Moorestown: The Future of the iPhone?

Ever since the announcement we've felt that the processor Apple wanted to use in its iPhone simply didn't exist; what it wanted was a low cost, low power x86 processor in order to maintain a unified software stack across the entire Apple product line.

As much as we'd like Menlow (Silverthorne platform) to be the processor to enable even higher performance iPhone-like devices, it is its highly integrated successor, Moorestown, that will really be in devices like future iPhones.

Moorestown is still built on a 45nm process but integrates a memory controller, video encode/decode engine and graphics onto a single chip. Intel positions Moorestown as a two chip solution: one being the main processor/graphics core, the other being used for I/O:

Moorestown should reduce overall package size by 50%, reduce power by half and idle power down by a factor of 10x. Intel didn't clarify any of the statements on power consumption, so your guess is as good as ours as to how.

Despite being released in the 2009/2010 timeframe, Intel claims that Moorestown will use a 45nm core even though Intel will begin its move to 32nm in 2009. The volumes of such a low cost, highly integrated processor are likely too high to chance on a new manufacturing process that early in the game, making the 45nm choice a sensible one.

Intel, in its most forward-looking demo of the show, demonstrated the type of device that Moorestown could be used in:

What you're looking at is effectively a really long and narrow iPhone. Intel only had an animated video of how the device would function, and Anand had a mockup of the device but nothing functional. The tremendous similarity to Apple's iPhone is obviously deliberate, as these highly integrated x86 cores from AMD and Intel are most definitely targeted at devices like that.

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  • Sunrise089 - Thursday, September 20, 2007 - link

    So I guess Anand is referring to himself in the third person now? Reply
  • Martimus - Thursday, September 20, 2007 - link

    It is always nice to hear about what is coming up. Thanks for keeping us up to date, these are some interesting articles. Reply
  • psychobriggsy - Wednesday, September 19, 2007 - link

    Apple's perfectly happy with using ARM SoCs that are here now, are very low power consuming, and allow them to sell a product now (and for the past 6 years). A product with an incredibly tiny motherboard.

    It's not like ARM is standing still either when it comes to CPU power, and the Intel side of things will be sacrificing CPU power to get down to that level of power consumption. The vast number of ARM based SoCs will always mean that Apple can select the best option for their devices as well, and I don't see x86 challenging ARM anytime soon - all the systems that run on ARM now, well, clearly have an ARM toolchain set up. It might stop some products migrating to ARM from x86 however.
    Reply
  • Doormat - Wednesday, September 19, 2007 - link

    The integrated video encode/decode is a nice touch - being able to decode H264 is great, but being able to encode it on the fly means you have a portable video camera/video phone in your pocket. And streaming H264 over a 3G network is fesiable. Reply
  • amdsupport - Wednesday, September 19, 2007 - link

    that split touchscreen keyboard seems to solve a major gripe people have with the iphone. It looks like they might create another gripe though if it were to be that long...just doesn't seem pocket worthy. Reply
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