Intel processors have been powering Apple laptops since 2005. So when the iPad debuted with microchips made by the UK-based ARM, it must have been a typically Jobsian design decision, right? Walter Isaacson's new book Steve Jobs gives the skinny on just why Apple decided to use ARM just a couple years after switching to Intel for their laptops.
There were two reasons we didn't go with them. One was that they [the company] 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, Jobs had said
Intel processors are not widely used in mobile devices because they tend to consume large amounts of power (no battery), but it turns out that didn't matter to Jobs because he initially pushed quite hard for the Intel chip inside the iPad.
The book revealed it was actually Tony Fadell, a senior vice president at Apple, who pushed hard for the ARM designed parts. He even threatened to resign if Jobs went with the Intel processors.
Additionally, the book tells that Jobs had more to say about Intel. He reportedly didn't think much of their graphic capabilities.
We've been telling them for years that their graphics [silicon] suck, Jobs said. Isaacson gave Intel the chance to tell their side of the story, and Intel CEO Paul Otellini said they could have worked out a deal for iPad chips, but that a price could never be agreed on.
It even seems that Intel got the message because Apple switched to Intel graphics chips in the latest MacBook Air models.They were using Nvidia, graphics chips in older ones. One more interesting anecdote is when Isaacson recounts Jobs and Otellini taking walks together, and Jobs would wax on about advances in computing, and by the end, Jobs would be haggling over prices.
Let us know in the comments if you think Jobs made the right choice to use ARM over Intel in the iPad.