Report: Apple in deal for powerful multimedia iPod chip | iLounge News


Report: Apple in deal for powerful multimedia iPod chip

According to a report by Silicon Valley Watcher, Apple has entered into an agreement with UK-based Alphamosaic to produce a powerful multimedia chip that could make its way into future iPod models.

Acquired last year by leading US chipmaker Broadcom, Alphamosaic developed the VC02 chip, which has been called the world’s most advanced mobile multimedia processor. It offers support for playback of 30 frame per second, VGA-quality video, and includes the ability to capture 8-megapixel digital still images. The chip uses a “VideoCore II processing engine” that supports new video and audio standards such as H.264 and aacPlus, each likely in a portable Apple-developed multimedia device. It also “excels in high-quality 3D graphics performance with the capability to support pixel shading and volumetric lighting with low power consumption, making it ideal for use in mobile gaming applications and comparable in performance to home consoles.”

The first VC02 chip is Broadcom’s BCM2702, which offers direct NTSC and PAL video output, realtime MPEG-4 video encoding for live recording of video, and support for digital rights management. Broadcom has also developed the BCM2705, which it describes as “the lowest power multimedia processor currently available for mobile phones,” that “for the first time in the industry, provides high-end video, gaming and music capabilities to mid-range feature phones” at a price point of around $30 per chip in small quantities. The BCM2705 drops support for direct TV video output and includes less memory than the BCM2702, both decisions made to reduce price and tailor features to midrange mobile phone buyers. The specific features and pricing of any iPod-specific version of the VC02 chip are currently unknown.

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Ok, everyone go crazy about how the video iPod is right around the corner now… c’mon, don’t be shy!  You know you wanna yell it out!

Posted by Jeff Hoppe on April 6, 2005 at 1:41 PM (CDT)


Note that just because the chip has the processing power to handle those example tasks doesn’t mean Apple NEEDS or intends to use ALL of those tasks.

Low power and faster processing are good for lots of things—maybe needed by Apple for no more than music playback and photo slideshows with new transitions.

So people shouldn’t take this as proof that Apple’s developing a 3.5” movie screen, nor as proof that they are putting an 8 megapixel camera in an Apple phone! All we can say is, “maybe.”

Apple’s real plan is probably somewhere in the middle. Something more than current iPods, but less than the wildest ideas. (Which, generally, sound cool but wouldn’t be very useful to most people.)

Posted by Nagromme on April 6, 2005 at 2:55 PM (CDT)


Nagromme - normally I find a lot to agree with in your comments, but on this one I’m going to have to disagree. This would be one of those chips you don’t bother incorporating unless you need precisely the features described (video playback, gaming features). There are cheaper, limited-purpose individual video chips out there, and cheaper gaming-specific chips out there. If the report is accurate, the selection of this chip says a lot about Apple’s general plans. Whether all of the features are enabled in any specific product is another question, but there’s no way Apple’s considering this chip just to add new photo transitions to an iPod photo. :-)

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz on April 6, 2005 at 3:29 PM (CDT)


I have to agree with Jeremy 100%. Apple wouldn’t be picking up this chip if they didn’t specifically intend to use it’s capabilities.

Now, with that said, I can see an 80GB iPod Video on the market (hopefully) in time for Xmas! :D

Posted by FallN on April 6, 2005 at 5:23 PM (CDT)


I’d buy an iPod camera…

There have been rumors of other companies being contracted to make games for Apple… is this the iPippin’s? :)

Posted by kainjow on April 6, 2005 at 7:55 PM (CDT)


anyone else getting slightly tired of Jobs contradicting himself?

Posted by dethbrakr on April 7, 2005 at 2:06 AM (CDT)


It’d be crazy for them to use this chip and then not take full advantage of its features. When was the last time Steve Jobs spoke out against the idea of a video iPod? I remember he used to speak about it frequently.

Posted by pctuk on April 7, 2005 at 3:25 AM (CDT)


Why do people want to watch movies on a 3.5” screen?!?!

Posted by PugRallye on April 7, 2005 at 6:06 AM (CDT)


I would love to see Apple enter the portable game market, but not on the iPod.  Just use the chip to create a new unit - like the PSP but with Apple inginuity and style.

Of course they can also use this chip to add functionality to the iPod.  I’m just not interested in any of these “do everything you want it to” devices, because they never seem to excell at anything.

Posted by pickme on April 7, 2005 at 11:59 AM (CDT)

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