A rare, insider account of the chip that made the iPad
In December 2009, I profiled a CPU designer in Austin, Texas – Intrinsity – who had transformed a standard cellphone chip (the Cortex A8) into a blazing fast chip for the emerging smartphone market, which Intrinsity called "Hummingbird."
The rumors at the time were that Apple was interested in using Hummingbird for their next generation iPhone.
Not only did Apple do so in their iPhone 4 (Hummingbird was renamed Apple's A4 chip), but the chip I wrote about also wound up powering one of the most transformative technologies of the early 21st century, Apple's first-generation (2010) iPad.
Within months, Apple bought Intrinsity. (I covered that too.) And because Apple has shrouded their now-subsidiary in such secrecy, no one has since been given the access to the chip and its engineers and designers that I enjoyed in 2009 when I wrote this article.