A4: The Brain Behind the iPad

The brain behind the new Apple’s iPad is the Apple A4 custom-designed processor by P.A. Semi, a microprocessor company acquire by Apple in April 2008. The P.A. Semi team includes 100+ engineers who specialize in designing low-power consumption CPUs.

The decision to diss Intel’s Atom and develop a new processor is a clear indication that the iPad might be the first in what may be a long line of Apple mobile devices to include the Apple’s very own CPU.

Daring Fireball editor, John Gruber, narrates how fast the new Apple A4 processor. Here are some few excerpts:

This [the Apple A4] is a huge deal. I got about 20 blessed minutes of time using the iPad demo units Apple had at the event today, and if I had to sum up the device with one word, that word would be “fast” … It is fast, fast, fast.

Web pages render so fast it was hard to believe. After using the iPhone so much for two and a half years, I’ve become accustomed to web pages rendering (relative to the Mac) slowly. On the iPad, they seem to render nearly instantly. (802.11n Wi-Fi helps too.)

Everyone I spoke to in the press room was raving first and foremost about the speed. None of us could shut up about it. It feels impossibly fast. And our next thought: What happens if Apple has figured out a way to make a CPU like A4 that fits in an iPhone? If they pull that off for this year’s new iPhone, look out.

I mentioned this year-ago quote from Apple COO Tim Cook the other day, but it’s apt here, too. Cook told BusinessWeek, “We believe in the simple, not the complex. We believe that we need to own and control the primary technologies behind the products we make, and participate only in markets where we can make a significant contribution.”

Apple now owns and controls their own mobile CPUs. There aren’t many companies in the world that can say that. And from what I saw today, Apple doesn’t just own and control a mobile CPU, they own and control the hands-down best mobile CPU in the world.

Read John Gruber’s entire post here.

A4: The Brain Behind the iPad A4: The Brain Behind the iPad Reviewed by Wicked Sago on 3:54:00 PM Rating: 5


  1. its gonna be a speedy Gonzales!!

  2. Definitely! The first out of many future portable devices from Apple. Why would they develop an entirely new chip if they don't plan to cash in on it.


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