphics processors, can power 2560-by-1600 displays (as Skaugen said), which is four times the current resolution found in the 13-inch MacBook Pro. That would look pretty good on 13-inch displays of Apple’s Pro/Air.

Apple’s bigger, high-end notebooks have typically had help from discrete graphics processors. To make bigger displays “Retina,” Apple would likely need to add more GPU processing power.

Read more

Ivy Bridge launching April 23 as next-gen Thunderbolt ships, likely to land in next Macs

Today, we have two pieces of Intel-related news with reports claiming a solid April 23 launch date for the Ivy Bridge introduction, while others report Intel has begun shipping its next-generation Thunderbolt technology.

Late last month, we heard reports from CPU World, which claimed Ivy Bridge CPUs most-likely to land in future Macs would launch between April 22 and April 28 with availability by April 29. Today, we get a solid launch date with Cnet and various other sources reporting Intel will start its initial rollout April 23. As we detailed previously, many of the Ivy Bridge models included in the initial launch would be suitable for MacBook Pro-like devices and desktop offerings. However, Intel’s Ultra low-voltage U-Series Ivy Bridge processors most likely headed for MacBook Air-like designs are expected to launch in June.

Intel today said there would be over 100 Thunderbolt devices by year-end and another report coming from VR-Zone today claimed Intel started shipping its second-generation Thunderbolt controllers codenamed “Cactus Ridge,” which would align nicely if both these updates are headed to future Macs…
Read more

Intel’s upcoming Ivy Bridge Quad-Core i7-3770K benchmarked on Mac OS 10.7.3

With Apple’s next round of Macs likely to include Intel’s Ivy Bridge processors recently confirmed for an April launch, there is still some speculation about which processors from the lineup will land in certain Macs. Rumors today point toward a refreshed iMac. Moreover, new Benchmark tests (via tonymacx86) submitted to Geekbench show Apple’s desktop operating system performing with the 3.5GHz Quad-Core i7-3770K, which is one of Intel’s most powerful Ivy Bridge chips suitable for desktops.

Note: The “Mac Pro” in the above screen capture is the profile used by the Hackintosh user, not the hardware. Also, note that the user had to modify the kernel to employ these new chips, which will also see further optimizations by Apple.

Geekbench user “hiwa” obviously had to use a Hackintosh to boot with the new chip. A Z77 motherboard was used in this case. Some benchmarks listed by the user demonstrate scores higher than any current Apple hardware. It is unclear what machine the benchmarks performed on, but it is clear Ivy Bridge is posting some impressive results compared with current Mac hardware.

While the benchmarks above show the Core i7-3770K desktop chip, Intel Product Manager Anand Kajshmanan claimed Apple’s MacBooks (likely to include Ivy Bridge CPUs in the near future) would face strong competition from Intel-powered Ultrabooks. In an interview with PC World, Anand was asked why a person would choose an Ultrabook over a MacBook Air or even an iPad:

Read more