Apple has apparently acquired a little known design house called Intrinsity which specialises in power efficient architectures based on ARM's technology, along the lines of PA Semi, another company that the Cupertino-based firm purchased two years ago for $278 million.
EDN broke the news that Intrinsity might have provided the CPU technology for the iPad A4 Cortex-based chip although some are quick to metintion that it would take more than a few months to come up with something as complex.
Macrumours did the legwork though to find out that the company worked with Samsung previously on an enhanced version of the Cortex A8 chip called Hummingbird which was supposed to take on Qualcomm's omnipresent Snapdragon silicon, the same that's found in most recent Android phones.
According to Wikipedia, Intrinsity is formed from the ashes of Exponential Technology which back in 1996, when Apple was in a terrible mess, came forward and proposed a new PowerPC chip which was supposed to work 33 percent faster than then cutting edge designs (ed : that's a whopping 533MHz).
Things didn't worked out and Exponential closed one year later. Where things turn even more interesting is that there was a second team working on an x86 template which survived and became Intrinsity in 2000.
Surprisingly, it counts Samsung and AMD amongst two of its past customers and the fact that Intrinsity engineers has worked with ARM, MIPS and x86 architectures over the past 15 years gives them a special flavour.
There might also be another reason why Apple went for Intrinsity. A significant amount of PA Semiconductor's original design team left Apple either to join other companies or to start their own business.