Silicon Insider: Don't Forget the Microchip

Like me, Steve is a Valley boy who grew up in the world of chips. People forget that though he may have never been a true computer nut as a kid, he did spend a lot of his early years working at a chip and components retailer. And so, even if the kids who work for him don't understand the fundamental importance of integrated circuits and microprocessors, Jobs most certainly does. And if you really want to understand where Apple and the consumer electronics industry is going in the next five years, then you should try to answer the question: Why would Jobs and Apple jump from the IBM "Power" chip architecture to the Intel x86 to ARM and now back to the P.A. Semi "Power" architecture in less than 10 years? Is, as CNet speculated, Apple going into game consoles? Servers? Has the company spotted some fundamental weakness in Intel's Atom, or in the Samsung ARM chip it uses in the iPhone? Or is Steve going back to his old proprietary, closed system ways? Answer those questions and you may know the future of consumer electronics.

Oh, and the other news announcement? This one came out of the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom. There, scientists using an amazing material derived from graphite called graphene have not only managed to create the world's thinnest film, but then used X-rays to carve into it the features to create a transistor that is only one atom thick and 10 atoms wide. Better even than that, it appears that unlike silicon transistors, which tend to suffer weird quantum effects as they shrink, these new graphene transistors actually seem to perform better the smaller they get.

In a world that understands technology as well as it should (or thinks it does) this breakthrough (and the amazing number just like it that have occurred in chips in the past few years at the atomic level) would be front page news. If this new chip fabrication technology can indeed be perfected and scaled into large volume production, Moore's Law has just been given at least another 20 years. That means another human generation of continuous new innovation, life-changing products and ever-greater global average wealth.

That's news that should be on the front page, with millions taking to the streets to cheer … not buried in an unread wire service story.

But then, who cares about chips anymore?

Tad's Tab: http://www.netnebulo.hu/loituma_clock.swf is a strange site. The entire Web site is a flash video of a woman holding a clock and singing in gibberish (supposedly Finnish). The hands of the clock are leeks and move about randomly while more leeks parade along the bottom of the screen. Although odd, the flash video is also strangely addictive.

This is the opinion of the columnist, and in no way reflects the opinion of ABC News.

Page
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
  • |
  • 3
  • |
  • 4
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...