Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 30th Jan 2018 23:35 UTC

For several years, Apple has been steadily designing more and more of the chips powering its iPhones, iPads, Macs and Apple Watches. This creates a better user experience and helps trump rivals. Recently the company got a fresh incentive to go all-in on silicon: revelations that microprocessors with components designed by Intel Corp., Arm Holdings Plc and Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. are vulnerable to hacking.


That original “system-on-a-chip” has since been succeeded by increasingly powerful processors. Today, Apple packs its devices with custom components that process artificial intelligence tasks, track your steps, power game graphics, secure Face ID or Touch ID data, run the Apple Watch, pair AirPods to your phone and help make Macs work the way they do. The result: a chip powerhouse that could one day threaten the dominance of Qualcomm Inc. and even, eventually, Intel.

Apple's chip business really puts the company in a unique position. No other phone or PC maker can rely on such a powerful chip division, with the exception of Samsung, but Samsung's own ARM chips are nowhere near as powerful as Apple's. Assuming Apple manages to turn their chip prowess into real-world advantages for users, it'll be hard for competitors to catch up.

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Member since:

"I suspect that Samsung and ARM does almost all of the design and engineering work on the 'Apple' chips.

Apple bought PA Semi years ago and they had the best RISC cpu engineers in the world.

But hey, bashing Apple is so cool...
Doesn't change that they have bought all the building blocks and only need to work on optimizing key components and the general design. So you could say that most of the chip was done by others, but you could also argue that Apple is done most if not all the important stuff themselves since they are able to outperform others using the same building-blocks.

Reply Parent Score: 3

viton Member since:

using the same building-blocks.

So what are these "off-the-shelf" building blocks Apple is using for their CPU cores? Logic gates?
The factory is providing that for synthesis.

Reply Parent Score: 2

galvanash Member since:

So what are these "off-the-shelf" building blocks Apple is using for their CPU cores? Logic gates? The factory is providing that for synthesis.

I find this whole discussion fascinating - people who literally know nothing about how this process works grasping to cobble together anything that might explain how Apple could possibly design a CPU...

The explanation is rather mundane - they actually know how to design CPUs. How that is hard for anyone to believe when its public knowledge they bought an establish 150 person design team 10 years ago (one of the best in the world mind you) I don't quite understand.

Reply Parent Score: 2