Steve Jobs announced today that Apple has pulled off another technological feat, putting everything that goes into a Macintosh computer onto a single chip. The new series of computers will be called the iChip.
At the low end of the range, the iChip White will include a dual-core Intel processor, 512 Megabytes of RAM, 32 Gigabytes of flash memory (in place of a hard drive), with video operating on shared memory with the computer's RAM. At the high end, the iChip Pro will include two quad-core processors, 2 Gigs of RAM, 256 Gigabytes of flash memory, built-in WiFi, and an onboard 128-bit video processor with 128 megabytes of specialized video memory.
Users would wear the iChip, either on a necklace (not included), woven into the fabric of their clothing, or any of a variety of other ways. Video would either be displayed on a regular screen, or on the user's eyeglasses. Some fanatics are planning to wear the chip as a piercing. Apple cautions that the device may heat up and piercings may pose a burn risk.
Jobs said Apple is still fleshing out some of the technical details. The biggest problem for now is arranging sufficient communication between the chip and the user. The company is trying various approaches including Bluetooth and HDMI cabling. Apple is also working on a verson of the vaunted Mac OS that will be specially designed for the iChip and will be built into ROM on the chip so it doesn't take up space in the flash drive.
Not to be outdone, Bill Gates responded by saying that Microsoft had already put Windows Vista on a chip, and that it's working so well hackers are already creating viruses for it.
Apple expects the iChip to go on sale in the fourth quarter of 2009. Pricing is said to range from $2500 for the iChip White to $10,000 for the iChip Pro, fully loaded.