NYT: Apple A4 chip offers modest gains, loses PA Semi staff
The Apple A4 chip powering the company’s new iPad tablet is underwhelming some chip industry experts, according to a New York Times report. “I don’t see anything that looks that compelling,” said Linley Gwennap, a chip analyst at the Linley Group. “It doesn’t seem like something all that new, and, if it is, they are not getting far with it.” The A4, its first custom effort, is said to differ only slightly from competing chips from Nvidia and Qualcomm, offering similar performance, and is likely manufactured by Samsung using common industry designs with small tweaks from Apple. The report also states that while Apple bought the 150-employee P.A. Semi in 2008 with hopes of designing its own high-efficiency, low-power chips, the company has since lost at least one key member of that team. According to records on the job networking site LinkedIn, at least “half a dozen” P.A. Semi engineers have left Apple for San Jose-based Agnilux, a start-up co-founded by former P.A. system architect Mark Hayter. The report cites two people with knowledge of both companies as saying that some of the P.A. Semi engineers left Apple only a few months after the acquisition due to the unattractive price of stock grants offered by the company.
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