The Apple M1 Mac processor ushers in a new era of Arm-based PCs. The company’s CEO is optimistic

The British chipmaker that dominates smartphones is now trying to fix the poor performance of PCs.

 

Arm’s Cortex-X1 chip design can be tweaked to improve performance, and this approach should be useful as Arm tries to expand its processor family to PCs.

 

 

For years, computer manufacturers have tried to sell PCs based on Arm processors, a family of energy-efficient ones that are used in smartphones.

 

However, compared to models running on Intel and AMD’s x86 chips, Arm-based PCs suffer from performance and software compatibility flaws.

Now the Apple M1 processors developed by Apple, a member of the Arm family, which are used in the new MacBook, change the idea of the Arm PC.

 

The M1 chips offer not only good battery life, like the Qualcomm Arm chips in some Windows laptops, but also good performance. At the same time, x86 PCs improved only gradually.

 

So it’s no surprise that Arm CEO Simon Segars has become more optimistic.

 

“We’re now starting to see real innovation happening in a market that hasn’t had a lot of innovation”, Segars said in an interview during the CES 2021 technology conference. “Every time there’s a gap that makes people question how we do it, it energizes innovation.”

iPhone maker Foxconn may save Chinese electric car startup Byton by investing $ 200 million

This could save a struggling electric car startup. It is reported that one of the main suppliers of components Apple is in talks to buy the financially struggling manufacturer of electric vehicles.

 

 

According to a Bloomberg News report that quoted “people familiar with the matter,” Foxconn Technology Group is in talks to invest $ 200 million in Chinese electric vehicle startup Byton Ltd.

 

The funding injection is expected to help Byton start production of its M-Byte electric vehicle by the first quarter of 2022. Although this information is not confirmed, and the sources are not named.

Byton is one of a host of emerging Chinese electric vehicle manufacturers that are looking to become key players in the globalized market. However, Byton did not achieve the same success as competitors BYD, NIO and Xpeng.

 

In July 2020, Byton had to suspend production of its first electric car, the M-Byte, the concept of which was introduced a few years earlier. He also had to lay off non-essential staff as he was unable to get funding.

 

Credit: bitonbyton M-Byte is the company’s first electric car, but its production has been suspended due to financial problems.

While Foxconn and Byton have not commented on this potential deal, if it goes through, it will undoubtedly be a reliable lifeline for the electric car maker struggling to bring its vision to life.

 

Foxconn currently also supplies components to other electric car manufacturers, and Tesla is one of them.

 

With recent reports that Apple is also developing its own electric car , it will be interesting to see if Foxconn uses its position as one of the iPhone makers ‘ key suppliers to help it with its automotive adventures.

Apple in 2021: moving forward and up

The tech giant, like all of us, will have to fight COVID-19.  But that’s only half the story.

 

 

Now that Apple’s iPhone has 5G and its Mac computers have M1 chips, what’s next?

 

Apple has spent the past few years making high-profile changes, such as promoting its services, with the $ 5-a-month Apple TV Plus; adding 5G to the iPhone 12; and its hit airpods wireless headphones, which cost $ 149.

 

In 2021, Apple will make changes that most of us won’t notice or care about, but they may be some of its most important steps. One example is that Apple plans to start using non-standard chips in more of its Macs, which will lead to thinner and probably more durable laptops.

Apple is also expected to introduce cheaper alternatives to its premium products. We already have an Apple Watch SE for $ 279, and there are rumors that the company will take a similar approach to the AirPods SE, which may have a design close to that of the well-tested noise-canceling headphones AirPods Pro for $ 249, but without additional services such as surround sound simulation.

 

“Our mission is to create products that play a meaningful role in people’s lives,” Apple CEO Tim cook said at one of the company’s live broadcasts in November. He said that by 2021, Apple will do even more.

Foxconn servers are encrypted: the redemption period is 21 days

On November 29, 2020, the Taiwanese manufacturer of electronic components Foxconn was attacked by an encryption virus: the attack resulted in the theft, encryption and deletion of files on the company’s servers in Mexico, in Ciudad Juarez, according to the BleepingComputer website.

 

 

The hacker group DoppelPaymer claimed responsibility for the cyberattack, demanding $ 34.7 million in bitcoins for the return of information and posting part of the Foxconn documents on its website to confirm its intentions: “Your files, backups and shadow copies are not available until you pay for the decryptor,” says a message window that POPs up on Foxconn servers. — If you do not make any contact within three business days after encryption, the first portion of your data will be published, and all the rest will remain inaccessible to you.”

