Apple buys chip company to maintain mobile edge

Apple has taken another importantl step to maintain its mobile edge by acquiring an advanced chip manufacturer known as Intrinsity.

“This adds another arrow to their quiver,” Tom R. Halfhill, a chip analyst for Microprocessor Report, told the New York Times. “The purchase price is like pocket change to Apple ($121 million) and they get a lot of benefit.”

Indeed, the Austin-based start-up specializes in licensing technology that significantly optimizes the performance of ARM microprocessor designs.

“Last July, Samsung Electronics Co.—which manufactured the A4 and prior ARM-based chips for Apple—announced a deal to offer Intrinsity technology called Hummingbird,” explained Don Clark of the Wall Street Journal.

“That technology allows a popular ARM microprocessor design to operate at 1 gigahertz [instead of the typical 650], the same speed as the [iPad’s] A4.”

Clark – who quoted Jim Morrison of Chipworks – added that “the guts” of the iPad’s 1 gigahertz A4 processor appear to have been jointly developed by engineers at Intrinsity and Samsung in 2009.