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Apple was the company, in 1990, which put the money up for the formation of ARM. Acorn put up the founding staff and the technology. Apple's thinking then was that ARM would power the Newton, which would revolutionise the world. Well we know what happened with the Newton. Looking at it now the main thing that strikes me is how enormous it was. And I can't forget a comment made by a colleague that the handwriting recognition software on the Newton was the most efficient cache-flushing algorithm known to man. But anyway, my point is that Apple had an associate from ARM since the first. And now there is a rumour that Apple has perhaps purchased an architecture licence from ARM, meaning that it can implement its own variant of the microarchitecture. The evidence is sketchy so far:

[Talking about DEC who implemented StrongARM based on an architectural license] And who was the engineer that had led the Digital Equipment team that developed StrongARM under an architectural license? It was Dan Dobberpuhl, subsequently CEO of Palo Alto Semiconductor Inc. With the recent acquisition of P.A. Semi by Apple, Dobberpuhl has become an Apple employee. And perhaps now, with ARM's disclosure, we are beginning to see why Apple was interested in Dobberpuhl and his capable design team.
[The Apple rumour mill is running hard also]. And this is supposedly the motivation:
The Apple iPhone is thought to have as many as five ARM processor cores inside it, but those processor cores are contained in multiple chips from several different chip vendors. Wouldn't that be perfect for rationalizing into a multicore ARM architecture, if Apple chose to go down that route?
Certainly there is merit in this - it is what Nokia have done with their communicator, which, believe it or not, used to have a 386 CPU and an ARM. The 386 was for keeping your hand warm. Most Bluetooth and WiFi devices include an ARM core. The iPhone is ARM11-based, not the latest thing but still pretty nifty. Sadly, if Apple do produce an amazing new microarchitecture, it's unlikely we will see it in anything other than an Apple product. On the plus side, as StrongARM vanished, the prize for building a high performance ARM chip, well out in front of the industry, has not been awarded for years.

Commodore 64 Motherboard "Commodore International have announced the release of their newest product, the Commodore 64 (C64). The new player in the home computing market is based on the 8-bit MOS Technology 6510 running at the incredible speed of 1MHz. It contains 64KB of memory and runs Commodore Basic version 2.0. Graphics are provided by the highly advanced 16-colour VIC-II (Video Interface Chip II) and sound though the 3-channel SID (Sound Interface Device) chip. The introductory price for the C64 is US$595 although there are rumours that the production cost is only US$135 providing Commodore a profit margin of over 75%!" 17 Million units sold. Peak production of 400,000 a month. Production cost eventually dropped to ~US$25. Best-selling single computer model ever. What's the right machine for this time?

Many years ago while at ARM I remember then CEO Robin Saxby getting us involved in his vision to sell one ARM chip to everyone on the planet every year. At the time I think we were at a few million, so it seemed an impossible goal. Nevertheless it was an inspiring thought, particularly as we knew first hand what the technology had to offer. ARM is now shipping 90 processors per second globally, which is around 3 billion per annum. Given the rate of growth in ARM's volumes, this is getting very close to achieving his vision. Part of the change in recent years has been a larger focus on lower-end micros. Luminary Micro didn't exist four years ago but now have a range of 134 ARM micros available, several priced at US$1. Other existing players such as ST Microelectronics, Atmel and Philips (now NXP) have also made efforts in this area. It looks as if Mr Saxby's goal will be achieved in the next few years. I wonder how they are motivating the troups at ARM these days?

We are working on a high resolution network camera called 'Bigeye'. The intended use is for security and monitoring applications where full remote operation is required. Bigeye can operate either with power-over-Ethernet, or using WiFi, and can take high quality pictures at 3 Megapixels (about 10x the resolution of a a standard IP camera). Built in features include IR motion sensing, day / night operation, internal 1GB storage, 802.11b/g networking, GPIOs for control and sensing and expansion for things like temperature and tamper sensors.