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Apple has an Architecture License with ARM. Basically the broadest license that ARMS sells. If you didn't know this, ARM was founded as a joint venture between Apple and Acorn. Their history goes back to the day the company was created. (ARM Chips powered the first PDA, the newton.)

Your assertion that their license will not permit them to alter the architecture is wrong. This is true of the vast majority of ARM licenses, but not Apple's.

They can take the ARM ISA and extend it in any way they want, and they can take ARM cores and adjust them, or design their own-- they have already done all of this (though to a small degree, not enough to be called a "new ISA".)




> Your assertion that their license will not permit them to alter the architecture is wrong. This is true of the vast majority of ARM licenses, but not Apple's.

> They can take the ARM ISA and extend it in any way they want, and they can take ARM cores and adjust them, or design their own-- they have already done all of this (though to a small degree, not enough to be called a "new ISA".)

What is your source for this? As far as I know ARM do not permit modification of the designs they sell or alterations to the architecture. After all allowing such things could lead to the errosion of their business (e.g. by letting apple slowly slide to a non ARM architecture).


Apple does not use ARM designs, they use certain principles present in the ARM architecture and the ISA.

Wikipedia:

"Companies can also obtain an ARM architectural licence for designing their own CPU cores using the ARM instruction sets. These cores must comply fully with the ARM architecture."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ARM_architecture#Licensing


That's about the best description I could find, too. It all boils down to what 'comply fully' means.

Given the lego-like structure of the ARM instruction set (the 32-bit variant), with zillions of extensions (Jazelle, DSP instructions, Neon, Thumb, Thumb-2, various revisions of vector floating point instructions) and explicit support for "coprocessors" (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ARM_architecture#Coprocessors), I suspect (based on common sense and nothing else) that the license allows expanding the instruction set and dropping whole modules.

But as I said elsewhere: concrete proof for that is lacking.


Which do you think makes more business sense. Allow a highly profitable and influential customer to gradually move away from your product over a period of many years or just force them to leave immediately.


Apple engineers were heavily involved in the design of the ARM 610. I can imagine they are equally involved now.




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