Intrinsity Gets Sold: Did Apple Acquire The iPad's ARM Design Gold?
Brian Dipert - April 1, 2010
About a month ago, I suggested that Intrinsity (a privately owned ARM design house that’s particularly well known for its low power static design techniques, and that also happens to be an EDN Innovation Award finalist in both the microprocessor and Innovator categories) might be the CPU core technology provider for the ‘A4′ microprocessor found in Apple’s upcoming iPad tablet computer. Industry scuttlebutt also indicates that a notable percentage of the P.A. Semiconductor design team (including upper management), which Apple bought in late April 2008 in order to bring ARM-based semiconductor designs inside the company, have defected to start-ups and other companies. So it is that for the past few months I’ve been pondering whether Apple might be preparing to purchase Intrinisity, too.
Well, the pieces are falling into place. Solid rumor has it that Intrinsity has been sold, and that the buyer’s identity will become public in the next day or two. Keep in mind that it’s Thursday afternoon, and that the iPad is due to go on sale in about 36 hours’ time. As soon as that happens, software developers’ NDAs will likely also expire, and at that point we’ll know for sure the source of the iPad’s CPU…which again, I strongly suspect, is Intrinsity in conjunction with its silicon integration and foundry partner, Samsung. So an acquisition announcement coincident with the iPad rollout makes a lot of sense, particularly if (as expected) Apple’s plans for the A4 extend beyond the iPad. And the fact that Intrinsity’s website home page is currently ‘under construction’ further thickens the plot. Expect something, I suspect, after close of market Friday.
Stay tuned as I dig for more details on this breaking story. And no, it’s not an April Fool’s joke…
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