 

DoppelPaymer in a message to the BleepingComputer website provided information that as a result of the attack on November 29, about 1200 company servers were encrypted, about 100 gigabytes of data in unencrypted data were stolen and about 20-20 terabytes in backups were deleted. In addition, the Foxconn segment in North America was encrypted, and this did not affect workstations.

Foxconn opened the CTBG MX plant in 2005, which was used to build and supply electronics throughout the Americas. At this time, the company’s website remains unavailable and displays an error message.

 

The ransom message contains a link to the page about Foxconn on the DoppelPaymer site, which can be accessed via a Tor-enabled browser, and the amount of the ransom is more than 1804 bitcoins, according to BleepingComputer: “this page and your decryption key will expire 21 days after your systems are infected,” this page says. “If you transmit this link or email address, the decryption key will be permanently deleted.”

 

The hacker group DoppelPaymer also encrypted a Windows 10 system in the network of the municipality of Florence, Alabama, in may of this year: the login of the city’s system administrator was used, as the KrebsOnSecurity site provided information at the time. Then, in June, the next DoppelPaymer attack blocked the city’s email service, according to its mayor, Steve Holt.

 

It appears that the same group simultaneously hacked the networks of four other institutions within an hour’s drive of Florence, including another municipality, KrebsOnSecurity reported at the time. DoppelPaymer first demanded 378 thousand dollars. in bitcoins, but a third-party cybersecurity firm hired by the municipality was able to negotiate a price reduction to $ 291,000. in bitcoins, krebsonsecurity reported.

Apple: new batterygate will make you fork out again

Apple is once again leading in terms of amounts paid under settlement agreements: 34 States, led by Arizona, Arkansas and Indiana, as well as the district of Columbia, sued for incorrect information provided to users about the practice of artificially reducing the performance of old iPhone models after standard updates to their operating system – the amount of compensation was $113 million…

 

 

There has been an investigation into the device slowdown scandal, and the crux of the lawsuit filed against Apple is that the company deliberately misleads its users about its updates, using complex technical explanations for battery management. It was also stated that all Apple’s actions were focused on directing users to form an opinion about the inevitability of purchasing a new iPhone model…

In March 2020, Apple already paid $ 500 million as part of the settlement of claims for slowing down the iPhone, but in that case completely refused to admit any violations – it was stated that this was necessary to improve battery performance.

 

The new agreement that has been adopted so far provides for obligations to users such as reporting on their battery status policy, as well as power management through explicit notifications. Initially, this was known from Apple itself back in 2018, but in practice it was difficult for the average user to make any independent power settings for the device, which were not obviously hidden deep in the bowels of other system settings.

“Big tech companies need to stop manipulating consumers and tell them the whole truth about their products and how they work,” says mark Brnovich, attorney General of the state of Arizona. — I seek to hold these high-tech Goliaths accountable if they hide the truth from their users.”

By the way, the first were the French regulators: back in February 2020, they collected $ 25 million from Apple.

Keep up with Apple: Microsoft has revealed its new Pluton processor (in collaboration with AMD, Intel and Qualcomm)

Microsoft has announced a “shared vision for the future of Windows PCs” with AMD, Intel, and Qualcomm – a new Microsoft Pluton processor with security features built directly into the core.

 

According to the developers, this processor with built-in security features is designed so that it can provide more complete integration of software and hardware of a computer running on the Windows operating system, thus blocking the possibility of cyber attacks in entire classes and directions.

 

Cut off a large number of potential targets of physical attacks, as well as a complication, even impossible at this period of development software options theft of user credentials and encryption keys, as well as a new level of control hardware and software integrity of the operating system and applications simplify updates through the cloud to Windows Update – this is an incomplete list of what was created by this processor.

By the way, the “from chip to cloud” protection technology was first implemented by Microsoft in Xbox and Azure Sphere.

 

Comment from Microsoft: “This revolutionary security processor structure will make it much harder for attackers to hide their actions on the operating system, improve the ability to repel physical attacks and prevent theft of credentials and encryption keys, and allow you to restore the system after software errors.”

The main difference between this development and the currently widely used TPM modules for secure storage of keys, system settings and parameters, and programs for integrity control is that the Pluton structure makes it impossible to attack the implementation of the connection between the CPU and the TPM block.

 

It is planned that new Windows computers based on the Pluton architecture will work in TPM emulation mode for some time to ensure compatibility (for existing TPM and API specifications).

