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Why Steve Jobs Shunned Intel Chips For iPhone, iPad?

Steve Jobs did want to use Intel's x86 design in the iPhone and iPad according to Walter Isaacson's biography of the man himself. But Jobs, who moved Apple away from the PowerPC architecture to Intel's in 2005, simply wasn't happy with the way Intel did business.

He is quoted as saying "There were two reasons we didn't go with them. One was that they [Intel] are just really slow. They're like a steamship, not very flexible. We're used to going pretty fast. Second is that we just didn't want to teach them everything, which they could go and sell to our competitors."

He added that Apple wanted to help intel but they didn't listen much. In the end, Apple purchased P.A. Semi and Intrinsity and embraced UK-based ARM architecture for its A4 and A5 system on chips.

Apple adopting ARM chipsets for the iPhone and the iPad proved to be a watershed moment, one which forced Intel to change the focus from being a pure performance beast towards power consumption, something the company always considered as a secondary worry.

Thanks partly to Apple, ARM is now a more formidable opponent to Intel than AMD, and is on the verge of rivalling the company in more traditional markets like servers and desktops.

Désiré Athow
Contributor

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.