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May 15, 2011

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Anyone who thinks AMD is falling behind in nanometer fabrication is a fool.

Intel announces research years in advance before they're able to successfully bring to market these ideas, as a means of preemption against the likes of IBM and AMD, both of whom already have been doing and advancing research in the same fields earlier.

With Bulldozer's imminent release, Intel had to say something or people would be immediately asking how it is that AMD leap-frog'd Intel once more as they did with amd64.

There is a reason Apple is moving away from Nvidia and towards AMD. They hired one of the preeminent Graphics persons away from AMD and then came the partnership in GPGPUs.

AMD has embraced and extended OpenCL with Apple. Nvidia is begrudgingly embracing OpenCL while extending CUDA. AMD's APUs in the Embedded space E6760 opens up a lot of opportunities for Apple adding these to their laptops in multiple slots.

I like the idea and once iCloud becomes active, apple could create something like this because there wouldn't be a need for a hard drive, meaning 1 less heat sync, and because the hard drive is likely to be the thickest thing in an imac, the thickness then can be reduced.
I'm quite happy with my iPad 2, but this would be amazing!

The idea of creating a higher level tablet is most interesting. To then distinguish them by having one that looks like a mini iMac is creatively inventive. I could put it on the stand for when I need to use it with a full keyboard for office apps, yet remove the tablet from the iMac stand to use it as a tablet or some kind of LapTV or gaming station.

A hybrid system as presented could temp many on the PC side to try it out because they could use it with bootcamp or maybe parallels. This way it's a PC tablet too. The more I think about it, the more I like it. Nice idea if Apple every pulls it off. It wouldn't be a classic postpc device because it's part pc, but it's a bridging system for skeptics to try out without much risk to the downside.

I think the idea is that it's an iMac hybrid more than it's an iPad hybrid. A MacBook Air isn't heavy and so a hybrid iMac would be just as light with a 12 to 14 inch display. Something nice in the kitchen, on a den desk or in the TV room. I like the idea.

The entire idea that the stand tilts for touch doesn't strike me as Apple elegant.

A hybrid iPad for me would be two things --

1. In a simple stand, an extra TV. Or access point for music, email, whatever. Every morning I bring my iPad into the kitchen for just such a purpose. When I'm done with breakfast --

2. -- I take it away and it becomes a portable web surfing, book reading, bathroom gaming (lol) device. Now, what would be interesting is that if --

3. -- it had a DOCK and could be also used as simple a desktop computer, with a ready keyboard and a trackpad.

The catch HERE is that the iPad needs to be larger but not much heavier.

@RBoyin. You said: "The magnets holding protective glass are likely intended for a portable iMac." The link to iFixit step 5 shows it's for a 27 iMac, period.

@ Mel.

Apple is smart enough to pull this off no matter if they're working with AMD or just creating their own Intel + A5 chip. Though the point is that AMD is a little lost as you suggest Mel and why ARM is looking to attack Intel head on their own turf of PCs as they know that Intel is after the mobile space. It's really an ARM deal for their interest as you don't need a rocket Intel chip to run 95% of consumer or office apps. AMD's chips power 60% + of HP's latest PCs. Just go to Best Buy and you'll see how many AMD chips are in systems versus Intel's.

Apple is smart enough to figure out what's best for them and for a hybrid iMac AMD would be way cheaper and better in my opinion.

The magnets holding protective glass are likely intended for a portable iMac. I expect they can be strong enough for the purpose. Apple has a lot of experience with magnetic catches and the like by now. There was just no reason to identify them as part of the second patent.

One wonders where the prototypes are produced. The chinese sources are not to be trusted for such test products. Apple is certainly going down the path of touch. They have uncovered a fundamental connection to mind/body that bridges the barrier of high tech digital to human analog users. "Intimate" does not quite capture the connection. It may even reach back to the chimp level of our development.

While I can see, and have given serious thought to a Mac with an Apple ARM chip inside, I think that Apple would be nuts to go with AMD. Even if AMD does come out with a hybrid, they have two problems that I believe would keep Apple from going with them.

The first is that they're too small. Because of that, they had to sell their fabs, or at least a large part of them, and I think that they will divest themselves of the rest in the future. Because of this, I can't see Apple being interested in AMD. One of the biggest problems Apple had with Motorola, Freescale, and even IBM, was their small, non industry leading fab capacity. As a result, Apple had trouble getting the number of chips it needed, and had problems getting these manufacturers to move quickly on the R&D front.

I don't see Apple ever wanting to return to that senario again.

The other major problem for them is that despite some good chips in a couple of areas, it looks as though AMD will never be a challenge to Intel again. Indeed, they're falling further behind. They haven't yet moved to 32nm, while Intel is moving to 22nm. That's just one area of problems. As we can see with the new iMacs, Apple is now providing upgrades that have the computing power of a single chip Mac Pro. My thoughts about that are that they may be thinking of dropping the single chip Mac Pro, or the entire line (I hope not as I've got one). So they won't want industry trailing designs. It's also why we see the rumors of Intel fabbing Apple's "A" series of SoC's. It would make sense for both companies.

There is no way to know whether any hybrid chip AMD comes out with will be successful. I can't see Apple hoping or depending on that. While it would be more complex to have an "A" series chip in an Apple computer along with an x86, it would likely be a more reliable design that would be at least a year, or more, earlier to market. The A5 is supposed to cost Apple $25, from best estimations. That cost, along with the cheap additional components might raise the price of a computer by $50-$75. Not a bad compromise, at least, not in the beginning.

As far as Apple's talks with AMD go, it could likely have been about Apple's current move toward using AMD's line of gpu's over Nvidia's, nothing more.

I would not be happy to see Apple moving to AMD as their CPU supplier.

It is nice to see this data come out. I have no doubt that such a hybrid system was in the works for a long time. It is clear Apple's strategy has been very long term from the time when Jobs returned. I am always surprised when I realize sources assume the iOS Mac systems will remain separate. Given the way computers are made and how they work, it would make no sense to a centralized company like Apple to keep them this way. The trick for Apple is figuring out exactly what the mission of a system is that compellingly combines the strengths of iPad and Mac. It is worth noting that no other company would be able to do this R&D because of the separation of hardware and OS companies, and also because of the Windows/Android divide. It will be interesting to see what happens...

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