 

A security processor such as Microsoft Pluton will be an integral component in the next releases of AMD, Intel, and Qualcomm, aiming to provide a new level of security for credentials, personal data, user IDs, and encryption keys. According to Microsoft, this information will not be deleted from Pluton even if you install malicious software or gain physical access to your computer.

Apple: three new computers on ARM

Apple has introduced three new devices with its new M1 processor, which is the first processor with a 5-nanometer technical process for desktop computers (two laptops and one nettop). Apple’s decision to abandon chips from third-party manufacturers has moved into the practical implementation phase.

 

 

 

That is, at this time, Apple has launched computers on its own microchips for the first time in its production activities: new ARM processors have appeared in MacBook Air , MacBook Pro 13 and Mac mini nettop laptops. All of them work on the M1 processor based on 5-nanometer technology (despite the fact that AMD currently stopped at 7-nanometer, and Intel – 14 – and 10-nanometer technological processes).

The decision to switch to chips of its own production was announced by the company in June 2020, despite several years of fairly successful work on processors from Intel.

 

The company’s new products with ARM processors are available on pre-order from November 2020. The new M1 processors, according to Apple, present a single system on a common microchip with eight main cores, a video subsystem and memory modules.

 

The processor chip also includes a T2 security chip and a Thunderbolt/USB4 I / o controller. In comparison with competitors-against the background of the 4-core Core i7, the new M1 is 3.5 times faster in terms of core performance and six times faster in terms of video card performance.

The announced energy efficiency of ARM processors in practice gave the new MacBook Air the ability to work up to 18 hours on a single charge in video viewing mode and up to 15 hours in Internet surfing mode. Externally, the laptop has not changed in comparison with the previous generation, but inside it now has no active cooling system – that is, it has become completely silent…

 

For the new MacBook Pro, 20 hours of video mode and 17 hours of Internet surfing are announced. Replacing the processor, according to Apple, increased its performance in General tasks by 2.8 times compared to the previous generation, and working with graphics is now five times faster, the cooling system remained active.

 

The design hasn’t changed in Mac mini either. The computer is available with an active cooler and a wide range of interfaces-HDMI 2.0, a pair of USB-C with support for USB 4 and Intel Thunderbolt 4, and the same number of USB-A 3.1 Gen 2. There is also Ethernet and a connector for speakers-headphones or speakers.

 

For the release of the Mac on the M1 chip, Apple has also prepared a new Mac OS 11 Bug Sur system, adapted for ARM processors with a completely redesigned iOS-style design. There is also a Rosetta 2 emulator for running new ARM programs written for computers with Intel processors. Mac OS 11 Bug Sur can Wake your PC from sleep mode in a second and use all the features of the new processor to increase productivity in programs – for example, the Safari browser is now twice as responsive. In addition, Apple has optimized all its Mac OS programs for ARM – not only those that come with the OS itself, but everything in General-Pages, Numbers, Keynote, GarageBand, etc. But the main thing is new universal applications that can easily run on both Intel processors and M1 without additional emulation. Mobile apps written for iOS and iPad OS also work without emulation on the new system.

Nvidia launches creation of new types of chips

Nvidia has decided to share its plans for developing its own strategy for the next few years, during which it aims to create a new type of chip designed for use in data centers.

 

The main breakthrough in the proposed technology is the independent execution of those functions that are currently involved through solutions created by Intel – NVIDIA’s main competitor.

 

 

This also applies to Intel chips that are used in video game graphics, but recently they also solve problems of artificial intelligence, even with image recognition.

 

Typically, the chips are installed in conjunction with Intel CPUs, which take over some of the computing, but NVIDIA wants more.

 

“Using artificial intelligence, the chips can detect hackers trying to break into the data center,” Manuvir Das, head of Nvidia’s enterprise computing division, explained at a briefing.

The chips will be:

– check network traffic for unusual patterns

– and strive to proactively block it.

 

This way, you don’t need a combination of chips for these functions.

 

According to the plan, models with limited functionality will be presented in a few months, and the full version should appear within two years. Some of the company’s customers, including Dell Technologies and Lenovo, plan to integrate them into their machines.

 

The new product will combine network technologies with artificial intelligence and computing power that the company receives from the purchase of Arm.

 

Meanwhile, in the consumer market, Nvidia notes “problems with demand for RTX 3080 and RTX 3090 video cards, and not with deliveries.” The shortage of devices will continue until the end of 2020 — the holidays will literally hit the capabilities of suppliers. The expected October 29 RTX 3070 is likely to suffer the same fate.

