Apple to partner with Global Foundries in A-series chip production

New reports say that apple will add a second U.S. chip fabrication plant to its supply chain, partnering with California-based GlobalFoundries to produce A-series processors at a new $6 billion facility in upstate New York.

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The “floorplan” of Apple’s latest A-series processor, the A7. | Credit: Chipworks

Current Apple fab partner Samsung will help to ramp up production at the new facility, according to a report monday afternoon from the Albany Times Union. The site, in Malta, New York, was rumored to be in the running for a slot in Apple’s supply chain late last year.

Logistical details of the arrangement between Apple, Samsung, and Global Foundries are not known, and a GlobalFoundries spokesman declined to comment when asked by the Times Union. Samsung is currently the sole supplier of A-series processors for Apple, fabricating the chips at a plant in Austin, Texas. 

Many of the earlier rumors swirling around the Malta deal pegged Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), rather than Global Foundries, as Apple’s partner. At the time, the venture was thought to go by the codename “Project Azalea.”

As late as last month, whispers that Samsung had lost as much as half of the contract for Apple’s purported next-generation “A8” processor to TSMC were circulating from sources in Samsung’s home turf of South Korea. It is possible, though unlikely, that both Samsung and TSMC could be involved in the New York deal.

Steve Jobs’s Childhood House gains Landmark Status

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Image Credit: appleinsider.com

Last Monday evening the Los Altos Historical Commission was unanimous in its assent to designate the house that Steve Jobs grew up in, a landmark. This has quite some history behind it, as it was the site which produced the first batch of 100 Apple I computers by the “two Steves” (Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak) as well as Job’s.  50 were then sold to a local retailer and the balance going to other members of the Homebrew Computer Club, an early microcomputer enthusiast’s group of which the two Steves were a part. Apple moved to Cupertino nine months later.

This house was the beginning of an era so huge that it is no wonder it is being honored with landmark status. “Steve Jobs is considered a genius who blended technology and creativity to invent and market a product which dramatically changed many industries. His influence is expected to be felt by multiple generations forthcoming,” wrote Commissioner Sapna Marfatia. These words couldn’t be more true and Steve Jobs will forever be remembered now more so than ever because of this defining moment.

MacBook Pro’s gain PCIe Flash Storage

One of the most overlooked new features of the new Macbook Pro Retina display lineup is their new storage. This year apple has boosted their macbooks with something called Peripheral Component Interconnect express, or PCIe for short, flash storage

Flash storage has always been an incredible leap from the traditional Hard Drive as flash features nonmoving parts – ensuring faster read and write speeds as well as faster boot up times.

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AMD Hawaii GPU 14 Event

AMD revealed a ton of new gaming technologies at its GPU14 tech day.

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Credit: http://www.tomshardware.com/gallery/amd-radeon-r9-290x,0101-402744-0-2-3-1-jpg-.html

Several days ago in Hawaii, AMD unveiled the Radeon R9 290X, R9 290, R9 280X, R9 270X, R7 260X and R7 250 graphics cards. AMD also introduced the world to Mantle and AMD TrueAudio technology, the latest innovations that leverage the GPU for improving audio and performance for compatible games.

“The AMD Radeon R9 and R7 Series graphics cards are new GPUs for a new era in gaming,” said Matt Skynner, corporate vice president and general manager, Graphics Business Unit, AMD. “This era is shaped by ultra-resolution gaming and an exciting new generation of highly-anticipated games like Battlefield 4. But it’s also an era shaped in a very powerful way by our own Unified Gaming Strategy; we’ve teamed up with the world’s top game developers to establish a comprehensive portfolio of games that you can maximize to their full potential only with AMD Radeon graphics.”

Mantle

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Credit: http://www.tomshardware.com/gallery/mantle,0101-402636-0-2-3-1-jpg-.html

With Mantle, games will be empowered with the ability to speak the native language of the Graphics Core Next architecture, presenting a deeper level of hardware optimization. Mantle also assists game developers on multiple platforms by leveraging the commonalities between GCN-powered PCs and consoles for a simple game development process. The first game to take advantage of Mantle will be Battlefield 4.

