S1 Stories May 7, 2015


Nearly two weeks after the product’s official release, Chipworks has updated its earlier Apple Watch teardown to note several significant details, most notably that Apple’s latest processor uses a 28-nanometer building process that has already been leapfrogged by newer technology. The discovery reveals that the S1 — believed to be roughly equivalent in processing power to Apple’s A5 processors — can be readily evolved using the smaller 20-nanometer process used in Apple’s current A8 processors, as well as the cutting-edge 14-nanometer process that’s reportedly being used in the upcoming A9. This is good news for next-generation versions of the Apple Watch, as they will be able to easily fit faster or more power-efficient processors in the same space as the S1.

As highlighted in separate chip teardown and X-ray analyses released today by Chipworks and iFixit (partnered with Creative Electron), the S1 packs over 30 components into a resin-covered package, including everything from wireless chips, wireless charging, audio processors and sensors to the CPU itself. The CPU is again said to be Samsung-fabricated, continuing the unusual frenemy relationship between Apple and one of its chief consumer electronics rivals. Several of the beautiful iFixit/Creative Electron X-ray images of the Apple Watch are included below…

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S1 Stories May 1, 2015


At the height of my Apple fandom, I purchased one of the company’s most iconic and quixotic designs: a used Power Mac G4 Cube, the beautiful floating computer Apple initially described as “revolutionary” before putting it on ice — Apple’s words — less than a year later. Like many other people, I had fallen in love with the Cube’s design the first time I saw it, but wouldn’t spend $1,800-$2,300 to own one. So I waited until the price fell significantly and bought it used on eBay.

Back then, I wondered why Apple had discontinued its “revolutionary” computer so quickly. And why it hadn’t opted to “reintroduce an upgraded model of the unique computer in the future,” as its discontinuation press release had suggested was possible. After rebuilding my Cube inside and out, I completely understood the answer: Apple and technology had both moved on. Old replacement parts were still available, but new parts were smaller, faster, and more reliable. Apple had effectively redesigned the Cube to become the more reasonably priced Mac mini, unsympathetically abandoning the original form factor because it had fundamental problems.

Just like every major new Apple product released over the past decade, the Apple Watch’s first-generation design will give way to a better second-generation design in the not-too-distant future. Recall that Apple discarded the first iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Apple TV enclosures after only a single generation, in each case making major design changes to address early concerns. So although some people have suggested otherwise, this means that there won’t be an “upgrade” program to swap the S1 core of the Apple Watch when the S2 is introduced. Instead, there will be a whole new watch designed to entice new customers, and remedy early adopters’ complaints…

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S1 Stories April 30, 2015

Apple Watch S1

We’ve already seen the Apple Watch get torn apart by iFixit, giving us an inside look at the Taptic Engine, Digital Crown, and (mostly) battery, and now ABI Research has gone a level further and opened up the custom designed S1 chip that is the brains of the Apple Watch… expand full story

S1 Stories January 14, 2015


Is an A-series chip destined for a future model of the 12-inch MacBook Air?

A KGI report predicts that Apple will begin using its own processors for Macs “in the next 1-2 years,” with a specific prediction of a Samsung-fabbed A10X chip powering at least one Mac made in 2016. The wording appears to suggest an entry-level machine–possibly a future model of the 12-inch MacBook Air.

Apple may launch Mac products that use own AP [Application Processor] in next 1-2 years. This prediction is based on the assumption that Apple’s self-developed AP performs at a level between Intel’s Atom and Core i3 and is good enough for Mac. Using self developed AP can help Apple better control the timing of Mac launches and Mac product features.

With performance between an Atom and Core i3, the chip would not be suitable for mid- to high-end Macs.

An accompanying table (below) shows an A10X chip made with a 10-nanometer process to be made by Samsung at some point during 2016 …

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