Today’s mobile devices challenge desktop and notebook personal computer in usage. An iPhone isn’t just a computer in your pocket, it’s a high resolution camera, video camera, audio recorder that works side-by-side with applications and games and multiple high-speed internet connections; all crammed into one device that demands the most from battery technology as well as CPU capabilities.
Is it any wonder that Apple’s A-Series CPUs in iPhone and iPad run rings around competitors? Is it any wonder that Intel has hardly an presence among the few billion mobile devices that have saturated the world in recent years.
Way back in 2008 Apple bought P.A. Semi (think Palo Alto Semiconductor) and from then forward the iPhone maker has been in control of its own CPU destiny with the A-Series CPUs outperforming even multi-core CPUs from competitors. Meanwhile, Intel has struggled as the traditional PC industry struggled to keep pace.
Now Intel says that customer today demand 4K ultra-high definition video and high-resolution video streaming so the chip giant has a introduced the 7th generation Intel Core CPUs.
4K video? My iPhone has done 4K video for a couple of years. High-res video streaming? Where has Intel been in recent years? My iPhone and iPad stream all kinds of internet video at high resolution and they’ve done it for years.
I did a bit of research on Intel’s new offerings. This generation is codenamed Kaby Lake and is derived from the much derided Skylake CPU architecture, complete with a new media engine with yet another HEVC 10-bit decode capability for current media needs. You know, like 4K UHD video and 360-degree video playback.
You know, like what the iPhone does.
Intel plans to roll out the new CPUs into the Core m, Core i5, and Core i7 CPUs soon. So PC users will be able to do what iPhone and iPad already do. One notable change is the power consumption of the new CPUs, moving from 18 watts of power years ago down to 4.5 watts.
Sounds impressive, right?
Apple isn’t much on comparing specifications, and a Mac– which also runs Intel CPUs– is not a good comparison to an iPhone, but note that we use our iPhones and iPads for much of what once was reserved for the Mac.
Today’s iPhone 6s is packed with a blistering array of high tech– most of it run on Apple’s own internally designed A-Series CPU– which can embarrass traditional run-of-the-mill PCs. As an example, the iPhone 6s can record 4k video at 30fps (faster than broadcast TV) and standard 1080p HD at 60fps. With slow motion video, optical image stabilization, continuous autofocus, fingerprint detection, ultra secure Apple Pay with Touch ID, all the wireless cell phone bands you can think of, all on a high resolution screen. Then there are the sensors– barometer, gyro, accelerometer, proximity, and ambient light.
That’s one tiny device with a long-lasting battery that does more than any Mac or Windows PC.
Yet, here we are, the 10th iPhone is about to be introduced, and Intel is just now getting around to stuffing new CPUs with what iPhone users have enjoyed for a couple of years already.
What does that say about the mobile device revolution that Apple started in 2007? How long before we see a Mac with an Apple designed A-Series ARM CPU inside instead of Intel? Who is chasing whom in the CPU race?