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Test driving the Audi ERL tech of tomorrow, today

This week, we paid a visit to Audi's Electronics Research Laboratory (ERL) in northern California. Rather, it paid a visit to us, bringing along its Audi Urban Intelligence Assist demo vehicle to San Francisco and taking me for a spin.

The Audi Urban Intelligence Assist (AUIA) vehicle is, essentially, an Audi A6 3.0T that has been outfitted as a test bed for a variety of technologies being developed by Audi ERL and its partners at the University of California at Berkeley, the University of California at San Diego, and the Center for Advanced Transportation Technologies at USC. During … Read more

MacBook Pro gets Intel's Haswell

Apple has updated its MacBook Pros with the latest chips from Intel -- that would be Haswell and Crystalwell.

Both the 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro will pack a Core i5 and/or i7 Haswell CPU.

The quad-core 15-incher will add Intel's Crystalwell graphics silicon, while the 13-incher will use Intel's Iris graphics.

Apple claims Iris Pro and Crystalwell (the eDRAM component) provides standalone "discrete" graphics chip-level performance.

Generally, Haswell means faster graphics and longer battery life. Apple is claiming 9 hours of "wireless web" battery life for the 13-inch and 8 hours for … Read more

Apple's A7 chip: Small space, plenty of power

What's behind the power of the new A7 chip in Apple's iPhone 5S? A peek inside its electronic innards courtesy of iFixit reveals one secret.

Unveiling the results of its A7 teardown on Tuesday, iFixit got the inside scoop on the chip thanks to some electron microscope scanning from Chipworks. The teardown uncovered more than 1 billion transistors built into the processor.

But even further, Chipworks found that the transistors are more tightly packed. The distance between each transistor in the A7 is 114 nanometers, an advancement over the A6's 123 nanometer gap. The improvement is possible … Read more

Chatter surfaces about 'fast' Apple A7 chip for iPhone 5S

A tweet from a Fox News reporter claims that new Apple silicon rumored to land in the iPhone 5S is "very fast," while an Apple-centric blog says it will be 64-bit -- echoing a previous rumor.

Clayton Morris tweeted Sunday that Apple's next-generation A7 chip (the A6 currently powers the iPhone 5 and iPad 4) "is running at about 31% faster than A6. I'm hearing it's very fast."

Then 9to5Mac, which cited the tweet, added a bit of flavor, claiming that some A7 prototypes are 64-bit.

The 64-bit A7 speculation first popped upRead more

Redesigned iPad Mini may arrive before Retina: DisplaySearch

A slimmer iPad Mini may arrive before the Retina version, according to a report Tuesday from NPD DisplaySearch. A 9.7-inch iPad with a future A7 processor may also be on the way.

The next Mini, due in the second half sometime, will sport a 1,024x768 display (like the current version) but get a processor upgrade to the A6 from the A5 that's in the Mini today, said NPD DisplaySearch in blog post today.

"The new iPad mini will continue to use a 7.9-inch display with a 1024×768 resolution, but it will use the … Read more

Intel's CEO coy about hinting at Apple deal

Intel's CEO seemed to throw cold water on a chip deal with Apple in Tuesday's earnings conference call -- though it really depends on how you read his comments.

When asked about making processors based on the ARM design -- such as Apple's A series chips -- Paul Otellini was quick to dismiss the idea.

"No," was the short answer from Otellini. The longer answer stipulated "ground rules" where Intel "would not enable a chip competitor."

But Otellini did seem to leave an opening for his successor, depending how you choose … Read more

Apple probably won't tap Intel until 2015: Piper Jaffray

Don't hold your breath for Intel chips inside Apple iPads or iPhones.

Piper Jaffray analyst Gus Richard doesn't see it happening until 2015.

"We believe Apple could add roughly $5B-$6B/yr in revenue for Intel but is unlikely to be a foundry customer this year or next," said Richard, who follows Intel closely, in a research note today.

Five to six billion dollars in added revenue is nothing to sniff at in light of all the smartphone and tablet chip business now going to Intel rivals like Qualcomm, Nvidia, and Samsung.

But he added that … Read more

Heads up Apple, here comes Samsung's 8-core chip

Think Apple's A6 chip packs a punch? It appears to have some stiff competition from Samsung's Exynos 5 Octa, slated for commercial production in the second quarter, the company announced today.

Featured in Samsung's Galaxy S4, Octa means it integrates a whopping eight CPU cores. Apple's A6 has two, by comparison.

While a raw core count comparison may be too simplistic, Samsung's chip, on paper, should make Apple worry -- especially since Samsung is simultaneously manufacturing the Exynos chip and Apple's A6.

The Exynos 5 Octa uses technology from chip designer ARM called big.LITTLE. … Read more

Slim chance of Apple-Intel chip deal anytime soon, analysts say

Intel merrily building processors for Apple's iPhone and iPad is a nice thought. So, hold on to that thought for at least a couple of years.

Until then, Samsung's in the way. That chipmaking giant has a factory in Austin, Texas, for building iPhone and iPad processors -- now and well into the future.

And Samsung seems to be doing a pretty good job. Courtroom wrangling alone won't necessarily drive an immediate wedge between the two companies if Samsung delivers the goods, which it has done pretty consistently.

Then there's the other big obstacle to an Intel deal: … Read more

Apple to move A6X production from Samsung to TSMC -- report

Apple's A6X processor, which is found in the company's fourth-generation iPad, might soon see its producer switched from Samsung to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company.

Apple has agreed with TSMC to initiate trial production of its A6X processor during the first quarter, Taiwan-based Commercial Times is reporting, according to the AFP. The trial period could decide whether TSMC will be given the entire A6X order.

Samsung, Apple's arch-rival in the mobile market, is currently producing the company's A6X processor. However, with their legal and competitive struggles increasingly weighing on their business relationship, reports have suggested that Apple … Read more