 

“The demand was much, much higher than we expected. And we expected a very large demand. Computer hardware retailers will confirm that they have not seen such a phenomenal demand for more than a decade. We are trying very hard. GPU production is on top, and product delivery is fantastic. Just the product is sold instantly. I am very grateful to customers for this, but I think that there really is a problem that needs to be solved. This is a real phenomenon,” said Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang.

5G networks: growth and prospects

Since 2019, many mobile operators around the world have predicted the development of 5G networks by leaps and bounds – only in reality, despite the brave start of the service, everything was not so rosy.

 

The most interesting thing is that the operators planned very large investments for various projects related to the development of fifth-generation networks, but many factors, including the coronavirus pandemic, made their own strict adjustments to their plans.

 

 

Even at the level of initial calculations for the payback of building networks of this level, it was clear that the return on investment would not be as fast as it was in the case of third – and even fourth-generation networks-then there were completely different initial conditions.

 

These include: the level of demand for network resources, the degree of development of the software environment, the prevalence among the population and companies of network needs – not only voice communication, of course, but also the first place in the needs of Internet access.

In addition, the equipment installed and functioning at this time, coupled with new trends regarding Huawei as one of the main developers of systems for 5th-generation networks, is far from meeting the initially stated indicators. A lot of videos on Youtube clearly demonstrates the fact that 5G at this time is not much faster than 4G, and users do not really feel any revolutionary difference, as promised by operators and developers.

 

Also, it is worth noting the fact that in reality, for critical systems for using fifth-generation networks, we can include such industries as smart city functions, telemedicine, and the like, but not ordinary mobile users, who will eventually pay for the change of infrastructure for enterprises and the public sector, which will become the main consumers (cloud gaming, I think, does not count)…

 

In any case, the actual full implementation of fifth-generation networks will begin only after the technical conditions of this standard are fully coordinated with existing standards that differ significantly in different countries of the world.

 

For example, in the US, this will happen (full network deployment) no earlier than 2022, after receiving all confirmations for the right to operate the 5G network…

Apple moves to 5-nanometer processor technology

In the fall of 2020, Apple plans to debug the full-scale industrial release of its A14 processors, which finally fully use the latest 5-nanometer technology (TSMC).

 

As part of the annual technology conference, the main details of both 5-and 3-nanometer processors were presented.

 

Based on the fact that Apple processors are manufactured only by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corporation (TSMC), which is paid very good money by Apple to ensure that their latest products (iPhone and iPad, with the addition of iMac in the near future) use only the most modern technologies developed by TSMC.

At the annual technology conference TSMC Technology Symposium, the announcement of production process optimization was presented, which is already beginning to draw a General idea of what can be expected from the new Apple processors.

 

In any case, the main criterion for the performance of new Apple processors will be their architecture. At the same time, a very large role in this case is assigned, among other things, to production processes, which help to get an idea of how complex, large and productive such processor chips can be, what their power consumption level is at the specified clock frequency parameters, and how fast they can work over a long period of time.

In the context of announcements presented on the site Anandtech.com it is already possible to get a rough idea of the chips expected from TSMC for Apple: in terms of 5-nanometer extensions, the processor for Apple A12 was made using 7-nanometer technology, and in the production of A13 processors for iPhone 11, an expanded upgraded version of the second generation is used.

We expect Apple to debug the full-scale release of A14 processors made using 5-nanometer technology in the fall of this year.

 

It is also expected to release iMac computers with their own chips, also based on 5-nanometer TSMC technology.

 

What is the difference between processors based on 5 nanometer technology from TSMC? The developer claims that the latest technological process will make it possible to place 80% more logic circuits on the same substrate area, as well as reduce power consumption by 30% at the same clock frequency and increase performance by 15%.

 

Most likely, given the specified parameters increase even these optimistic data by 5-15% within development release 2021 module N5P, you can expect at least increase performance by 5% while reducing energy consumption by 10-15%.

 

However, the real increase in transistor density, we do not see – that is, to increase one jump substantial productivity gains in the fall of 2021 will have to increase the area of the chip, which will increase the cost of products.

 

Prospects for the development of a 3-nanometer technology processors at this time, presented the possibility of increasing transistor density by 70%, which will give a real performance increase by about 70% and the growth speed by 10-15% reduced energy consumption by 25-30%…

 

So Apple, as always, goes its own way, investing in technology and the future.