Friday, April 08, 2005

iPod shuffle's cool is more than skin deep

In a previous article about the iPod shuffle, we reported IDC's analysis of the iPod shuffle, which stated that the manufacturing cost of the 512 MB unit is likely around $60.

iSuppli has done a new analysis which states the bill of materials cost is $43.21 and total manufacturing cost is only $45, significantly lower than its competitor the Rio Forge Sport. The analysis goes on to say:
iSuppli's teardown of the iPod Shuffle revealed the product achieves its compact size partly through a highly-dense design that places components extremely close together. The density of the iPod Shuffle design is high compared to the Rio Forge Sport, or even in comparison with the other dozens of other handheld devices. The iPod Shuffle also makes use of ultra-thin chip-scale packaged semiconductors, the first time iSuppli's Teardown Analysis service has actually seen these advanced devices inside a piece of electronic equipment.

For the iPod Shuffle, cool is more than skin deep. The elegance of the product extends to its marketing, pricing-and its design. For Rio and others competing in the fast-growing MP3 market, Apple is showing the way to cool.
However, Apple's own statements contradict iSuppli's cost analysis, and claim the margin on the iPod shuffle is around 20% or less.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

G5 970 2.0 GHz (130 nm) can "exceed 100 Watts"

In a recently posted document titled Improving BGA to PCB Thermo-Mechanical Integrity, IBM describes some of the technologies used to deal with the high heat density of the older 130 nm G5. In the article IBM states that the power output of a 2 GHz G5 970 can "exceed 100 Watts". This number supports our prediction last year that a 1.8 GHz G5 970 would put out approximately 90-100 Watts maximum, which is significantly higher than its 51 Watt "typical" rating. We also know that the 90 nm 2.5 GHz G5 970FX has a similar typical power rating, at 50 Watts, and may also have a similar maximum power output:

2.0 GHz G5 970 typical: ?
1.8 GHz G5 970 typical: 51 Watts
2.5 GHz G5 970FX typical: 50 Watts

2.0 GHz G5 970 max: >100 Watts
1.8 GHz G5 970 max: Probably ~90 Watts
2.5 GHz G5 970FX max: Probably ~90 Watts

However, the 2.5 GHz G5 970FX came out last year, as did those power specifications. As we've mentioned before, we know from Apple's Xserve page that the current 2.3 GHz G5 970FX puts out only 55 Watts max. Clearly there have been significant improvements in the G5 970FX's power utilization. A current 2.5 GHz chip might put out less than 65 Watts, which would likely make a 2.5 GHz dual-core G5 970MP feasible right now. It's also clear that IBM could release higher clocked single-core chips right now too. One can only hope that perhaps IBM's 90 nm process has continued to improve since those 2.3 GHz 970FX power specs were published, enough so that dual-core chips at significantly higher than 2.5 GHz are also feasible.

And of course, we're still waiting to see if IBM can release a mobile G5 with suitable power specs this year as well.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Tiger 8A428 on display at FOSE

Tiger build 8A428, which was recently declared gold master, is now on display at FOSE.

The official Tiger release must be imminent...

New eMac "Q87" with Tiger likely coming soon

AppleInsider reported today that "Q87" is coming. It is described as "an update to an existing desktop computer that the company targets at both the consumer and education markets".

While AI postulates that it likely is the Mac mini with Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger, we think it's probably an updated eMac. Think Secret states that the Mac mini is Q88, and Q86 is the current eMac. Thus from the numbering system, it sounds like that Q87 is in fact a new eMac and not a Mac mini. A new eMac is expected anyway, since it has already been 51 weeks since the last eMac revision.

The new eMac will likely also ship with Tiger, given that Tiger has already been declared gold master.