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Apple can’t serve hot chips


Posted by Greg Mills

Mexican Restaurants serve hot taco chips with salsa. Apple can’t do that, serving “hot chips” in iPhone or iPad could result in very short life spans for such devices. Warranty and product recall nightmares must be avoided at all costs. Apple has a pretty good reputation for sturdy products and shaking out product quality problems early.

The A5 Apple chip is expected to be used in the next iPhone. The A5 chip, a Samsung private label product, made exclusively for Apple, is 45 nanometers with two cores. The next generation, the A6 chip might be half the size, down to 28 nanometers with 2 to 4 cores. These Apple designed ARM chips, according to rumors may also go in MacBook Air and MacBook Pro, someday soon. Apple keeps Intel on their toes, so that makes sense. Apple is tending to grow vertically lately, manufacturing their own parts under private label contracts.

Rumors are that Apple is punishing Samsung for patent infringement not only in court, but by also taking chip manufacturing business away. That makes sense, Steve Jobs famously has severely punished suppliers who don’t follow Apple’s rules or leak information too soon.

Heat is always a problem in electronic devices when you cram so much into such tight spaces. Venting the hot air opens the device up to damage by water getting in. There is sort of a paradox, the smaller the chip less power you use, but the more sensitive the chip is to heating up.

The newer, 28-nanometer upgraded manufacturing process may reduce power consumption by up to 50%, but the chip has such tiny detail in its traces, it is more prone to defects and damage from heat. Heat sinks, fans and even fluid cooling systems are sometimes required to cool those hot microprocessors down. With that background, rumors coming out of China seem plausible.

The rumors are coming out from multiple sources, that can all be traced back to a Chinese web site, which claims the newest version of Apple’s microprocessor, slated for use in the next major revision of iPhone and iPad has a heat problem. The Chinese web site is

They claim the normal summer release date of the next iPhone (no matter what you call it) was pushed back till fall due the overheating problem. This has not been confirmed but is plausible. For more on this, see:

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