TrueAudio

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Credit: http://www.tomshardware.com/gallery/c459a8c2-3b4b-46b1-8b06-2d9ed9303757,0101-402745-0-2-3-1-jpg-.html

AMD TrueAudio technology empowers game developers with a programmable audio pipeline on the GPU. Enabled games can feature more realistic environmental dynamics, sound effects, and directional audio. Upcoming games to support TrueAudio include THIEF and Lichdom.

Multi-Display

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Credit: http://www.tomshardware.com/gallery/787cabd8-93b4-46de-9cea-e527a4171dbb,0101-402746-0-2-3-1-jpg-.html

AMD Radeon R9 and R7 Series graphics cards support gaming on UltraHD (3840×2160) displays, including support for non-tiled 2160p60 displays with a future Catalyst driver release. Of course, AMD Eyefinity multi-display technology will be in the R9 and R7 Series graphics cards

Gaming Evolved App with Raptr

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Credit: http://www.tomshardware.com/gallery/787cabd8-93b4-46de-9cea-e527a4171dbb,0101-402746-0-2-3-1-jpg-.html

AMD has partnered with Raptr to release the AMD Gaming Evolved App, a downloadable desktop client designed to make “PC gaming as simple as consoles”. This app promises to help AMD customers get the most out of their gaming riggs by suggesting customized optimal game settings. Users can also earn rewards by playing supported PC games, broadcast live gameplay via the Twitch service, take in-game screenshots, browse the internet and chat with friends.

Camera in iOS 7

 

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Everyone loves taking pictures. With iOS 7, Apple has attempted to improve the picture and video taking experience with a completely redesigned Camera app.

Apple has included several new features in the revamped camera app and has kept old favorites. Returning features include, panorama, flash control, and hdr. New features include square mode, which allows the user to take instagram style photos. iPhone 5s owners will be able to experience other new features such as True Tone Flash, Burst Mode, Auto Image Stabilization, and Slow Motion Video.  

In addition to the new features, Apple has changed the interface in the new camera app. 

All in all, I think the users will enjoy the new features as well as the re-imagined interface.

Control Center in iOS 7

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Control Center is a brand new feature in Apple’s new mobile operating system, iOS 7. Control Center is all about efficiency. It has all the features that are used on a day to day basis just a swipe away. The best thing about control center is its interface is very accessible. One swipe up from the bottom of the screen and Control Center’s simple yet effective layout is presented.

Features from the settings app include: Airplane mode, wifi, bluetooth, do not disturb, lock orientation, as well as brightness. I find these to be quite useful. This is because I am frequently adjusting the brightness, turning on bluetooth, and using wifi. Prior, I would always have to open up the settings app to access these features but now I have them all in one convenient spot.

Additional features include: airdrop, airplay, sound controls, music controls, and four buttons that activate the camera flash, the clock app, the calculator app, and the camera app.

All in all, I am quite pleased with Apple’s inclusion of Control Center. It is quite simple and time conserving, yet intuitive at the same time.

iTunes Radio released with iOS 7

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Released with Apple’s newest version of iOS, iTunes Radio is pandora-like alternative built directly into iOS. iTunes Radio is one of the many new features in Apples newest mobile OS, iOS 7. It has the option to use one of more than 250 stations with genres and music handpicked by iTunes, or users can create their own stations based on their favorite music. 

Radio stations are stored in the cloud, allowing users to create radio stations on one device and then listen to them on another one. Users can listen to iTunes Radio completely free. However, and ad-free option also exists, for iTunes Match users ($25USD/year) . iTunes radio supports all iOS devices, Macs and PC’s via the Music app in iOS or iTunes on a Mac pr PC. 

iTunes radio comes with many pre-made stations. These include: iTunes Top 100, 3 of a Kind, If You Like, as well as many genre-specific stations. iTunes Top 100 features the 100 most popular songs on iTunes of any genre. 3 of a Kind stations start with three popular artists of the same genre, then move on to mix in more kinds of music with a similar vibe. If your ‘Like’ stations play today’s top artists and mix in songs from similar artists or styles to allow the user to discover new music that they enjoy.  

Overall I feel that iTunes Radio will be a popular aspect of iOS 7, undoubtably attracting fans of Pandora Radio, Spotify, and other such online radio stations. iTunes radio is radio re-imagined.